Parents, a child's first teacher, can end bullying.

He has to be on Facebook, right?  I mean, everybody is nowadays.  Sure enough, there he was...Bruce R.  He was a constant tormentor of mine growing up.  I wanted to see what he looked like today.  I also gave thought to contacting him.  Asking him, with the wisdom of maturity, does he regret making my life miserable growing up.  

Then I read his latest post, which happened to be from 2 years ago.  It was directed towards his daughter and how he wished he would have been a better father but prison and alcoholism had done a number on his life.   On second thought, maybe he's gone through enough himself and maybe karma had in fact shown up and served up justice for me.  

Looking back, I can see myself walking down the hall...dazed.....and sore. I had just come from another altercation. One that i didn't chose nor could I avoid. Someone just got it into his head that he didn't like me and was going to make sure I knew that by attacking me. My fingers felt sore, one in particular. I looked down and it was. My ring finger on my left hand had from the middle bone up seperated from the rest of my finger. Without thinking i just snapped it back into place. My life in school was a barrage of insults, shoves, fights, kick me signs, all that seemed to never end. All because I was tall, skinny, and what seems to be the biggest sin of all.....quiet.

Grownups see someone they don't understand and can't categorize and label that person.  You're either my kind of people or your one of "them", whoever them is.  Young people go a step further and try to harm you - for fun.   My mother had to force me to go to school.  I can close my eyes and see myself screaming and pounding my feet in the car that I couldn't go back there.  I can hear those screams in my head even today.   If I could I'd apologize to my Mom for making the problem worse.  But at the time, fear absolutely had me in it's grasp.  I feared what or who was around the corner.  I feared walking down the hall towards a group of kids.  All it would take would be one to set them off.  Then i'd be in for it.  The teachers were nonexistant.  To them, you were a source of their problems.  I can still remember being picked on, and picked on, until finally I had to defend myself and when a teacher showed up all he could say was "Who with now?".  Nice.  Thanks for the support.  

I am now 49 years old and I'd be lying if I said my life wasn't shaped by those events. My heart cries for these kids. But if I could address my tormentors today, I would walk right by them and talk to their parents. It's parents that condone this behavior. Its parents that want "their" child to advance and "toughen up" at the expense of some poor non-athletic kid. It's parents that can change this behavior. Kids are a mirror of how their parents act. Change parents and you change the world.  Teach kids to respect those that are different and you just may end up one day making school safe again for everybody.

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