July 28, 2008
My nanny came today and told me how my son behaved on the playground. “When other children take his toys he never cries. He gets upset but never cries. And he so kind! He is willing to share his toys with everybody. After five minutes he stands there with nothing. I taught him that he couldn’t let other kids to simply take staff from him. Otherwise, when he goes to daycare, other children will eat him alive!” My boy is 17-months-old.
I said nothing. What could I say? She is right. A man should not let other walk over himself. And a boy will grow to be a man. But something rubbed me the wrong way. The kindness was equated to weakness. Is it true? Well, often a kind man does appear weak. A giving (I mean truly giving) person is seen as weak or even foolish. “People are taking advantage of you!”-We would scream at our mother. I know, she would say calmly. And we perceived it as weakness. But it was sheer believe in doing what is right. At least, it was right for her. Right for the world she wanted to live in and leave it to us.
I said nothing. I did not think that my son’s ability to stand up for himself would make him less kind. He will learn to give to those who need not beg and shoulder things that need to be fixed not demolished. He will learn. But today I was wondering how we trade-in our kindness for something more suitable.