Word-Cruel Kids

poetry No Comments »

“Stupid,” “dumb,” “idiot”
reach their sinister tentacles
into the intellect
and drench
the bullied child
with fear and rage
and minus signs.

Right hook stupid

left jab dumb

straight punch idiot

pound black-blue,
scar-wounds deep.

A wicked dance
splashes drain
and doubt
into the mind
like indelible ink
on crinkled paper.

An audio tape
hooks in a loop,
and the words sting
and re-sting
even with effort
to quit
the cacophony.

In a miniscule space


ruminated rhythm,
the mother of the child
the Voice inside whisper
“Walk the labyrinth again~
this time with Me.”

nannette rogers kennedy

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Another Way

essay, non-fiction 6 Comments »

shaking handsWhen are some of the crazy things in our world going to stop? How will they stop? Who will stop them? Two weeks ago a student at my son’s high school threatened my 15 year old son’s life.

I was preparing to drop my son off at school~he was in a great mood when we left the house. When we pulled into the drop off area of the school, my son’s mood had changed to very agitated.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“This guy wants to beat me up because I broke up with my girlfriend.”

Not thinking, I asked how he knew…he’d received several text messages from friends that said this kid was out for him. I had the mentality: kids will be kids~there’s nothing to this.

On the contrary, this was serious enough where the school called me a couple of hours later asking me to pick up my son and keep him away from the school. As any parent can imagine, this was an alarming situation. “We cannot guarantee your son’s safety on the campus,” the dean of students said. Not very comforting words~words of worry, anxiety and question.

According to the school, many students had heard of the threat. The kid threatening my son, had shown several other students the knife he intended to use on my son. And this kid’s school counselor said he believed that the kid “may be capable of carrying this out.” Naturally, I drove to the school and pulled my son out until the administration could figure out what was going on.

After two days of my son being home from school and not hearing any new news, the student called my son and apologized. My son’s response was, “whatever.” While I wish my son would have been more accepting of the apology, I could certainly understand his feelings. It did not erase the stress of the past couple of days.

I received a call the following morning from the administration. They had found and spoken to the threatening student. The administrator asked me if the student had called and apologized and I told the person that student had, but my son was still feeling uneasy. The staff member mentioned the police and restraining orders, then said, “This kid is virtually homeless; he and his mother live in a campground and he’s being bullied by another student on campus.” My response: when does this stop?

After hanging up the phone, I told my son of the circumstances of this other kid and my son said, “I’ll be his friend. I’ll have his back.” I spoke with the school again and told the administration my son wanted to speak with the student to straighten everything out in different way, to reach out. A surprised and relieved sound came through the voice of the administrator. The school made arrangements for both boys to meet the next morning. They would speak with one another, one on one in what I call the aquarium room ~ all glass ~ where they could be monitored visually and still have privacy.

I was not in eye shot, but according to those looking on through the glass windows, both boys shook hands, sat down and spoke for over an hour. They discussed music, video games, their home lives, etc. and discovered they actually had quite a bit in common. According to my son, near the end of the conversation, the other boy asked why he was willing to meet with him. My son said, “My mom says that Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

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