During the last week of camp, the boys mentioned a slight problem. It seemed there was an older kid, a sixth grader, who was being a bit aggressive. My oldest mentioned on more than one day the boy had hit him in the head or acted like he was going to hit him or other semi-violent moves toward him. It didn’t seem like he was actually hurting him but there was a little fear in the way he described this other kid.
After hearing about this aggressive behavior, I questioned the boys each day to see if this kid was messing with them. On the eve of the final day of camp, my oldest said that the boy told him “I going to kill you tomorrow”. I wasn’t sure this was genuine, at least not in the physical abuse sense, and even my son said that perhaps the other kid was speaking in terms of their robotic tank war, but none the less, it sparked some conversation.
I was an only child. Even though I haven’t had a brother around, I have had a lot of very close friends for whom I would to war. Not to mention an army of fraternity brothers who are bound to me and I to them. So I felt that I have some perspective to use for the advice I gave the boys.
First, I told them both that if someone is picking on them they have my permission to defend themselves. Hopefully three years of Tae Kwon Do can come in hand a little bit, if all it does is scare someone off because it looks like they have gone crazy. They said they understood this, and confirmed that this was only in reaction to someone being aggressive, not to be the aggressor. They also confirmed their understanding that they had Master Cho’s approval (our Tae Kwon Do Master) to defend themselves.
And then I told them to always remember they are brothers and that they need to help one another and stand up for one another. I went a step farther and told them that if someone messes with one of them, let them know they are messing with both of them. They come as a package. They are a pair and that partnership should last for their entire lives. They said they understood and even seemed to relish this thought.
I am not sure you have to tell brothers to be brothers but again, from my point of view, it can’t hurt. I want them to know to look out for one another and utilize that ultimate blood bond. That past all the picking and annoying each other, that above it all, they are family and they need to be the ultimate support for one another. And just in case that doesn’t come naturally (because some times is really looks like they are at each other’s throats), I fell into the advice to “Be Brothers”.