On Trying to Manage Anger and Children

To those of you who live in the U. S. and whichever other countries celebrate it, Happy Mother’s Day.  Or is it Mothers’ Day?  Probably the latter.  Here in Korea things are done a little differently.  Today is declared Parents’ Day, even though this country’s divorce rate rivals that of my own, which may be why some prophetic soul had the good sense to separate the sentiment into two distinct holidays from the get-go.  I’ve heard that American pro-lifers are campaigning for a holiday for unborn children.  Good luck with that.

Last Sunday was Childrens’ Day, and what a day it was.  Anyone familiar with this blog might occasionally get the impression that I abominate children, which I can assure you is false.  But please understand that I’m also a pathological liar.  Your mission is to discern the lies from the truth. (In other words, am I lying when I say that I actually love children–and I don’t mean in a Michael Jacksonian, Father John Geoghanesque, or Jeffrey Dahmerian way–God rest what remains of their fetid souls–or when I describe these elaborate situations in which certain devilish, devious, or your garden variety delinquent Korean children disguised as angels in their little cherubic integuments, conspire to drive me around the bend?)

My wife Jina, who has both more patience and more firmness with children than I do, sometimes accuses me of not seeming to care about them (which is different from wanting to dismember them limb from limb and feast on their entrails like Cronus or John Wayne Gacy’s distant cannibal cousin Harold).  Most of the kids we team-teach are lots of fun to have in class.  They get along well with one another and appear eager enough to learn English as long as we go out of our way to keep it from becoming too dull.  Jina’s also better at this than I am, since I’m more in my element teaching adults, and can’t speak Korean worth shit.

Anyway, yesterday while we were managing a group of kindergarteners in the back room of the library owned by her church, there was one new boy who I could tell was trouble from the get-go.  Jina had been guiding them in the construction of little paper houses when I arrived, and I just had a bad feeling about this kid.

On the agenda was a book called Down by the Station, and the song that goes with it, along with some laminated cut-outs of various vehicles Jina had downloaded from the Internet.  These she stuck to a felt sheet she’d attached with velcro to a white board.  As we were in the process of reading the words from the story for the children to repeat, this little monster, whom I’ll dub Damian, proceeded to knock the cut-outs off the white board.

A few minutes later, when one girl started to cry (personal issues, as the child psychiatrists would say), Damian, who sat next to her, started mocking her in an attempt to win friends with his pint-sized peers.  I told him to cut it out, and Jina echoed my request in a less assertive tone (usually she’s the assertive one, while I’m either reticent or indifferent, depending on my mood and energy level).

Finally, after Jina cued the C. D. so we could start jamming to the tune together, the relentless little cunt (meaning Damian, not Jina) hit the stop button on the player so we all had to start over from the beginning.  I lowered my voice and gave him an admonitory look, but then he did it again.

I was going to quote Bill Clinton, one of my least favorite living ex-presidents (not that I can confess to liking any of them, or his skinny-assed, empire-infatuated replacement), and say, “Three strikes and you are out.”

Luckily, Damian refrained from further shenanigans in that department, opting instead to throw a couple of compact disks on the floor.  I told Jina I refused to teach him again, and even offered to kill him to his face, not that he had any idea what I was talking about.  If I do see him again, I’ll have to remember to bring him a razor and some shaving cream so he can shave his precocious, incipient mustache.

Afterwards, at least the little shit had the decency to bring me a Vitamin C candy, presumably prompted to by his mother.  As Jina and I left before most of the kids did, I waved goodbye to him to be nice, contrite, forgiving, or polite, but he ignored me.  Since he could no longer be the center of attention, I’d evidently become irrelevant as a foil.  So much for trying to make amends with bad seeds.

The capper is that Jina wants to have a baby (and a car, and a house–as if we needed any of those things).  But the baby would, of course, have to be a fanatical, life-denying Christian like her.

That reminds me–it’s time to pop down to the local convenience store and pick up some more condoms.

Those of you who have children, I hope for your sake they’re not as menacing as Damian.  Remind me to bring my Omen knife set to impale him with next time.  

I’ll be doing his mother a favor.

(I’m just kidding, by the way, as usual.)

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One thought on “On Trying to Manage Anger and Children

  1. Nice article, as always, Stew. Everything you ever needed to know about children is right there in ‘The Lord of the Flies’. They should teach that book at schools – and at teacher-training colleges too. Not that there aren’t nice kids, of course, but they’re at the mercy of the wicked ones without adults there to lay down the law.

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