Posts Tagged ‘bullies’

Teen Suicide

December 10, 2010


Would you give up the chance to…?

Make love, to the love of your life, for the first time (I seriously doubt that you’ve met this person yet.)

Be moved by a great song not yet written

Fall in love with the RIGHT person, at the RIGHT time

Have the thrill of driving your first car

Succeed and feel pride like you’ve never felt before

Deposit your first paycheck, or your biggest paycheck

Feel strong and powerful

Be moved to tears of joy at the sight of your newborn child

Taste a new flavor of ice cream that literally competes with an orgasm

Feel the tingle when you first touch someone’s hand that you’ve fallen in love with (give yourself the chance to meet that person)

Have someone thank you for simply being there for them

Walk down the aisle on your wedding day

Watch the love of your life walk down the aisle to meet you on your wedding day

See someone who use to treat you like shit, or simply ignored you, suddenly want to be your friend because you’re stronger, richer, smarter, or better off than they are

Meet the person who will change your life

Live on your own for the first time

Swim with dolphins, rescue a stranger, snorkel over a barrier reef, or be introduced to a new hobby that will bring you so much pleasure

The most important things in your life don’t happen in your youth.  The best times of your life aren’t your teenage years.   That’s the greatest tragedy when a young person commits suicide.  They aren’t escaping pain (that’s already happened), they’re giving up their future, and that future is full of surprises.  Yes, adults go through tough times, but they have enough experience to realize that things NEVER stay the same. 

The bully seems so strong in his youth, but the bullied always end up the strongest because they’ve lived through challenge.  The bully loses his strength with age, the bullied gain their strength with their wisdom.  Don’t give up the chance to realize this.

Live for all the perfect days in your future.  There may be many, there may be few, but every one of them is worth living for. 

Suicide is never painless.


The kid you make fun of; The bully you’re afraid of; The outsider

May 21, 2009

One kid sits in the back of the room. He has no friends. He gets really angry for no reason at all. In the playground he avoids people or if that doesn’t happen he gets into a fight. If the teacher tells him to do something he’s starts cussing and pushes down his desk. He smells bad. No one tries to play with him. No one wants to sit next to him. His peers make fun of him behind his back, and are afraid of him too; he’s the biggest bully they’ve ever come in contact with. He’s mean, angry, and totally alone. He’s in third grade. He’s also the one student I will remember and admire more than any other.

I was volunteering at my child’s elementary school. Her teacher was not able to handle the classroom and I volunteered to help by taking the worst behaved kids out of the classroom and working one on one with them. One child I was not willing to take out was the one I just mentioned, he was way beyond anything I wanted to deal with; shoot, I was afraid of him. Then, one day I was working with the entire class, and noticed the kid (I’ll call him Jake) working really hard at the assigned task. It was a writing assignment and I stood behind him and watched for a few minutes. I was amazed. He was writing at a level way beyond 3rd grade. I stopped him and asked if he would step outside with me. When we got outside, I asked if he would want to come and work with me sometimes and he seemed eager to do so.

We started working together the following week. The two of us went to the library to work the first day I took him out of the classroom. We were working on a writing assignment and things were going great. I was so suprised at how much I liked working with this mean little kid. Then suddenly, he stood up for no apparent reason. He didn’t leave, he simply stood up at the table and continued to write. After just a few seconds, I smelled something foul and realized that he’d had an accident. I was stunned. This was a third grader! What would cause this to happen and why was he acting as if nothing had occurred? I had no clue what to do but decided to act as if nothing was wrong. We continued for several more minutes, with Jake standing the entire time. I talked to his teacher after we got back to the classroom, and she wouldn’t tell me anything that would explain his behavior, so I went to the principal and asked what was going on. The principal was actually very upset that I was allowed to work with Jake at all. She explained that I would need to get his guardian’s permission to work with him again. That evening, Jake’s guardian called me at home.

I was not prepared for what she had to tell me. Jake’s father began sexually molesting him when he was an infant. This continued until he was three years old. The abuse left him with severe physical problems that could not be corrected. The psychological scars were just as extreme if not worse. You see, Jake’s father had taught him that when he let someone else take control, really bad, horribly painful things happened. Jake had had years to learn this. As an infant, he had no resources to fight back with. As he got older though, he grew stronger and he learned that he could fight back. Fighting back was his way of making sure that no one else was ever able to control him like his father had. Those bad things were not going to happen again to little Jake. No one was ever going to control him again. The little boy who had no friends, who got into trouble everyday, who was laughed at and teased, who scared his peers and teacher alike, was the strongest little boy I had ever met! He had survived where so many other would not have. He had learned to live with things that his peers couldn’t even imagine at that age. He was amazing. He was bright, he was tough, he was cute, and he will be in my heart for the rest of my life. He was also the scariest bully most third graders will ever meet.

So, the next time you find yourself in the company of someone who is different than you. Maybe he smells funny, maybe he’s overweight,he’s a mean bully, or a strange loner. Think about Jake before you start passing judgment and/or making fun of him. You don’t know what his life has been like, or what he has had to go through to make him who he is. You don’t have to like him. You may even need to avoid him. But, if you can begin to understand him you will be able to see him in a completely different way. You don’t know who you would have become if his life had been yours.

Road Runner

May 12, 2009

In an earlier blog I mentioned that the cartoon Road Runner was like real life.  It’s true in more ways than one!

Let’s take the Road Runner himself.  He’s just running down the road, pecking at small things to eat.  He’s taking care of himself, not bothering anything or anybody except of course a few bugs.  Unless  he’s just picking up seeds which would mean he really isn’t bothering anyone.  Ok, he’s smiling, happy, going along his merry way, but just around the corner is trouble!  The Coyote is waiting with an elaborate plan to stop the poor Road Runner in it’s tracks.  Usually this involves some type of major catastrophe.  The Road Runner rounds the corner, see the danger, and goes into fighting mode.  Oh wait, that’s not right!  What the Road Runner does is out smart the coyote with clever actions.  The only character to “get it”, for about the millionth time, is the coyote.  The Road Runner continues on his merry way, and the coyote get’s smashed by his own mean scheme.

Now, let’s look at the coyote.  He’s been raised to hunt in order to survive.  He’s obviously learned that not killing his prey means he will starve.  (Have you ever noticed how skinny that poor coyote is?)  He has been taught to be “mean” by both example and necessity.  All this poor, skinny coyote can do is keep going after the Road Runner.  (Apparently there are no more animals within hundreds of miles.)  Is the coyote really bad?  Does he have a choice in the actions he takes?

Finally, my real life analogy.  The Road Runner is the average person.  He’s been raised to take care of himself and not bother anyone else.  Success makes him happy.  He’s also very clever.  He knows that fighting with the coyote would be a waste of time and he’d probably end up getting hurt.  Instead of fighting, the Road Runner outsmarts him, goes around him, or avoids him completely.  In turn, the Road Runner walks/runs away from the encounter with a smile of his face, and the coyote gets it!  Just like the Road Runner, the average nice, clever person avoids the mean guy/bully.  He uses his brain to win in an encounter.  The “good” guy wins, and the “bully” fails.

Now for the bully/mean guy.  This is the person who has been taught that he’s not successful, or in control, unless he’s bigger and badder (I know it’s not a word but it works!)  than others.  He’s learned these lessons at a very young age.  He knows that if he doesn’t kill and eat something, he’ll hurt horribly.  Most kids who grow up to be bullies are taught the same thing.  Maybe they’ve been physically abused and know that letting anyone else be in control can hurt.  They’ve been made to feel weak and miserable unless they’re making someone else hurt.

The lesson here is that the best way to beat a bully is to not let him be in control.  You can do this by ignoring him, outsmarting him, or avoiding him.  If you fight back you will almost always lose.  Plus, that’s what he wants.  He wants to know that he’s gotten to you.  If you get angry or let him hurt you, he’s won.  On the other hand, the bully has been created.  It may not be who he really is.  Instead it’s what he’s been taught in one way or another.  Understanding that will make it easier to not be bullied.  It’s hard to be hurt by someone you pity,  and a bully is pathetic.  He can’t make himself happy, instead he counts on others to make him happy and that’s NOT your job.  Counting on others to make you happy and feel good about yourself, is bound to fail.  That’s why most bullies grow out of it.  You see, the only person you can count on to make you happy is you.


April 27, 2009

Being in control, feeling strong, being powerful, are all good things to be.  Most people develop these things by accomplishing something, or reaching a goal.  The Bully goes about it in a different way.  They feel power, control, and strength by hurting other people.  If they can control someone else’s emotions, they feel powerful.  I believe that it’s one of the only times they feel good about themselves.  This isn’t something to feel proud of, it’s something to pity.  The bully is too weak to feel good all on their own.  Teens and pre-teens are too young to really understand this.  They have so many insecurities due to their age alone, that it’s easy for the bully to exert control.  The typical teen’s reaction is just what the bully needs for it to be.  They may feel shame, embarrassment, anger, or pain.  They may even believe that they are being bullied because of something they did.  It’s hard for them to separate themselves from what happens around them.  Unfortunately, this feeds right into the bully’s needs and actually encourages the bully to continue the behavior.

The only way to stop the cycle is for the bully to no longer get what he or she wants out of the confrontation.  The bullied kid has to surprise the bully in one of several ways.  They might laugh at the taunt; ignore the bully; or even come back with something that turns the table on the bully.  Any of the above reactions would be a show of a lot more power than the bully has. 

I talked to two of my classes today about this since it’s been so prevalent in the news lately.  We discussed the two young boys who committed suicide over bullying.  Most of the students believe that the kids responsible for these suicides probably feel little or no remorse for their actions.  My students also surprised me when I asked what they thought should be the consequences for bullying.  A huge percentage of them thought that they (the bully) should be sent to another school where military type control is enforced.  Maybe they’re right.