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It’s always hard to hear when your child tells you he or she is being bullied. Something I feel no one takes lightly these days, and for good reason. This is a story about a life lesson shared with a little boy in the critical stages of building his confidence. A boy who is facing the challenges as a child entrepreneur and growing up in the public eye, while still trying to find his place in his everyday life amongst kids. This little boy is my eight-year-old son.
My Son’s Life Lessons in Bullying – Via Kevin Smith’s Emotional Facebook Live Reaction to the GOTGVol2 Ravager Funeral Scene
Most recently, I was made aware that my son was being picked on by a couple kids in our neighborhood. He was hesitant to tell me that another kid punched him in the face, resulting in his tooth being dislodged. Albeit, a baby tooth that was starting to get loose, but still completely unacceptable. Even worse, the other child’s father tried to bribe my son into not telling me, offering him candy in return for silence.
You can imagine my outrage and frustration upon hearing this. Naturally, I questioned the father only to be told that my son was lying. Something my son has never had a history of doing. In an effort to keep the peace, I decided the boys should clean their slate and start fresh. There was no evidence to support my son’s claims and none to support the father’s. So I gave a very generous (and humbling) second chance.
In the coming weeks while away on a press junket, my son called me to say that the same boy had pushed him into the pool resulting in his face being slammed into the concrete. My son, upset, hurt and slightly bleeding, cried.
Instead of the boy’s father calling me or talking to me when I returned, he banned his son from playing with my child. Stating that my son was “too emotional” for his son. But what was really happening is his son was being influenced by this and taking it further.
“Your basketball game sucks!”, “You’re a big baby!”, and “Your YouTube channel sucks!”
Ostracized from the neighborhood boys, my son started being picked on by the same boy and another kid from the neighborhood. They repeatedly told him things like, “Your basketball game sucks!”, “You’re a big baby!”, and “Your YouTube channel sucks!”. Each word disintegrating my son’s confidence.
I told him, “People throw stones at others who shine. You are a beautiful, smart and talented child. Wave your geek flag high! It’s a great time to be a geek kiddo! You’ve done so much in your eight years. Most kids, have just not been exposed to the life you have. They don’t understand it.”
Still, I could see that my son was avoiding things that he enjoyed like playing basketball and riding his bike. The idea that other kids were taking joy away from my child was disheartening. I decided to share with him stories of my own childhood in hopes to preserve any confidence he might have in himself as an individual and as the son of a blogger. But, I could see that I just wasn’t getting through to him.
This bothered me. It kept me awake. For the first time, I could not rescue him! I needed something pivotal.
Kevin Smith’s Facebook Live Reaction to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Came to My Rescue
“Mom, is it bad to be emotional? Am I a big baby because I cry at movies and because I love you? You are the best Mom.”
Of all the things these kids have said and done to him, including stealing his scooter, what he told me today hit me the hardest. He said, “Mom, is it bad to be emotional? Am I a big baby because I cry at movies and because I love you? You are the best Mom.”
I had a total mom freeze. I knew the words that were about to come out of my mouth would be crucial. But after the other day, I just didn’t know if my words were enough.
“Absolutely not! Grown men who can show their emotions are the best kind of men, they are real, and sincere and they make the best husbands.”
I said, “Absolutely not! Grown men who can show their emotions are the best kind of men, they are real and sincere and they make the best husbands.” And then it hit me! Hello, parenting 2017! I immediately thought of a Facebook Live video that my best friend Shelley shared with me. It was from Kevin Smith, one of my personal heroes, who shared his very moving reaction to a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. It was the scene in which Yondu (Michael Rooker) gives his life for his surrogate son, Starlord (Chris Pratt) resulting in a very emotional funeral scene. If you’ve seen the film you know exactly what I’m talking about. I saw it four times during the course of its promotional phase and every single time I cried like an infant. You can read my full GOTGVol2 review here.
Of course, my 8-year-old son was like, “Who TF is Kevin Smith?” Ha! I said, “Well, let’s just say he’s like the most famous comic book collector ever, he’s responsible for a lot of the movies that mommy grew up loving and he owns a really cool comic book store in New Jersey. He’s also friends with mommy’s friend Ming who is on his TV show Comic Book Men.”
And with that, I started to replay Kevin Smith’s Facebook Live stream of him reacting to the sending off of Yondu and the Ravager Funeral scene that Shelley had shared with me just two days before.
In the stream, Kevin Smith talks about his love of movies and his admiration of the MARVEL film. He shares his respect for Director James Gunn, Michael Rooker (Yondu) and Zoe Saldana (Gamora). He also touches on his movie watching memories with his own father. Then he begins to watch the scene live with his fans. It didn’t take long for him to begin bawling his eyes out. A grown man, in front of thousands of people, putting it all out there.
You can see it here, but I encourage you to react to it on Facebook.
My son watched completely engrossed in all 20 minutes of this live video that we had blaring through our Harmon/Kardon system in our Kia Niro. I could see that he was discovering his own philosophy from this raw, unscripted content.
Kevin started to cry, my son started to cry, I started to cry… And there we were, a snot rocket mess, driving into the city, minutes before I would have to look amazing on camera.
But that didn’t matter. What mattered to me is that right before my eyes I could see a little boy, taunted for his talents, achievements, and emotional character, come back to life. In just a 20 minute live stream from Facebook, he watched a successful, comic loving, grown man show his emotions. He watched a man who he could relate to, an entrepreneur, geek and funny guy, cry like a giant baby.
And that was everything.
My son’s face lit up with an intangible confidence as he made his own convictions, that being real is super legit. He turned to me and said, “You know what mom? This stupid kid doesn’t know anything, he doesn’t know how important being emotional is and that’s sad. I mean look at this guy crying like a big baby, and no one is picking on him! And he has a comic book store! So these kids don’t know what they’re talking about mom, and that’s just sad.”
And just like that, a life lesson was learned. A life lesson that quite possibly changed the course of a child’s life forever. A life lesson, from a big old super geek, who showed that crying like a baby is a strength, not a weakness.
Thank you, Kevin. Thank you. I hope you get the chance to read this. I don’t care about the publicity, I just want you to know that YOU taught something very special in your heartfelt message and YOU changed a little boy’s heart.
Tears and all, thank you.
And for those of you who want to know more about my son, have a look. He’s the brightest and funniest, most loving and mind bending-ly sharpest kid I know. I never dreamed I could be given such an incredible and intrepid little boy.