Shh, Daddy’s a Policeman!

10 Oct

I walked into school to the buzz & excitement of the playground. They were all talking about the bomb that had been found locally, over the weekend. I listened.. One boy, in an excited voice, said “Imagine the man that went up to it, the one who could’ve had it blow up in his face, that’s well brave, he’s amazing – he stopped it from blowing up & killing loads of people” I was smiling now, that man was my Dad, I stood tall, felt proud & told them that it was my Daddy who did that, he was my hero.

Shadows

Daddy & Son

Let’s get straight to the point here, this really annoys me. I think it’s obvious that I am very proud of my husband’s job. I would go as far as to say that I’m often bursting with pride. Naturally we’ve have fed this pride onto our boys too. Police cars, dressing up outfits, anything with a ne-nah noise, it’s all been part of their toy boxes from day one.

On Rural teens 6th birthday, he received the gift of a very life like pistol gun. Not from us, but from a ‘friend’ at school. The gun was very inappropriate & so we made the very hard decision of taking it away. We explained it to our son & got him something else in place of it. The next day at school the boy in question marched over to us with two very angry parents… Uh oh!

Turns out that rural teen had never mentioned what his dad did for a job before. He, somehow, must have picked up on the fact that it’s not always received well. He had already noticed that this could be the subject for bullying. Being only 6, he was a little emotional about his present being removed & had gone to school, declared his dad was a policeman & said that he would be coming round to arrest the other boy’s dad, for having a replica gun! We had some explaining to do there…

Shortly afterwards we moved house & area. This time the children were from different, better backgrounds & bullying wasn’t an issue. One day Mr R got the opportunity to take rural teen to school in his police car. As parents we were pretty excited to be giving our son this opportunity, we couldn’t wait to see his face. He was 8 now, a lovely age to appreciate the inside of a police car. His beaming smile showed us that he knew how special this was, that he was actually sitting in a police car and even getting to flash the lights. It was all so exciting, but quickly turned sad when rural teen asked to be dropped off round the corner from school, so that nobody spotted him.

My heart sank, my smile vanished and I just stood in silence for a moment. I realised, that it wasn’t because he didn’t have pride in his Daddy, but because he was worried what the other kids would say. He wasn’t able to go and boast about his exciting adventure, because he was scared of the repercussions.  

After talking it through with our son, we realised that he felt he couldn’t tell his friends what his dad did. Even though we were all so proud, at the ages of 6-8 our son had learnt, from his peers, that others did not respect the police. The job didn’t make our son feel special, it made him feel outcast & like a target.

As parents we felt helpless. Why is it that good, decent people often get penalised for doing the right thing? All we could do is talk to our son & try to guide him. We found ourselves giving him tips on what to say to kids who laughed or said mean things. What we couldn’t do, was make it better for him, only help him know how to deal with it. So whilst we are still a family bursting with pride, as our head stands for country & badge, our child has built his own world in which he waits to see who he will trust with this knowledge. He has a secret that he keeps for home life, but for a chosen few kids. No child should have to feel the need to keep a secret. I want to tell every child at his school what Mr R does & deal with them all one by one… But it’s not me that has to go there every day. Rural teen is now in a large secondary school with a vast mix of people. As sad as it is, He is right to be keeping this information to himself. Many kids there will have had brushes with the law & we don’t want rural teen taking the comebacks. On the flip side, he does have a close, small circle of friends that he has told, they’re good lads. He has also learnt a lot about right from wrong and, most of the time; he doesn’t let it worry him anymore.

Our second son has now started school, and so the learning curve begins again. At the moment he is oblivious to it all, I love the innocence he has, but I’m also bracing myself as I know that, at some point, in the not too distant future, he will face his first hurdle because of his daddy’s job. I feel anger at the fact that I know this will happen, yet we stand proudly together & we’re ready…

* Special thanks to @NellBelleandMe for the Twitter conversation that led to this blog. Read her response to this post here; http://t.co/RwCSJZGl

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9 Responses to “Shh, Daddy’s a Policeman!”

  1. feefee (@copperswag) October 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    I can completely understand this when I was little my dad was a policeman in the met and stood outside no.10 downing st everyday. Sometimes I wanted to run into school and tell everyone dad was on the news but you felt like everyone would say My daddy says police are scum, as my school was in a rough neighbourhood more people were in trouble with the law than pro police.
    Great blog keep writing xx

  2. Julia October 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    We have been lucky that our daughter goes to a very small school where several other police families also attend. The only issue we have had have been other mums who I have heard whispering comments about my husband. Nothing dramatic but unnecessary and irritating. We have however discussed with her the need to be careful who she tells when she goes to secondary school. My husband is from a police family and so has first hand experience of bullying stemming from his fathers occupation. It’s a sad situation but does not stop us being proud of him and the job he does. It has made my husband touchy about any suggestion that either of our children join the job as adults

  3. old_chap October 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    There are more of ‘them’ than there is of you so I cannot see that the prejudice will ever be cleansed. Induction of the children is the only thing you can do. They need to be able to clearly state the social and other values of having police. Pride on the work is, of course, a given, If they are warned in advance of these responses to Dad’s employment and given a range of responses, the damage should be limited. It worked with my four

  4. :) (@KatieMagnet) October 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Beautifully written. Thankfully my three children have never experienced this at their schools. My teens could never escape the fact that we were both in the job and hiding it was futile. Working opposite shifts, long hours and having the Nanny living in the house. Meant questioned were asked from a very young age.
    Mini Magnet is very involved and we have actively encouraged the school, to take part in Police activities.
    It saddens me to think this happens. It is clear Positive Police, images need to be promoted much more in educational environments.
    Well done x Excellent as always x

  5. :) (@KatieMagnet) October 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Sorry about the typo’s. Multi tasking is not something to be done, when making a comment 🙂

  6. Stephen Hannam October 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    I was walking through the city centre last week when i saw a little boy about 4yrs old smiling at me. He was made up to see me and was pointing at me saying ‘daddy police, police’. His dad turned to him and said ‘thats not police mate, thats f*****g scum’. With a dad like that about the poor kid has no hope, that is where some of the issues are. He wasnt even one of our normal ‘clients’. He goes to school (nursery) where i know lots of colleagues children attend, woudlnt be surprised if he falls into bullying bracket now 😦

  7. Localcop1404 October 11, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    This hits home in two ways for me. I can see it from both sides as my Father is a retired police officer and I currently am a police officer. I have a young son and do wonder what will happen to him when he goes to school. I remember the comments, the suddenly stopped conversations and even parents looking at me like scum and telling their kids ‘don’t play with him, his Dad is a pig’. Very disheartening but I was and am still so proud of my Dad. Whatever those idiots did and said to me I just turned it round and used it to prove to myself why my Dad was better than them. It was hard but I think it helped me to become who I am today. Hopefully your kids will feel the same, let the pride outweigh the stupid comments and daft accusations. Their real mates will know what their Dad does and not care. At then end of the day, what do others opinions really matter? Your kids will make their own choices and you and their Dad will be there for them. Whatever jobs you both happen to have.

  8. joeynoble October 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Another beautifully written piece Mrs Rural, well done.
    Having two little children, the impact of their Dads job on them is something that has always worried me, but after reading this it’s inspired me to work even harder to make sure that the positive image of policing is always re-enforced with them.
    I was raised by a father who always referred to police officers as ‘pigs’. I hated it. I don’t know why I hated, I was only little, but I did. He told me never to look at them, or smile as I would be arrested. I don’t know why he said this either! As far as I know he was never in trouble, or his parents! And neither was I! But his views never changed my opinion of them, they were doing a job I knew I could never do and they were to be respected.
    As for now, it seems I am lucky. Lily revels in waving and smiling at the emergency services as they fly past our house. Her little face the other day when two police officers waved back was a picture! And the school our son attends has some close ties with the local police and they often attend the school. They know what his Dad does and he isn’t the only one who has a parent in the force thankfully. In the future I hope that he can form the opinion that the negative comments of the few do not outweigh the silent appreciation and gratitude of the many. I look forward to reading your next piece Mrs Rural 

  9. @peelerswife November 24, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I feel sorry for children of Police Officers, that’s why I was happy my son went away to University because I thought he can be himself.
    I’m also glad that he has chosen not to join the Police even though I am proud of Mr Plod.

    People may ask why would I say this? I can answer truthfully, why would I want my son to work in an environment where he would have to deal with the type of people that have no morals and mainly smell?

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