Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm a Peacemaker

I'm the peacemaker in my family. Perhaps it has something to do with being the middle child. I believe I read somewhere that's a telltale trait of a middle child--serving as the one who maintains peace between family members.

It's a tough job, riddled with responsibility and anxiety. I don't know if it's expected of me or if I expect it of myself. All I know is I have a serious need for harmony and peace. If two members of my family are fighting, I just have to intervene. I've always been this way.

It's certainly a plus for those who need a referee, but not so much a plus for me. I've stuck my neck out many times, coming to someone's aid, only to put myself in harm's way. Back in fourth grade, standing at the bus stop, a boy I considered a bully was harassing my sister and my girlfriend. He was my age, but, of course, a boy, bigger and stronger. I moved between him and the two girls, trying to get him to stop. His response was to pull his arm back and punch me in the mouth. Shocked and bleeding, my first and only thought was to run. I was, after all, 9 years old and a child of the early sixties-- a time when boys simply did not hit girls. It was unheard of. A major no-no. (At least, where I lived.)

This story had a happy ending for me with the boy getting yelled at by the principal, my mother, his mother, his teacher and my teacher, but still, none of it would have happened if I'd simply hung back and kept my mouth shut. But I just can't do that.

Fast forward to 2009 and I'm still doing my best to come between warring factions. Should I just let my husband and teenage son hurl obscenities back and forth like Frisbees, or step in before they hurt each other? Well, recently, I did nothing. It was just a war of words, but the blast in the air glowed for hours. I know I'll have to find a way to make peace between them because they won't do it themselves. Too much pride on each side.

I will have to choose the right time, the right words, the right approach. A hefty responsibility for me to shoulder.

But I'm a peacemaker. That's what I am. That's what I do.


  1. Good for you! There aren't enough peacemakers out there. Not enough bold people either.

    I can't believe that boy hit you. *shaking head*

  2. Oooh...right in the mouth? Ouch. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to a bully--especially at that age.

  3. You have courage, Kathy. We need more people to take a stand against harassment of all kinds. The less bystanders, the less bullies.
    Thanks for sharing this. It's inspiring.

  4. Good for you! I like your peacemaker attitude. Good luck with it all.

  5. Boys. They never grow up. Good luck with the makey up!

  6. Thanks to everybody for your comments.

    Yes, he really punched me in the mouth. I was as amazed as you all were. As it turned out, one of the sixth grade teachers was driving by our bus stop when Calvin hit me. So he saw it first-hand. He is the one who told the principal and the teachers about it.

    I spoke to my son last night, as calmly as possible. I think I got through to him.

  7. Ah, the things I have to look forward to. I have TWO boys, 2 years apart from eachother. They will pretty much be teens at the same time, and we all stubborn genes. I do try my very best to keep my cool, I just hope I can keep it up for another decade or two.