Many of you know that this past year, I had to deal with some parents behaving badly in my son’s class due to the presence of “Mom Cliques” and the children that they are raising to think that being mean spirited to others is acceptable. One particular parent’s son has been especially cruel to my son and to other children not only in class but also during organized sports. It’s been difficult to avoid it since all of the kids participate in these activities together within our community.
This past baseball season, my son and this boy ended up on the same baseball team much to my chagrin. You see, this Momma Bear has had to go up against this mom and son duo before. His mean antics continued right from the classroom to the baseball field and dugout. He even went as far as to call some of the boys on the team “fagg&%ts” when they ran out of gum and did not have a piece to give him. This was no surprise to me because this is the same boy who had called my son a “motherfuc*er” in the third grade and, when I called his mother to discuss it, her response was that “Boys will be boys.”
The coach of the team always text messages all of the parents through a mass text to let us know when practices and games will be held. This means that everyone who is included in the text can see all of the responses that anyone makes on their phones. This past weekend, due to previous scheduling conflicts, we finally had the chance to host the championship game at our Little League field.
The night before the game, this particular parent that I mentioned above responded to the coach’s text by asking him what time we had to arrive at the field. (She has moved over the summer in answer to my prayers so she has to commute back to the Bronx for the games.) The coach jokingly replied that we all had to be there at 8:15 and that it wasn’t his fault that she had moved from the Bronx to “another country.” The following is her response to his text:
“…the Bronx is the foreigner state…gonna need a passport to get into it…”
I was flabbergasted when I saw this text on my phone. I’m the descendant of “Foreigners” as I’m sure many of you reading this are. I’m also one of many Latino parents on the team and for her to blatantly make such a discriminatory statement on a group text for all of us to see was shocking. My immediate reaction was to respond and these are some of the possible responses that went through my mind:
“I thought all of us were foreigners except for Native Americans…”
“Did you forget that all of us can see your texts? This is very offensive!”
“I see the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, now I know why your son speaks the way he does.”
There were so many other thoughts that went through my mind but I chose not to respond. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take back all of the abuse that my son suffered this year in school at the hands of her son. Additionally, her son’s behavior makes perfect sense to me now because I understand that this is exactly what he is being taught at home. He is being taught that it’s okay to put others down and be mean to others because that is how his mother behaves.
I’m so glad that their family moved and that I never have to deal with this woman and her child again. I wish I could say that we will never encounter a parent and child team like this one again but I know we probably will. The only thing I could do is teach my sons that this behavior is unacceptable and that the actions of others define those people and not my boys. I will continue to use these experiences as teachable moments to arm my children for the unfortunate realities about human character that exist in society.
Let’s Discuss: How would you have handled the offensive comment made in the text? Would you have addressed it or let it go like I did?
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