Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Grudge Match

The events from a couple of nights ago, discussed here, won't let go of me. On one hand I am finding it hard to move on; on the other I am being accused of childishness by virtue of the fact I am holding a grudge against a kid. To these accusations I will say, loudly and clearly, that yes - I am holding a grudge. The purpose of this post is to explain why.
I will go to extremes in order to clarify my argument. Let us say that instead of what really happened, the girl who attacked my son used a pickaxe to kill him and cut him into little pieces (a scenario inspired by several Pink Floyd songs). Would I be accused of childishly holding a grudge under such circumstances? No, I wouldn't; and my point therefore is that there are circumstances in which holding a grudge is unanimously justified. The question is, where exactly is the threshold following which grudge is justifiably held?
In order to try and answer the question, let us look at the actual crimes committed against my son by his young cousin:
  1. My son was stripped naked.
  2. A bid was stuck tightly into my son's ear (see photo).
  3. The perpetrator lied in her account of the events.
The third point is probably the easiest to dismiss; virtually all kids lie, and we do not know enough to estimate whether this particular child is a pathological lier or not. The first point is a tough one, but you can argue that the girl who did the act was behaving the way she behaves with her dolls; I would still say that even children should know better, but there is some benefit of doubt involved. However, there can be no doubt about that second point: any child older than two (or, if you want to be on the safe side, three) knows when they are harming someone else to such a severe extent: we could have easily ended up in hospital and my son could have easily lost hearing on his left side.
But we are not talking about a three year old here; we are talking about a child of school age. For such a child to perform such an act there has to be an ulterior motive. There has to be the active intention of causing harm!
The intention to cause harm is my answer to the question of when grudge can be understandably held against someone. People kill others while driving and get away with it because all they they were trying to do was drive home from work when someone jumped underneath their wheels. However, when someone actively tries to harm another I hold it against them; I am not alone there, because civilization has gone to great lengths to deal with such people. Therefore, when someone actively tries to intentionally harm my son without provocation, I will hold a grudge against them. It is that simple.
You can argue against me that I am going too far with this grudge of mine given that it is aimed against a six year old and not against a responsible adult. My answer is that it is exactly because of the criminal's age that I haven't reported her to the police and did my best to see her jailed. However, this streak of evil that this six year old has displayed is more than enough for me to act cautiously around her. As I said before, when I see her I see the devil.
Perhaps in ten year's time this cousin would be able to produce a clean record that would allow me to consider bygones bygones. Till then I do not see any option but to treat her as persona non grata in the best of cases. I am not going to even try to pretend being a member of a happy family here, for here is a person I am holding a grudge against.


Sarah said...

I have found the lack of comments on this situation interesting to watch. Is it that the readers have drawn a line that this is a too personal/emotive subject to comment on/get involved in? Considering it seems the more human interest posts like the ones about death and pronunciation of your name received a number of comments and yet this has received none. What do you put this down to?

Moshe Reuveni said...

I put this down to lack of interest. As in, there are very few people reading this blog in the first place.

wile.e.coyote said...

and the one that reads don't have kids. So whatever they will say will not taken seriously. But c'mon life is hard. Its better to face it sooner than later. Yea yea, I don't know a thing. "Once you will have kids....."

Moshe Reuveni said...

I think it's legitimate of you to say that life is hard and I should get a move on regardless of whether you have children or not. I also think it's equally legitimate for me to disagree with you.
If someone was to do the same to, say, your wife - would you say "life is hard" and dismiss it?

Sarah said...

Not trying to cause trouble (me a trouble maker never!) but was interested from a removed point of view about human nature in this case. Are the lack of responses due to as you suggested a lack of readers or that they don't how to approach this situation.

I thought I might weigh into the issue of holding grudges even given that I totally agree with you that what happened was so wrong on so many levels. If you mean your trust has been broken and that changes the way you will have to interact with this child from now on, that is quite appropriate given your role as the parent in this situation. However if the grudge involves holding onto the anger and it ends up eating you up, then more damage is done to you than to those with whom you are angry. Who is it really punishing her or you??

Anyhow I do hope things have settled some what and the holiday is improving.

Moshe Reuveni said...

To address both issues:
1. Lack of feedback: I can see myself reacting to someone else telling me the same story, and I see myself clearly to be in a position of not knowing what to say. I'm pathetic, I know.
Multiply this notion across the few people reading this blog, and this is where we're at.
2. Nature of held grudge: It's definitely a case of the former. As in, everything that girl does is being looked upon from the point of view of someone who has been hurt before and is looking to avoid further pain. To say there is no anger involved in there, too, is to lie; yet it is clear the anger is waning relatively quickly. It is also clear it will be easily re-ignited under the right circumstances.

Uri said...

I think the correct test is inversion. If the situation were reversed and your school-aged son did this to a younger cousin, I’m sure you’d have been horrified. So it’s no surprise you’re horrified now.

What would the girl’s mom (mum?) have done in that situation? What would the grandparents say? Do you think they would have all behaved the same way?

Of course, there is a big difference between seeing something and hearing about it from someone else.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I agree with you entirely, Uri, even if I don't know how conclusive the reversal test is.
What I will say, without delving too far into the privacy of others, is that the mother's behavior has been impeccable. I have absolutely nothing against her as I think no one could have imagined this coming. It would be correct to say my entire grudge, for lack of a better word, is devoted to the direction of the offending child.
On the other hand, it is almost funny to see how everyone else (other than me and the mother) is quick to put the matter aside and pretend it didn't happen. I would have thought something like this should dominate dialog for the next few years, but it doesn't; most of us are busy pretending to be a happy united family (while I am even more of a sticking out pain than I usually am with the British family).

Anonymous said...

A disturbing story. I feel a deep sadness for both your son and the perpetrator of this act. This type of behaviour rings alarm bells. I hope the mother has the common sense to seek professional help for her daughter if this behaviour continues or is part of an on-going pattern of behaviour.