Yesterday my 7yo wrote a concerning note

Let’s set the stage here – we went to the local YMCA to let the kiddos play at Y-Play while me and Kim got in a little exercise before she had to run to a GS meeting. Kids like the room they’ve got with a Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, and we’re right upstairs trying for the umpteenth year to get healthier.

Evidently during this time the 7yo decided to do some paper projects rather than climbing on the course. Maybe taking a break, I’m not entirely sure.

I was pushing myself pretty hard on weights because I’m seriously trying to get a long running blood pressure thing under control (always been high even when I was in good shape, now it’s insane) so when I came down to pick up kiddos it was after actually pushing myself and I didn’t have much of a brain.

The Y-Play attendant asked me to look at something my kiddo had done and yikes… it’s a letter /painting and it starts out with “some times I feel not safe. Sometimes now I feel craze! (crazy)” It goes on to say sometimes she feels sad and then turns a corner to say when she’s feeling that she thinks about the good stuff.

The not feeling safe of course raised alarms in both the Y-Play staff and me. I’m standing there, not exactly dripping sweat but brainless and attempting to find out what the “sometimes I don’t feel safe” part is and according to her, it’s due to her school’s anti-bullying meetings. Bullying is a pretty big problem at her school, but we verified that there’s no bullying that she’s identified in her class.

Yikes!

After the best conversation I can muster I find out she’s worried about the potential for someone in her class to be bullied, and worried that a somewhat mean kid in her class might either become a bully at some point later in his life, or is being bullied at home and that’s what makes him the mean kid.

My nine year old keeps attempting to chime in on the conversation with stuff that’s at a 90 degree tangent to what’s important but in spite of that I manage to finally get that she is just worried about the potential for bad things to happen.

I do wonder that at the end an adult who doesn’t know me personally saw the “sometimes I feel not safe” written out and there wasn’t … I don’t really know what you should do honestly… kid comes up to you with “sometimes I feel not safe.” seems like there should be an armed response and social workers… I’m not putting them down mind you, I really don’t know what the response should be, but yeah… it’s one of those moments when I worry if this had been a kid in trouble who didn’t feel safe and couldn’t talk in front of their parents what would the outcome have been?

I told her to always tell an adult… always… but to understand that the one line “I feel not safe” was something she needed to be careful of saying unless she actually wanted help. I’m not telling her not to say that, but to be a little hesitant to use that phrasing because that should be a call for help.

Yeah, I really don’t know… I’m not criticizing anyone here – it was odd and concerning.

The picture and “I ran fast” was evidently unrelated and had to do with the climbing wall and running up it but yeah. Lordy… trying to parse this, history, kids screaming and playing at the place, was a confusing time for all.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.