Sooner or later, it was bound to happen. Today, Rama got a taste of schoolyard bullying.
It was during a field trip to a small farm. It was almost the end of the trip. As volunteer parent, I was helping pour juice for everyone, so I didn't notice what was going on. Rama just came up to me crying. I heard the whole story when we were on the bus back to school.
Basically, one of the girls elbowed her, trying to get her to spill her juice. No spill, so D, another classmate, a boy, taunted, "Do it again, do it again!" So the girl does it again, and Rama's drink spills.
On the fly, I had to comfort her and quickly think of the healthiest, most politically correct way to teach her how to best cope. (Made a mental note, too, to look up bullying on the net.) I made sure my response was sane and sober, as opposed to my initial from-the-gut impulse which was to scream for blood - asan na yang $&*%* batang yan? My little speech went something like this:
Me: Not all kids are good kids all the time. Sometimes, they think they can be happy by making other kids sad. So they can be mean to other kids... They're probably really sad kids, with problems. Kaya sila ganun... Look at D, he's always dragged by his mom kicking and screaming out of the playground, so he can't be very happy. Sad, ano? So Rama, you're better than them. You are a happy kid, and you know how to be happy without making other kids sad. Just play with other kids who are like that, ok? Dami naman diyan good kids.
But the important thing is, don't let them see you cry. You have to be strong. You can cry when you're with mommy na. But don't let them see you. Or else, alam nila na kaya ka nila. And they'll do it again... When they're mean to you, just walk away. Or tell them, I won't let you hurt me. Dun sila natutuwa, kapag nakikita nila na napaiyak nila ang ibang kids. So don't make them happy that way.
Rama, through tears: Siguro naiinggit sila kasi naka-crown ako!