There are only a couple things which draw out the mama bear in me. That is the crazy lady at the park you see yelling at children from time to time: a) seeing a child bullying one of my children, or any other children for that matter, without their parent intervening and b) seeing a child harassing an animal, without an adult intervening.
I was disappointment in Queensborough Elementary for a couple of reasons today when I took my kids for a rainy day trip to the park which happened to coincide with the school’s recess. I was surprised to see a.) how long it took for the supervisors to finally join the kids at the playground, and b.) how some of the children behaved in their absence (I should hope that their presence would have tempered the children’s cruelty).
I have a soft spot for animals and I am very fond of our Queensbourgh wildlife, in particular, the ducks. Today at the park mama bear came out on behalf of the ducks which were being terrorized by a group of four children. I told the children to leave the ducks alone. They ignored me. I yelled at the children to leave the ducks alone. They ignored me and chased the ducks until they flew away. When they went after the last lone duck, encircling and clearly terrifying it, I really yelled. They backed of this time. I told them I would be watching them until a supervisor came out and I stuck around until one (finally) did.
Maybe you think I over reacted. But the thing is, if you allow children to bully animals which are smaller than them, more helpless and vulnerable than them, whose to say that they won’t bully smaller and more vulnerable children. I would not be suprised if those kids who were bullying the ducks are the same kids who currently do, or will end up, bullying other children. Children need to learn to value and care for those who are weak and vulnerable. Modeling this kind of behavior and directing our children to respect and be kind to animals is a very basic way of teaching them to value creation and one another.
I’m not big on yelling. I especially don’t relish yelling at strange children. But if at your dinner table tonight your child talks about the crazy yelling lady at the school playground, I’m her, and proud to be. I would have however, preferred that the supervisors had been around to do their job. I would hope that they would have enforced a respect for nature and that the children might be more willing to listen to them. Fingers crossed that the school steps it up before I send my kids there.