Just Say No

Đạo and I hit the skate park in the morning. We had been rollerblading two to three times a week. Đạo is a good skater, but he is very cautious. He stuck with the low, straight ramps. I encouraged him to try the higher, curved pipes, but he declined. Of course, I didn’t force him to do anything he didn’t feel comfortable doing. I took some risks and pushed myself a bit. I fell several times in the past; therefore, I am being careful as well.

After our rollerblading session, we had a brief conversation. I complimented him for saying no to my challenge. He didn’t take the bait and he wasn’t being pressured into doing something that he didn’t want to. I wanted him to apply that concept to his life. He will start seventh grade in two weeks.

Just thinking back to my seventh and eight grades gives me a chill. I had such a rough time; therefore, I do not want him to go through what I went through. I was bullied for being the only Asian kid in class. I was laughed at for not speaking much English. I kept it all to myself because I didn’t know who to turn to. I didn’t tell my mom because I didn’t want her to worry and she couldn’t do anything for me anyway.

I advised Đạo to come to me or his mother if he experienced bullying in school. I reminded him to just walk away from situations where he wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable. I stressed the importance of not being pressured into smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or doing illegal activities. He understood my advice and I hope he will remember my words when he has to deal with peer pressures.