So word starts circulating around the house that some “big kids” in the neighborhood called our middle two “losers”. At first we question the youngest – big mistake. After four minutes of rambling, we’re not any closer to why a teenager would call a little kid a “loser” for no reason.
We bring in the middle two and ask them what happened. Jacob (the younger) pipes up that one of the long-haired skaters called them “losers”. I asked them what they said to which he replied, “I didn’t say anything!” Starting to smell the answer we’ve been looking for, we turn to Caleb (the older, our #2.) He fills in the gaps – “One of the skater neighbors was walking home from a walk, er something, and he said ‘loser’ to us.” I asked him if they had said anything to the skater first, and Caleb easily gives up – “I said, ‘loser’ to him first and then he said it to me.”
How in the world did we get here?! Our sweet little Caleb is sitting out in the front yard with his little brother and down walks a “big kid” with longer hair than his mom, and he just calmly throws out “Loser”? What an evil thing to say.
So, after MUCH talking to and making sure that he understands the gravity of his crime, we decide he needs to walk over to the “big kid’s” house and apologize. And, not just a pathetic, “I’m sorry…” but a full blown apology mainly for a couple of reasons – 1. so that the kid knows that Caleb is sincere & that Caleb is not some punk little kid and 2. so that the skater kid doesn’t burn our house down.
I make Caleb practice a few times so that he gets it right and so that I’m not eventually standing at the neighbors house with a sputtering, sobbing little boy on my hands and we head to their door holding hands.
Caleb rings the doorbell which sets their dog into a barking fury.
Caleb rings it again, but no answer. I tell him he’s going to have to write him a letter and we start back to our house. By the time we get inside, of course, the “big kid” & a friend are outside about to get into their skater-mobile. We head back out hand in hand.
We cross the street and I say to Caleb quietly, “That’s the kid? With the long hair?” Caleb nods. I make eye contact with the skater, and give the head-nod and say “Hey man.” And Caleb has the floor.
Without hesitation, “I’m sorry for calling you a ‘loser’, it wasn’t nice.” And the tough skater melts and says, “Hey man, that’s ok! We all say things we don’t mean!” And then it’s my turn to apologize for my own punk kid’s behavior, “Sorry about that man.” He tells me not to sweat it. We head back to the house. Before we do, Skater says, “Thanks for the apology.” And Caleb says, “You’re welcome.”
What a day. Hopefully it was an experience that Caleb won’t soon forget & maybe Skater too.