Letters to My Greatgrand Daughter: The Day I Stopped the Bully
The day I slapped a bully was probably the most exhilarating day of my life. It all happened so fast though, that part—I regret, because I find it difficult replaying the incident in slow-motion in my mind’s eye. No motion picture should ever end before the popcorn does.
The bully was stunned because I was- well, I am,
I was, am, (does it matter?) the meekest of souls. The coolest and most absurd part of this situation was that I wasn’t even defending myself, I was defending someone else. I had been bullied by this same bully earlier that day and apparently, I did nothing.
Of course, the bully came charging at me right after the stunning open-palmed mayweather-loving I dished. For sure, I was going to get beaten to pulp! Great, the tooth fairy would have to make her second trip that month.
At that very moment, the most phenomenal thing happened. All the people who had stood around previously and had cowered during the bullying, suddenly received some boldness! They stood in front of me, shoved the bully back and formed a shield around me. The bully, of course, walked off in shame and with a severely finger-streaked face.
Charly, defend the weak. One day, when you need it the most and expect it the least, help will come your way. Someone will shield you because you shielded someone else. Of course, this doesn’t mean, you should go around slapping bullies and poking people in the eyes, that’s particularly risky and the tooth fairy may very well quit visiting and just move in all together. Understand that bullying is the root all forms of injustice and you should never be an observer.
Bullying occurs as a result of a power differential in the situation. The bully seems more powerful because he may be bigger, richer, higher in hierarchy, more knowledgeable—whatever he thinks he is— the trick is to strip the power by changing your perspective about him. He really isn’t that big, or that important. In fact, bullies only do it because they are deficient in love, security and kindness. Once you see them in that light, the emotion of fear is quickly replaced by compassion. Well, kinda. Someone should have told me this before I slapped the bully, right? Hehe.
If given another chance, would I do things differently? Probably not. Although, I might spin around on my heel, swing my arm a little wider, let my hand hang for a bit, wriggle my fingers theatrically before the slap eventually connects- you know, just to make sure the movie doesn’t end before the popcorn.
Great Gran x
PS: Beating up bullies doesn't stop bullying altogether. The bullies tend to find other victims or retaliate on a grander scale. The solution to bullying is to educate bullies about the value of kindness. This of course isn't practical on the play ground, office or in cyber-space (as in cyber bullying) but is the responsibility of the school, governing body, social media platform or at least, a person who is able to influence the bully and stir him in the right direction.
What are your thoughts? Is it worth educating bullies on kindness? Ever been bullied? Did you fight back? Have you ever been cyber-bullied? What do you think is the best solution to this? Would love to hear what you think!
October is National Bully Prevention month (in the US)