Why a Boy Needs a Father
Many years ago, during the previous century, Linda and I published a medical journal from offices in Montgomery County. One day, just before Christmas, Linda came rushing into my office. She was visibly upset and it took some amount of time before I could calm her down and learn of the problem.
She had just received a phone call from our son’s elementary school. Our son, Gabe, had “serious issues” and the school’s administrators wanted us to come to the school immediately. We were stunned. We jumped into the car and quickly drove silently the short distance to school.
Again as I said, we were both stunned. We could not for the life of us understand what this little boy could possibly have done for us to be summoned to school. To the best of our knowledge he belonged to no subversive organizations, had never aided or abetted a foreign government, run a protection racket in the schoolyard, sold drugs or distributed “senior citizen porn” at recess. We were not aware of his watching pornography on the internet or taking x-rated materials to school. These were not the actions of our nine year old son. Or so we had always believed. But then again, we knew many parents who were the last to learn of their children’s “activities.”
When we got to the school we quickly spotted our nine year old sitting defiantly in a room alone near the vice principal’s office. He was quietly awaiting his fate. The principal, his assistants and any other members of the staff with free time quickly joined our “discussion” when it was noticed that we had arrived, Our son’s accusers, before we had a chance to catch our breath, quickly informed us of the grievous sin the pre-adolescent had committed.
The school had decided to have a “holiday collection” (The word Christmas was no longer a part of the school’s lexicon) for a Nintendo item for a little boy and a doll and doll house for his sister. The two had been selected by the school’s administration because, unfortunately, their mother was a drug addict and their father was an alcoholic.
Their holiday would not be happy. They would have nothing. No tree, no music, no gifts … nothing. All of the children in the classroom were told how sad it would be for the two kids and how they, Gabe’s class, could help make this a happy holiday for the two little children. They were all asked to contribute to a fund for “holiday” gifts.
Gabe refused! In fact he refused to contribute over and over again. He refused to contribute in front of his little classmates and he refused a second time when his teacher requested, in private, that he change his mind. He also refused the counselor’s request and the principal’s request.
Our son would have none of the entire activity. He wasn’t going to contribute his monies. No discussion, no threat nor visit to the principal’s office could get him to change his mind. He wasn’t about to be intimidated nor forced to “ante up.” He stood as strong as a nine year old Rock of Gibraltar. Ergo, the Hermans were invited for “discussion time.”
Before the discussion had a chance to start I asked Gabe a simple question. Why was he unwilling to donate to what appeared to be worthwhile charity? The well paid “professional” educators, the governmental recipients of our tax dollars, should have asked the same question. But they had not. Despite all of the pressure they had brought to bear on this small nine year old, no one had had the brains or interest to ask him for his motives.
And then we found out: our son had not been willing to contribute because he felt the little boy and his sister were more in need of clothing and food than expensive toys that would probably last for a very limited duration.
He had shared this thought with every one of the System’s representatives repeatedly. They, the teacher, the two counselors, the vice principal, principal, etc. had been unwilling to accept his simplistic view and had the little “spoiled, stubborn and uncaring brat” (Strictly my very rough and hostile paraphrasing of our discussion) visit the school’s psychologist.
When the reality of the situation set in I was not a happy camper. To be blunt, I was pissed! That a nine year old, should be intimidated by such a large group of adults … educators at that … really pissed me off! I will not elaborate on our discussion, but I made it very clear that they should send him back to class immediately and make sure that none of this event or the comments of the staff become part of his permanent school record.
I finished my diatribe by telling them that if this was not the case I had full intentions of pursuing legal action, individually. It was they, not the System, that should be made to account for their stupid actions.
Obviously I wasn’t happy with how they treated, rather mistreated our son. I was furious … really furious. As my mother, may she rest in peace, would have said, “They made my blood boil.”
When all is said and done, every child, especially a little boy, needs parents, parents who care. Parents need not only raise their children, they need to protect them in this tumultuous world we live in. Every little boy should have a dad, as well as a Mom, to stand in front of him, along side of him and in front of him when required… especially when adults do them wrong. Call me old fashion, but as Father’s Day approaches I keep thinking how much every child, especially a little boy, needs a father, a protector, as well as a “buddy.” If nothing else, it protects them from the emasculation that some, especially some of today’s educators, seek for our sons.
In the end, Gabe went back to class. We never heard about the incident again… but Linda and I always consider it a badge of honor and exemplary character that our little nine-year old took a stand and fought the good fight. We will always be proud of him for this, and so much more.
Your opinions are always welcomed.