There is a family that lives in our neighborhood, they have 3 children and these children are always playing in the street and appear to be unsupervised. The approximate ages of these 3 children is a 9 (boy) 6 (girl) and 4 (girl). The other day I saw the kids and their Mom out for a bike ride and the boy was flipping the Mom off as he rode in front of her and the Mom was laughing and chasing him as the 4 year old clung to the back of the bike and the 6 year old rode along side her. I had to look twice to make sure he was indeed flipping her off and I have to say I judged that woman.
I was out walking Sally last week when I saw the boy and his friend racing scooters and the 4 year old girl chasing them on foot. As I got closer the 9 year old got off his scooter, waited for his sister to catch up to him and then reached across and slapped her, open handed across the face as hard as he could. She grabbed her face with her hands and looked up at her brother. The friend looked at the boy and said in a startled voice, "What did you do THAT for?" And the boy looked at his sister with an expression of hatred and said, "because she's an ASSHOLE!".
In that instant I realized that the little girl had not even flinched when her brother had raised his hand. I also realized that at the age of 9, there is a boy who has learned to raise his fist in anger against his sister. I realized that in my neighborhood there is a boy who is being hit, a girl who is being hit and that is a way of life for them. As I walked by the three kids, they all looked at me and I said as softly as I could, "don't hit your sister, please don't hit your sister". He got on his scooter and rode away quickly and the little girl just stood there holding her face and stared at me, her eyes dry.
I had to walk away as fast as I could because mine were not.