CrueltyLast night, my son and I had a heart-to-heart, father-to-son talk.
He's had some trouble controlling his emotions at school, and has been arguing and disrespectful to his teachers and friends. We had a good talk, actually walk and talk as we took a stroll around the neighborhood. He's a smart kid who just has some trouble handling his emotions. He'll be fine.
Anyway, one part of the trouble he got into was rebuking a schoolmate. The little girl is Pakistani, with an unusual name - she asked my son if he needed help with something, to which he apparently replied, "Not from you". This hurt the girl's feelings terribly, and got him in hot water with his teachers and us.
As we were walking and I was discussing this with him, I asked him if he knew what the word "cruel" meant. He had a vague idea, and I explained that cruel meant deliberately hurting someone or something just because you like it or it makes you feel good. Then I used the example of kicking a dog - if you, say, kick a dog and laugh about it or don't feel anything about it -- that's cruel. And that was, I said, similar to what he did to your classmate - she's from another country, might sometimes feel out of place here, and by saying he did not want help from her, specifically, it was cruel. He understood that what he said was wrong, and promised to apologize to her and his teacher today.
Then I read this today, from SayUncle's site:
2-pound dog used for deadly place kick
"A Priest Lake man killed his neighbor's 2-pound miniature Yorkshire terrier by kicking it into the air like a football, police said, and authorities have charged him with animal cruelty."Amazing how the abstract can suddenly become the concrete.
Keying cars, kicking dogs....this kind of stuff goes on and on and on. Maybe if the parents had had talks with these twerps when they were kids about what "cruelty" was, and what "respect" meant, these kind of things wouldn't happen as much.
Oh well, guess all I can do is my small part to teach my kids about it. And hope and pray they don't become a headline like this someday.