Today I went to an anti-bullying seminar with the kids and Bear. It was sponsored by the Martial Arts school where Bear and Little Bear study Tae Kwon Do. During one part of the presentation, parents are asked to go out with the children to participate. I think what came out of the side of my mouth to Bear was – “they want me to do what????” So, regardless of my self-consciousness and out of true love for the kids, out on the floor I went.
I reluctantly participated.
Then something changed.
They started talking about how to talk to a bully. They talked about how to stop a bully.
Suddenly I was 7 years old again and being tormented on the playground. I could feel my face turning red again. I could feel the desire to sink into the ground. Mrs. M asked us to approach the punching bag, strike it with an open palm in a front punch and yell “no”.
There was me and Baby Bear along with another mom and her child in the line. We rotated, taking turns at the punching bag. The first couple of times I gingerly hit the bag, and squeaked out a “no”. But the more we went through the line, the angrier I got – at the bullies that tormented me for years, at the bullies who now look at my size and smirk, at the doctors who said there was nothing wrong with me for so many years, at the effect my size was having on the kids, at the bullies that my kids face every day. The madder I got the harder I punched the bag and the louder I yelled. Finally, there was one big punch and one very loud yell. The black-belted gentleman standing by our bag to watch our technique put a finger in his ear and shook it back and forth and looked at me out of the corner of his eye. Mrs. M just grinned at me.
Next she asked each of us to break a white board (the easiest board to break). Once again it took me a couple of times to get my courage up, to break the bonds of the past, but I broke that board, and I did it quite loudly.
Baby Bear was watching me the whole time.
When the seminar was over, Baby Bear asked if we could sign up for classes.
Baby Bear does not do work.
Baby Bear is not one to put forth much physical effort if at all possible.
I looked into those big brown eyes and saw…
- the desire to spend time WITH ME,
- desire to be active WITH ME,
- a desire to explore something new WITH ME.
So I did what any self-conscious, out of shape, fat, woman who adores her child does – I signed us up for Tae Kwon Do classes.
As Baby Bear proudly strutted around in the pristine white Do Bok at home, I shuddered as I realized that I just agreed to go out in a practice room with a bunch of kids, with parents looking on, and sweat.
Please tell me I did not just do that……