I am very proud of my daughter, Bryn (pictured on the left). It's times like these when I sit back and say, "Hey, I think I am doing an okay job as a dad."
I have always raised my children to be kind and respectful of others, and to stand up for the "little guy." They have garnered a reputation with their school teachers as being two very "kind-hearted, giving young women," who go out of their way to befriend the more-or-less "outcasts" in their circle of influence. hell, they even had a teacher once tell them, "C'mon, you can't be angels all the time!" (Sheeeesh... someone pull that teacher's plug!)
anyway, the other day, my young, four-year-old son was being picked-on by the shithead neighbor kid, who is twelve. My daughter came in the house and told me that she was going to go next door and have a "few words" with the bully. I approved, and told her i would be right at her back if she needed any aid in her little confrontation. And off she marched out the front door and across the front yard.
A friend of mine and I watched out the front window from the relative bunker-like safety of my living room, as my daughter strode valiently across the grass toward the next door neighbor's driveway, shoulders squared, spine erect, head high and attitude intact. My friend Dave pointed out the fact that Bryn was wearing her sleeveless, black Harley Davidson shirt, a somewhat intimidating factor all by itself. Just the sight of her marching toward the small group of teenagers milling in the driveway next door, made a twinkle of pride glisten at the corner of my oh-too-jaded eye.
From where we stood sequestered in the living room, we could see, but nor hear, the little confrontation that took place over the next few minutes. Bryn marched right over to the pubescent little shit-for-brains bully and stopped abruptly about a foot in front of him. When he turned to look at her, he took two giant, stumbling steps backward, as if being confronted by some nocturnal demonic presence that emerged from his closet in the night. He dropped his basketball, and Bryn hadn't even yet said a single word. His first reaction made my friend and I damn near giddy with reactionary anticipation for what was sure to be a wonderful show.
As the miscreant regained his footing, my daughter launched what must have been unholy hell. There could not have been more than 12 inches between them as her finger came up and pointed in his wide-eyed face. Her hands gesticulated her anger, but she never raised her voice loud enough for me to hear a single word. He stood there, pale and drawn as my kid berated him for his misdeeds. His friends all stood around in shocked silence, watching helplessly, unwilling to stand in the path of Hurricane Bryn.
The kid starting gesturing meekly, obviously pleading for his life, apologetic and sheepish. Bryn's hands went to her hips. She glared him down as he delivered, I am sure, some crackle-voiced, appallingly lame defense for his reprehensible behavior. Dave and I chortled from the living room, mocking, to each other, the neighbor kid's predicament. At one point, the other kids around them glanced toward my house. Dave and I jumped back away from the front window, laughing, not wanting to be seen observing Bryn's onslaught. It was her battle, and I did not want to interfere unless things turned ugly.
After a few minutes, Bryn turned and marched back to the house. She came in and - her voice still shaking from the righteous indignation - recounted the confrontation. I told her how proud I was of her for standing up for her little brother. She earned a ton of respect from me that afternoon.
As I said at the beginning, it's times like this when I take a brief moment to pat myself on the back and realize that I have done an okay job instilling some values in my kids. Standing up for someone who is weaker than you is an admirable quality. Putting your own neck on the block for someone else is altruism at it's best. I am very proud that my daughters have developed a reputation for being kind, generous, giving, caring people. It makes me a bit more confident that I am the kind of dad I have strived to become.
I am beaming as a proud dad should.