Fist Fights and Tenderness

Saturday, August 09, 2014

My BlinkNow Board Chairwoman has been here for the last couple weeks which was a dream come true.  She has worked tirelessly for the past few years on our board so the fact that she could finally get here to see our project first hand was amazing and so needed. 

Treacy and I went to check on Ravi’s three sisters in a village on the outskirts of town and we brought 8 of the boys with us for the drive.  When we got there the auntie told us the two older girls had gone to bring water so we decided to walk down the hill and try to find the tap to meet them.  It was a beautiful evening.  The rice paddies were bright bright green as everyone is planting right now.  People stopped us to say hello and the boys chatted and skipped along happily.  On our way to the water spring, we came across a little soccer match going on with boys the same age as mine.  My boys asked if they could jump in on the game and Treacy and I said yes while we looked for the girls.  As soon as the boys started to play the boy whose owned the soccer ball had to leave leaving all the other boys without a ball. 

For whatever reason, something about the fact that these village boys didn’t have a ball and couldn’t play soccer whenever they wanted really bothered my boys.  “Can we come back tomorrow with one of our balls and play with them?”  “Sure!” I told them.  We finally found the girls, had a chat with them and drove home. 

The next day the boys left after school and spent the evening playing a game with the boys from the village.  When the game was over they gifted the village boys one of their soccer balls and told them to share it and then they walked 2 and a half miles home.  Before I knew it, it was 7:30 and getting dark.  It started to drizzle and I deliberated whether or not I should go pick them up in the jeep right when they all came walking through the gate, laughing and smiling, and telling me stories about the game and the adventurous walk home.  For some reason, seeing how good they all felt playing soccer with the boys in the village, coaching them, and deciding to gift them a soccer ball, was one of my proudest moments. 

My boys don’t normally fight a lot but we had two bad fist fights this week.  One of them was during a soccer match.  The other was over popcorn.  It made me pretty upset.  We had a big chat today with all the boys about physically fighting and what to do when you feel that anger coming on and why it’s important not to take things to a physical level.  We talked about being brothers and sticking up for each other and learning lessons and making mistakes and the choices you make about the kind of person you want to be.  It felt really good and the boys had good relevant questions.  They opened up a lot and by the end we had them all holding hands, cheering, and smiling.  I doubt it’s the end of physical fights but it made me think a lot about boys and violence and the challenges and physicality of growing into a young man.   It’s my first time mothering teenage boys and it just blows my mind; how they are so tender and sweet and kind but then one second later you look over and there they are beating each other up. 

The punishment for the fist fight was no soccer for a couple of weeks which is great for me because I have a few extra helpers to help me with baby-sitting Ravi after school :)  I was watching the boys change his diaper and burp him and learn to support his little head and smile at every gurgle and sound coming from his little body and it brought tears to my eyes.

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