So, I know this is a little late in the news cycle for the story, but I’ve been busy so sue me. Anyway, I’m sure most of you have heard by now about the school bus monitor who was bullied, and the resulting video subsequently going viral. If not, here’s the original video, and I dare you to make it through the first half without wanting to rip those obnoxious kids’ heads off:
Murderous rage aside, the good news is that a donation campaign started for Karen Klein, the subject of the abuse, has topped over $650,000. While I believe donating to the victim is admirable and right, think about it this way: it’s the same as using a fire hose on a spark twenty feet away from the wildfire. Sure, it’ll help, but you’re not really fixing the actual problem.
“What’s the actual problem?” you ask?
Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you my take on it. Kids are dicks.
This particular incident was based mostly on two factors. A) the kids have no respect for older adults, and B) the kids’ parents obviously have no respect for their children. Look, I get it, nobody sets out as a parent with the goal of raising a snotty, entitled, pretentious little asshole.
Everybody wants to raise a well-mannered, polite, decent human being as their offspring. Frankly, this idea is noble and I congratulate the parents out there who have succeeded. I hope my parents think they have. They at least raised someone who won’t insult strangers to their face in public (I do it behind their backs, which is totally fine), especially not the elderly or disabled.
So what’s the problem? Are you asking yourselves how these kids could end up like this, all full of rambunctious dickery? Me too, reader, me too. I have a small sample size for the mind-set of a preteen, as I’m old enough now the generation gap is so big you could drive Rosie O’Donnell through it. I didn’t have Facebook when I was their age, let me put it to you that way. However, I do have a close family friend the same age as the mini-douches in the video, and I asked her about it. She said she’d seen it, but didn’t really think about it. I told her (I’m 26, mind you, and not even anywhere close to a parental figure for her) that if she ever sees other kids acting that way toward anyone, whether they be old, young, skinny, fat, black, white, gay, straight, Canadian, or whatever, that she should tell an adult. Her mom, a teacher, somebody.
Because, at the end of the day, that behavior is NOT OKAY.
General decency toward other people is one of the fundamental adhesives that keeps society flowing. Trust me, I have days where I wish I could tell every asshole who crossed my path exactly what they could do with themselves, but you just can’t. It would destroy the fabric of civilized society, and that’s no fun. Don’t call the fat guy fat, to his face. It’s mean, it’s pointless, and I’d be reasonably certain you wouldn’t be telling him something he doesn’t already know.
So what do you do if you suspect your child may be a fledgling asshole?
1. Watch him with his friends. Know the difference between good-natured ribbing and “the bus driver says your mom looks like roadkill.”
2. Listen to how he describes his classmates and the people he spends his time with. Is it “Darryl, the gay black kid,” or “Darryl, in my math class?”
If you’ve discovered that your child is, indeed, growing up douche, you have to nip it in the bud. You know your kids better than me, so I don’t care much how you fix it. Just fix it. We’ve already got too many of those people in the world, and if you could do your part to prevent just one more, wouldn’t you?
- School Bus Monitor Ms. Karen Klein (theobamacrat.com)
- Software Helps Parents Monitor Their Children Online (nytimes.com)
- Asshole Test (eschatonblog.com)