Another Bully Story

January 21, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

As I have mentioned before, we have a unique approach to bullying in our family.  (I almost said very unique to be funny, but many of you wouldn’t have noticed.  The rest would be thinking, “what an idiot.”  Some of you are still thinking, “What’s the deal?”  It will all be explained in a future nerd post: My Top 10 Grammar pet peeves) If you have not read the bully post, check it out here.  After you read you it, you will not be able to help but shout, “Mesopotamia!”

Anyway, there was a time when Lauren didn’t shout “Mesopotamia!”  She handled bullies a different way when she was younger.  This is one of my all-time favorite stories.

We were at the McDonalds in O’Fallon, Missouri where we lived at the time.  Lauren was about 3 years old.  We were in the playplace on Saturday morning with her older sister, Maylee who was 6.  Mom was involved in her Saturday morning ritual of garage sale-ing.  There were two boys that were probably around 9 that were there also.  They were running around, being loud, pretending to shoot guns with their fingers, essentially being boys.  Well at one point they have Lauren backed up against the netting around the equipment and they are “shooting” her with their “guns.”  You don’t mess with Papa Bear’s Baby Bears, so just as I was about to get up, she gives them a glare and shoves both of them at the same time.  They are startled and back away.  Well done.

You might think that is the end of the story, but it is not.  Later, she is playing in this little cubby hole of sorts that has a steering wheel in it.  I can’t see her from where I am.  There is a pole in the way.  Suddenly a hear a whack and some kid bawling.  I get up, fearing the worst and there is one of those 9 year old boys holding his face crying.  My 3 year old daughter is still sitting there “driving” and looking at that kid like, “what?”  “What happened, Son,” says the Mom.  “She hit me,” says the puddin’ boy pointing at my 3 year old daughter.  The mom then shoots me a look.  I’m thinking, “What do you want me to do? You are the one with the puddin’ boy.”  But she is right, I needed to do something.  I grabbed Lauren out of there and bought her ice cream and congratulated her.

Is there a point to this story?  Yes.  As always, don’t mess with the Loften Sisters.  They will take you out.  Tell your sons.

Dealing with Bullies, the Loften Way

So any time one of my girls comes to me with a story that someone at school is acting (verbally) like a bully to them, I tell them the same thing on how to respond. I tell them that they should do one of two things (or both). One, they should shake their hands in the air and shout, “Mesopotamia!!!” Second, they should pretend to fall asleep–close their eyes and start snoring.

Why would any Dad in the world do something like that? First, I want my girls to settle down and laugh. It always makes them laugh when I shout “Mesopotamia.” I also hope that in the moment that someone is being mean to think about that and at least in their heart be able to smile. They also need to learn how to take a verbal assault and not lose their temper. I don’t want them to cower, but I also don’t want them escalating the conflict. (Seriously, has lashing back ever helped anyone? Has it ever helped you? Just walk away)

Here is what I thought would never happen. Lauren tried it at school. A boy came up to her and a friend and started talking mean to them. She looked at him for a little while and shouted “Mesopotamia!!!” at him. So when Lauren told me this I was stunned. I asked her what happened next. He told Lauren she was weird, so she then pretended to fall asleep. The boy then walked away. Turns out the plan works. Who knew?

I love my girls. I want them to be strong and gentle. I want them to be strong and proud women free from fear and free from anger. The world can be a rough place, and I want them to walk in it with their heads held high and a quiet strength, confidence and grace that the world will notice and will be honoring to the God that loves them.