Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Boys to Men August 9, 2013

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footballI was reminded last week of the benefits of sport and how wonderful it is to observe boys becoming men.  One of the men-children played football this season, fortunate enough to play in the First squad with mainly Year 12 boys (sadly his brother has hung up his rugby boots now that he has left school – no amount of cajoling, encouraging or threatening helping to convince him to keep playing).

For our footballer, I noted a couple of benefits from this season – one, he played with older boys, I am sure a good influence as they are more mature (the drinking games they taught him at the end of season party were NOT an advantage!).  Two, he observed up close how they are balancing the demands of Year 12 and sport.  And he formed good friendships with some of his teammates, a strongly bonded group, with a great bunch of very supportive parents.

At the end of season gathering, another great chance for the boys and their parents to get together (they really do the parent participation exceptionally well), there were the traditional speeches, videos and presentations to boys and coaches.  Naturally each parent delighted in the comments made about their son, all clearly proud to receive such public praise and recognition.

I especially love to see the wonderful young men speak publicly, about their coaches, their teammates, their parents, their school.  To witness men-children on the cusp of adulthood, showing grace and maturity is heart-warming and reminds me that my own men-children are on the same pathway, about to emerge from adolescence to adulthood like a beautiful butterfly from a chrysalis.

And whilst we don’t see that side of them often, more the prickly caterpillars at home, or the jousting testosterone-laden lion cubs, I am confident that the persona they present to others is of delightful, well-adjusted, polite young men, with no hint of the way they sometimes behave for their parents at home (isn’t it always the case)?

For those who wonder what happened last week (I know, NO post), could it be that Mother of a Man-Child’s days of writing thrilling stories about the adventures of her men-children is coming to an end?  That they will stop to provide me with excellent material for the blog, simply through the things they do on a daily basis, because they are finally growing up?  Let’s hope not!!!  Although last week passed without any unusual incidents, so I was left bereft of a worthy tale.

I have written about the celebration of boys through sport before – such an important part of their school life.  https://motherofamanchild.com/2011/08/26/a-celebration-of-boys-through-sport/

 

 

Suspended from school! May 24, 2013

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schoolIt’s been an interesting week with the suspension of one man-child from school!  No doubt you will be just as shocked as I was when I first heard, but the circumstances themselves are cause for interesting discussion and reflection.

I was more than a little shocked to find out he was suspended one morning, when I routinely asked why he wasn’t out of bed getting ready for school. That was when Father of a Man-Child informed me he had been suspended and wouldn’t be attending school that day.  You can imagine my response, which went something like this:

“WHAT!  What do you mean he’s been suspended?  What for?  Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?  Don’t you know they invented mobile phones so husbands can call wives in an emergency?”

So you may ask, what was he suspended for exactly?  Well as it turns out it was over racist comments he made on the football field in a recent game.  And as the incident was reported, the school moved very swiftly to act.

But first some context, which sheds some further light on the incident.  During the game, an opposition player apparently hit an already seriously injured player on the field, in an entirely unprovoked attack.  This was witnessed by the team, including my son, who were all pretty angry at his action.  As it transpires my son was manning this very player on the field, hence the heated exchange that followed, with my son throwing some choice racist remarks at the opposing player.

The incident was subsequently reported to the umpire, and we assume by the opposition team via more formal channels, which left my son’s school with no choice than to act.  He will miss the school football game this weekend (which definitely hurts) and was also suspended from school for one day (you can’t tell me that hurts any kid).  There were appointments with the Vice-Principal for my son, and with the Principal for him and my husband (what a lovely way to meet the head of the school!!).  Whilst I think the school suspension is a little extreme, I have to say that I applaud the school’s zero tolerance on racial vilification.  The fact is, it needs to be nipped in the bud in schools, before it escalates to other football or sporting fields and into other more senior codes.  One wonders if all schools abide by similar codes – you would hope so!  Although based on the behaviour of AFL players in recent years (just to mention one code), it’s probably not yet common practice, or still early days in the education process.

So what did the man-child make of it?  He learned a valuable lesson about racism, even if he didn’t think what he said was particularly racist (trust me it was).   And he learned that the best response is absolute honesty and copping the punishment on the chin.  So the matter is closed – no more will be heard about it from the school, and we all move on, with yet another life lesson for our boys.

What do you think?  Did the punishment fit the crime?  Or was it too extreme?

We’ve had issues with the school before – but it was the other man-child: Trouble on school camp!