Bullying is and will always be an issue-as long as kids are growing and learning anyway. Every person will experience this at some point in their life whether it’s as a child in school or as an adult online.
But when I hear that someone is bullying my kid I go into beast mode (I have to calm myself down and remind myself that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger). This is a natural reaction whenever a parent feels like their child is in danger-we want to protect them. But can this be taken too far? Of course it can-just like anything else!
Too many parents want to be there to catch their children when they’re falling but if we did this they would never learn how to do things for themselves. If you were there to prevent every little disaster what will your child do when you’re not around?
I’m not saying that “How To Bully 101” should be an elementary elective but we can’t remove everything that’s dangerous from our kids lives. Even if we could accomplish this there will always be another hazard. Instead of removing our kids from the situation we should teach our kids how to handle it.
I was bullied twice in my life and both were in elementary school.
The first was in 1st grade. I lived in the Bronx with my mother and sister. I went to a public school known as CS67. There was this kid that would “invite” me out to the yard where he would beat me up every day after school. Apparently his dad taught him to box and he’d practice on me. Not sure why I never declined. I can remember trying to talk him out of it once but that didn’t work.
I’m not sure how this ended or what ever became of this kid. I’d love to tell you that later that year with all my training I demanded a rematch and was victorious-but that would be a lie. He probably became a professional fighter-glad I could help.
The second time was in 5th grade. We had just moved from Brooklyn to Long Island. I went to Chippewa elementary. There was this kid named Anthony McCrory. He wasn’t a bad kid he just liked to make fun of me. Mostly because of my reaction. I would do what most kids do. My face would get red, I’d get angry and sometimes it would escalate to the point where I’d cry out of frustration.
Whenever Anthony would go into an episode of name calling all I could think about was how I wouldn’t see him in 6th grade because I was moving-I couldn’t wait.
I saw him in a convenience store once (first time outside of school) and at first he seemed like a different Anthony-not the bully that I knew him to be. But then after a moment of small talk Anthony the bully returned.
This went on for the entire school year. Some days were better than others. It never really got physical. Then one day towards the end of the year-the weather was warm-it was that time of the year when we would play outdoor games and have one legged races-we called it field day. Anthony began another installment of bashing my name and I couldn’t take it anymore-my face got red-I lost my peripheral vision and could see only him. I began a chase that lasted for what seemed like an hour but was only a minute or two. I ran like a cheetah zigging when he turned left and zagging when he turned right! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Anthony!
I didn’t catch him. But I felt like I scared the crap out of him. There wasn’t enough of the school year left to find out if my chase made a difference. If I had done that at the beginning of the year I’m sure my 5th grade life would have been much better.
After the chase I felt a little more confident in myself. I also noticed that 2 girls I’d liked were looking at me!
I saw Anthony about 10 years later. A very strange coincidence. It was sunset. I was at the park with my girlfriend. It was almost dark. I could see a guy approaching the park from a distance and my gut told me it was him. All those feelings and emotions came rushing back causing me to panic a little. Then I reminded myself of the chase and prepared for a confrontation that I expected to end in fists. He got within talking distance and asked if I was Nelson. I answered, “yes”. He said, “I’m sorry” and disappeared into the darkness as mysteriously as he appeared. Never saw Anthony McCrory again. Good people make bad decisions-he is a good person.
Whether it’s a bully taking advantage of every opportunity to make your life miserable or a boss at work increasing your workload because he/she knows you can’t say no-having to deal with either or both will only prepare you for tougher obstacles ahead. Trying to remove everything that is tough or uncomfortable from our lives will surely set us up for failure.
I’ll leave you with a great video by Brooks Gidds about How to handle a bully
Thanks for taking the time to read.
If you’ve enjoyed this story or you have a friend that may benefit from it please feel free to share. Thanks again!
Buy the writer a drink
If you found this to be helpful, encouraging or if you just feel like it.