A Bully and a Bystander

by carlocmd

my second boy continually surprises me.

we were arguing, my eldest and I, about his fingers-in-the-mouth habit. he would insist that he does not do it, then turn around and do it anyway. as a father, it drives me crazy. as a doctor, the potential bacterial growth scares me.

during another of our heated arguments, my second boy steps in, shushes me into silence, and faces his kuya. “do not put your finger in your mouth. you will get germs!” turning to me, he said, “he will try not to do it again!”

this superhero has stepped in between his father and elder brother yet again. a memory clicked on in my head. this is probably how the story began.

one day, on a car trip, boy three was bothering boy one who was busy reading a book. boy three pushed and pushed. finally reaching the end of his patience, kuya struck back. he scratched boy three’s face.

upon reaching home, we noticed the wounds on the face of the younger boy. we spoke with boy one, gently and with love, that he must be the guardian of his younger siblings, not their bully. when asked what the consequence of the wound would be, he volunteered that he would hold no gadget for one month.

kudos to kuya for actually going without the Wii or iPad or computer for one whole month (yes, parents, it’s actually possible for a gadget-crazy 7 year-old to give up his favorite things for a greater good).

we turned to boy two, who was also in the car with them as the commotion was happening. “you,” we started, “why did you not do anything to stop your kuya from hurting his brother?”

surprised to be included in the conversation, he could not come up with a reason.

“for doing nothing, you get the same consequence as kuya, one week without gadgets!”

“it’s not fair,” he sobbed. “i didn’t do anything wrong.”

“not doing anything when you see a wrong is also unfair,” we explained through hugs and tears. “you must not just be a bystander. you must stand up and do something when you see a wrong.”

flash forward to the present.

i am so proud of my superhero.