Don’t Poke the Bear

We once lived in some apartments that had an indoor pool. Naturally, I took my kids to the pool every chance we got. We had some other friends we hung out with so it was mostly a good time for all of us. There were a couple incidents, but like I said, mostly a good time.

One time when we went to the pool, some young adults showed up and decided to swim. They were from the local college (if you read my past blog posts you will know all about Evergreen) and were definitely wannabe hippies. Usually, they never bothered me and I found most of them to be good people. Not on this night, however. One of them, a very tall man, stripped down to nothing and jumped in the pool. I had to go inform him it wasn’t a clothing-optional pool and I didn’t want my daughter to be embarrassed by his junk hanging out. He apologized and listened. The amazing thing is that he seemed genuinely surprised that the pool wasn’t clothing optional.

A few other times we were joined by a dad with two boys who obviously didn’t feel the need to behave. This dad would just laugh it off and did nothing to correct their behavior. My kids had a tendency to view these other kids as aliens or something. In other words, we weren’t going to do things together soon, or ever.

There was one particular day we were swimming when one of my kids took matters into his own hands. It was my second youngest son and he was basically a gentle giant. He was always one of the biggest in his class as well as one of the smartest. He had lots of friends because of his good nature. He was a very patient and kind kid. In other words, it took a lot to get him angry. On this particular day, we found out how much.

One of those boys was constantly pestering my son while they were swimming. He kept messing with my son by splashing, pushing, attempting to dunk, and just being a pest. I mentioned something to his dad and he just smiled it off saying, “It’s just kids being kids.” After about ten minutes of this, my son suddenly decided to quit being a victim. He whirled around, grabbed the kid, lifted him up into the air, and then threw him about 6 feet across the pool. The kid then crawled out of the pool and went crying to his dad who looked at me to see how I would handle the situation. I just sat there.

BAD DAD: Are you gonna say something to your son?

ME: What? Oh, yeah. (I looked toward my son and yelled) About time!

BAD DAD: That’s it? He just threw my son!

ME: Yeah, about that…it’s just kids being kids, huh?

Needless to say, that dad didn’t try to hang out with me anymore and his kids avoided my kids. All in all, it was a positive result from a negative situation.

There was another time when my son was hanging out with his friends and they came across a wannabe gang. One of my son’s friends began to mouth off with them. Pretty soon it was getting ugly and there was some pushing going on with all of them. It was leading to a fight.

One of my son’s friends was the son of my wife’s best friend. He had gotten into a little trouble a couple months before and really couldn’t afford to get into any more trouble or else he would end up in Juvenile Detention. My son was aware of this and wasn’t about to let a stupid fight get his friend into trouble. When this friend made a move to join the fight, which was about a dozen kids by this time, my son suddenly acted. He pushed this friend away so he couldn’t join in and then his real strength surfaced. He started grabbing every one of the kids fighting and pushing them apart, flinging some of the kids to the ground as he broke it up. He was like a one-man, um, one-boy wrecking crew. In about a half minute, nobody was fighting anymore and all the kids were just looking at my son. The fight was over.

I am so proud of all my kids and the wonderful adults they’ve all become. They are all filled with compassion and empathy, but won’t hesitate to protect anyone or anything they love. They will try to solve confrontations peacefully, but not out of fear, but rather out of a sense of decency. They all have an incredibly strong work ethic and take their responsibilities seriously. As grown-ups, they bring a much-needed level-headedness in everything they do.

I mean it when I say this, I wish I could grow up and be as wonderful as my kids.

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