Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bullying, Deforestation and Goat Cheese

When early yesterday morning I told my kids that we’d be wearing purple that day, Spunk wanted nothing of it.  

“But it’s for a good cause,” I explained.  “It means we’re taking a stand against bullying.”

He shrugged, unmoved by any political campaign, even if it might be a good investment in his future; he is going to junior high eventually.  

My youngest offspring expounded on his position. a) He doesn’t own a purple shirt, and b) he hates the color.  Logical, rational and sound reasoning.  Six might be a little young to lead a freedom march.

As Spunk went about his business of selecting a long-sleeved gray T, I could hear Sport badgering him from the kitchen.  “EVERYone’s going to be wearing purple, Zack.  In fact, you might be bullied for not wearing purple.  It means you don’t care about other people and that you think bullying is cool!”  His intonation increased with each passing syllable.  By the time I reached Spunk’s bedroom, Sport and his younger brother were circling each other like sickly sumo wrestlers.

“Sport,” I said.  “Are you trying to bully your brother into wearing purple?”

His eyebrows rose in protest, and then, somewhat sheepishly, they fell and hovered at the cusp of his brow, as if contemplating the plunge that would take them to the spot where Kaleb now burned a hole through the carpet with his eyes.  “I guess.”

“Let’s let Spunk choose to wear whatever color he wants today, and maybe he’ll want to change the world with you tomorrow.”

As I watched my two boys work through the power of their own emotions, I realized that while bullying is always wrong, it’s a slippery slope from activist to bruiser, regardless of the cause.  So whether the Belknap family wears purple, red, white, blue or gray, we’re against bullying to the extent that we won’t even tolerate the bullying of the bullies themselves (or those who choose to wear long-sleeved gray Ts).   

We’re also against telemarketing, deforestation and goat cheese in to particular order.

Peace out.

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