8: Sam

This is the eighth post in a series about my son’s recent experience with bullying at school.

Last night at dinner, Sam suggested that we each say what our favorite things are about each other. He asked me to go first. I told Sam that I love how smart and creative he is, and what an interesting guy he is—I don’t know a single other nine-year-old who is passionate about opera.

I told Sam’s six-year-old sister Ruby that I love that she is fun, funny, and full of life, more full of life than any other person I know. I told my husband Ian that he’s wise and brave and thinks outside the box, and supports me so well. And then Sam, Ruby, and Ian each said what they love about everyone else.

When we were done, we sat quietly at the table, feeling all glowy and happy and loved. And then Sam said, “You know what my favorite thing about Sarah Hoffman is?”

We’d been using our real names to talk to each other, of course. Sam knows I write under a pen name—and why. He also knows we’ve been meeting with his teachers, the principal, the school counselor, and other parents about making his school a kinder, safer place.

“My favorite thing about Sarah Hoffman is that you’re standing up for me.”



  1. says

    I love it when kids initiate loving ideas such as this one. I love it even more that they (like we) usually have an agenda (or a plan, maybe a better way to put it?) when they suggest it. After everyone participates in the exercise, they ambush you with the beatific thing, the point they knew they’d make when they started out.

    I love how your child thinks. I love that your baby knows how on his team you are, so fully. It brings me immense comfort, and inspires me in ways you can’t even imagine.

    Thanks for sharing this journey.

    • shoffman says

      Karen, it hadn’t even occurred to me that Sam had a plan when he brought up the exercise. I don’t know if he did, or if it was spontaneous, or there but unconscious. Regardless, it was delicious.

      • says

        As a kid, I would have known that I had something to say, but I would have needed to find a way to bring it in. But that’s me. I was awkward that way. Because of bullying I spent a lot of my time and effort thinking about anything that came out of my mouth before it did. A really amazing therapist I had as a young adult pointed out how exhausting that must have been, and I started to understand how out of sync it made me with the world. So … well … there’s that.

        And yea. Delicious. and it packs your son’s future full of hope. Because he has you.

  2. Diana says

    Didn’t see that coming. How beautiful. Tears over here. I hope my son does/will feel that way about me. We are off to camp Friday, on his 8th bday, and I know it will be life-changing for all of us. We WILL change the world. We will!

    • shoffman says

      How wonderful that you’re going…I’m so sad we’re not! Enjoy, enjoy. What a great birthday present. Your son will know what a gift you are giving him…and that you are changing the world!

  3. Laura says

    I don’t think I could’ve woken up to a more awesome email in my inbox than this post. Thanks for sharing–I miss being a kid sometimes and getting to make parents happy like that… Even as a little kid, I was REALLY aware of all the sacrifices my mom made and how hard she worked to teach us to be good kids and give us limitless learning opportunities. Good thing she loves reading considering how much she dragged home with us from the library every couple of days!

  4. Joy says

    Oh my gosh! It’s taken me a while to get to reading this! But it is awesome! It really makes me think! We need to show our kids that we WILL fight for them! Not just hide in a corner in fear! You ARE awesome, Sarah Hoffman!

  5. says

    Sam rocks. Sarah Hoffman rocks. And Sam’s mom rocks, too. You are an inspiration, including to those of us who don’t have pink boys, but have other reasons to really relate to your story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. shoffman says

    I am re-reading all of these posts about anti-bullying work at school, to help prepare a follow-up post on the series. I’d forgotten much of what I’d written and gone through. And reading this one, I am so blown away by my son’s good heart, by his willingness to share his experiences with us and to let us help him in the way that we can. I’m feeling blessed, and wanted to share that feeling with all of you, and to thank you for witnessing the evolution of this situation and sharing your comments and support with me.

  7. says

    I don’t have kids. Someone mentioned this blog to me and I decided to have a look. I love and appreciate the understanding, compassion and humor you are bringing to the world. And tonight, at dinner, I am going to tell my husband and dog all the things I love about them. All the best to you and your family!

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