I woke up at 2am last night, and stayed awake most of the night. I had a conversation with my son before he went to bed earlier that really weighed heavy on my mind, more so than I had realized at the time.
His birthday party is coming up, and so I was planning on sending in invitations to all of the kids in his class, because you certainly don’t want anyone to feel left out. I spoke with his teacher last night and she said that we didn't need to invite everyone, they make it clear that as birthdays come and go – not everyone has a party, or can invite everyone so no one should feel slighted if they don’t receive an invitation to someone’s party. But I said that I thought it would be best not to exclude anyone. And then I spoke to my son....
He told me about a boy that is mean to him in school. They take the bus together, and he lives on the same street as a group of girls that my son is friendly with. I guess, he calls my son “dumb”; and yesterday, my son went to school with his fingers splinted. He got a bad sprain on Sunday afternoon playing catch with one of his older cousins and so he has to have his hand taped for 2 weeks. Well, I guess when he got on the bus, this little boy laughed and said “good, Tyler’s hurt!”. So as my son’s explaining this to me, he said he didn’t want to invite him. And I started to tell him all the different reasons why this little boy might not be so nice to him....maybe he’s jealous? The girls all love my son (the mothers always tell me how “all the girls on Ashwood Ave loooooveeee T”) so maybe he wishes they talk like that about him. Or maybe he’s just shy and doesn’t know how to make friends in a nice way? I told my son that maybe he should invite him so that they can have fun playing together – and that sometimes, one good day can erase the bad days and make a friendship.
T looked at me, and said “He never even gave me a chance. I’m not dumb, and he’s never liked me without even knowing me. The girls are my friends too and they never say anything when he’s mean. I want to tell the girls that they should be careful because if he’s mean to me, then one day he might turn around and be mean to them...but I don’t say it because I’m too shy”. How did a 6 year old get to be so smart?? So I told him that he shouldn’t say anything...they will learn that for themselves and to just ignore him -- which he already does.
So, I decided while I was tossing and turning last night....he’s not inviting this boy to his birthday party. Or any other child from his class that he’s not friendly with. The lessons I’ve learned about finessing people come from going through the bumps in life myself. And while I can teach him, and guide him on how to handle situations – I do not have to make him invite a person to his birthday party that he doesn’t want there. He doesn’t have to be the “bigger” person; just ignoring this boy and being his own person is doing the right thing. It’s his day and he should only be surrounded by those who like him for who he is.
My heart swelled with pride when I left his room – it sounds corny but I thought it was going to burst from my chest. I kissed him goodnight and told him how proud I was of him and how he is such a kind, smart and good boy. But I am so thankful that he couldn’t tell how much my heart was breaking at the thought of someone hurting his feelings.