Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grace under pressure

Richard was recounting to me an incident that happened recently and I wanted to record it here because it gives us some insight into Ryan's character and personality at this stage. I did not witness the incident myself, unfortunately.

The scenario was as follows. Ryan was playing with some toys at a children's table. A slightly bigger child came up beside him and jostled against him. He pushed Ryan out of the way with his body and grabbed what Ryan was playing with and started banging the toys about on the table. Ryan got out of his way and stood a short distance away, surveying the situation. After thinking it over, Ryan went back to the table and, with his back against the bigger boy, leaned against him and slowly but firmly started pushing the bigger boy away from his original space. The bigger boy let go of the toys and pushed back but because Ryan had strategically positioned himself such that he was using his whole body weight, Ryan won. The bigger boy had to move away, so Ryan reclaimed his toys and space. The bigger boy was now standing next to him but Ryan didn't mind that. Ryan quietly resumed his play. However, the bigger boy was not satisfied and he went for Ryan again. He wasn't so confident this time though. He had been holding something in his hand all this while, something like a long stick. Now he aimed the stick at Ryan's chest and poked/pushed Ryan as hard as he could with it. And you know what Ryan did? With the stick pushed up against his chest, he calmly stepped toward the bigger boy! The bigger boy retreated, tucked his stick under his arm and turned his attention to something else, although he remained at the table for a little longer. Ryan simply carried on playing as before. He didn't tell either Richard or me about the incident, he just forgave and forgot.

Now, I don't like to say that I am a proud parent. Pride has a negative ring to it, I feel. Still, upon hearing this, there's no other word for it - I was proud of my son!

Faced with a bully, he did not take it as a defeat. He didn't whine or complain or go into a meltdown. He took it as a positive challenge and responded in a positive manner, handling the situation calmly, thoughtfully and rationally. He exhibited grace under pressure and excellent social skills. He was not afraid to stand up to a bully. He was brave and courageous enough to stand up for himself. He did not rise to the bigger boy's violent provocation and certainly he made no attempt to retaliate and hurt the bigger boy. He was never confrontational. He simply made it known that he would not be bullied and he behaved honourably in the process. He had a clear objective, which was to get back to his play, and that was all. The very moment the threat passed, he resumed his activity. He had no desire to get even. Despite the atrocious way that the bully had behaved, Ryan still treated him with kindness, allowing him to stay beside him if he wished.

I would add that it was pretty late at night, it had been a tiring and full day and Ryan had skipped his usual afternoon nap, so I would not have been surprised if he had been cranky and gone crying to his father. As it turned out, he had sufficient self-control and self-discipline to keep a level head.

I was glad that Richard did not intervene, although he was watching closely from a short distance. I'm pretty sure that he would have intervened if necessary, but he had the good sense to stand back and give Ryan the opportunity to handle the situation himself.

I've always said, twice on this blog in fact (see here and here), that it is our choices and our actions that make us who we are. It's how we live our lives, how we treat others, how we stand up for our beliefs, and how we do not shirk from taking positive action to resolve situations. I've always hoped that my children will learn these lessons and, through living these lessons, make a meaningful contribution to this world and also BE a meaningful addition to this world.

Looks like Ryan is right on track. I can't adequately express how happy I am that he is growing up so well. It is a indescribable blessing for a parent to see their child grow into a beautiful, beautiful person. Both Richard and I are immensely proud.

I love you, my son. You did good. Real good.


timmy said...

I could take a leaf from Ryan's book - so inspiring!

Pinkie Pirate said...

me too!

Kenny Leow said...

I remembered this incident at the Taka better toy store right?

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Kenny, no this was not at Taka, we haven't been there for ages! This happened just a few days ago. If you are saying that a similar incident occurred in Taka ages ago, well, that makes me very happy to know that this is not a one-off!

Kenny Leow said...

Then this is the 2nd incident.

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