There is a subject that I have considered discussing that kind of comes and goes depending upon our news cycles. That subject is bullying. I like most all people have been affected by it, but probably less than most because I was always large for my age, stronger than average, quicker than average, and athletic. I just wasn’t the type that the average bully chose to pick on. As a young kid, if I was going to be picked on, it was generally by someone quite a lot older and bigger than I. And really, they didn’t gain much from it because what does a bully gain by picking on a small kid? Let’s face it, that doesn’t do much to grow some one’s reputation.
The first occasion I remember of being bullied was at a small country church that was having a revival. My family and I went to an evening meeting. I was about nine years old. After church, we small children were running around the building chasing one another and playing. Back then, there were some of the older boys (young men) who would stand behind the building and smoke. One of the times as I circled the building, one of the boys, probably about 18 years old, grabbed me and bent me over a wooden frame (I actually thought he was going to break my back) and basically began threatening me and told me to quit coming back there. Surprisingly, I never told anyone about it.
The second occasion, was on a school bus. I was twelve, the bully was a senior in high school. I am sure he felt very tough! And really, what bullying I was affected by was almost always by kids who were three or four years older and already physically matured.
Other children around me who were perhaps considered to be smaller, fatter, skinnier, clumsier, or more nerdy, were not always as lucky. Whether watching some of them being bullied or being bullied myself, I acquired a major dislike for bullies. In fact, if I hadn’t been brought up being taught against violence, it would have been easy for me to become a hillbilly who went around laying some serious head thumping on those who practiced it. Of course that would have made me no better than they! Even knowing that, if I got angry, I still sometimes reacted.
In my freshman year, during the lunch hour, I came into a classroom to drop off my books. When I walked in, two bullies had a tiny little kid cornered and were threatening him. The little kid might have been 5’2” and weighed ninety pounds. The bullies were both 6’ with one weighing about two hundred pounds and the other one weighing about one hundred forty five pounds. They were really brave! I was 6’ tall and weighed about one hundred fifty five pounds. Without thinking very much, (Hmm! that might be a hillbilly failing) I got in their face and told them that they should try picking on someone their own size! I then finished by saying that I probably fit the bill. That backed them both down and they never even offered to try to give me any trouble. Being a bully doesn’t necessarily mean they are brave! The thing was, I probably did them a favor. The little kid had older twin brothers that were bigger than us and various other brothers who were older and even larger than they.
Also, still during my freshman year, and during the lunch hour, two large senior football players, put on a show of of roughing up and taking a small awkward freshman and pushing him back and forth like a ping pong ball. I always remember the look on his face and have regretted not trying to do something about that. I would probably have gotten thumped but maybe if I had told them to stop, everyone else that hated it might have spoken up also. I don’t know, but I do know that it wasn’t right.
By my senior year, there just wasn’t much of anyone who would risk their tough reputation by bothering me. However, on the second day of school, I was sitting at a desk waiting for class to start, when a bully with the tough boy reputation entered the room. He had his little group of toady followers, you know the group, the ones that go yeah, yeah Butch, yeah Butch, you are really cool and tough, Butch! So nice of you to let us be your toady followers Butch! Yeah Butch, I think he looked at you wrong and disrespected you! Are you going to whip him now Butch? Huh? Huh Butch?
Anyway he sent one of his followers over to tell me that I was in his chair, (none had been assigned). I shouldn’t have, but the flesh was weak, I looked at this toad, smiled politely and said, “Well you know what, I don’t particularly care where I sit, but I have this big pile of books sitting here. I tell you what, tell your big bully friend that if he wants to come over and move my books to another desk, I’ll let him have this one." The look on the toad’s face was priceless! He just couldn’t believe that I had dishonored and shown no fear of his cool, bully, hero! By the way, his cool, bully hero never said a word to me and I continued to sit there.
I think we have all heard some of the psycho babble about people becoming bullies because of their home life, being bullied at home, etc. Perhaps that is partially true but I have known some who came from great families where none of the rest of them were that way. From what I have seen, most of the bullying has come from people whose IQ was surpassed by ----- almost everything! Yup, ignorance again!
A wise man, in having a talk with his son, after his being bullied, told him that one day he would be bigger than the bully. That came true and this is not an unusual occurrence! I became larger than almost all the people who ever tried to bully me. The little 5’2” kid that I rescued grew to be 6’6”. He became much larger and meaner than the two boys who were trying to bully him. Due to these types of occurrences, bullies, even with their low IQs, come to realize that their bullying days are over. When they don’t, bad things usually come --- things such as bad beatings, death, prison, etc. I wouldn’t have to try very hard to give you examples. Of course one of the best ones would be of the bully that wanted my desk. He wound up shooting his toe off, on purpose, to keep from being drafted by the military. Yep! High IQs and bravery, I tell ya! By the way, that sounds better if you put a southern drawl to it. ----- Just sayin'!
From the Hillbilly’s Corner!
As a junior high school teacher, I see a lot of bullying get started. I also see a lot of kids step in to help stop it. Those are the kids who give me hope. Have you taught your kids what to do when they see bullying happen?