When Lorelei was very little, she’d get mad at her big brothers and yell, “Shub up! Beeg bully!” With four older siblings, it’s not surprising she’d heard the phrase “shut up,” but I’m not sure how she already knew what a bully was: someone bigger, stronger, more powerful, higher in the pecking order, who uses their position to pick on someone else.
Of course, older siblings tease younger ones. Lorelei was never subjected to the systematic bullying that devastates so many childhoods. My own experience with bullying took place on the school bus.
I was an extremely precocious child, and in my earliest memories of riding the bus, when I was a first grader, the big kids (8th graders who appear as adults in my memory) made a big fuss over me, calling me to the back of the bus and having me read passages from their science books aloud.
But what was cute one year was bullying fodder a few years later. I think I was in the third grade when some of the middle school girls on the bus began picking on me. I remember some nasty name calling, and once being smacked. I remember some of the girls who were involved (kids from good families whose parents would probably have been shocked by their behavior), and not much else, except dreading the bus ride home. I told my mother everything, and I’m sure she talked to the principal, and I think I ended up not riding the bus for awhile. I know that I was lucky: people listened, and eventually the bullying stopped.
I never bullied anyone myself (except my little sister, as she loves to remind me), but I often regret that I didn’t try harder to befriend the kids in almost every class who were bullied. I do remember trying to talk to some of them, and in my memory they often repelled friendly overtures. Perhaps they distrusted me, or maybe that was part of their self-defense mechanism, or maybe it was their own difficulties with social interaction that made them bully magnets. I don’t know.
As parents, we are proud of our children for taking a stance against the bullying of some of their classmates. Our kids aren’t perfect, but they are kind. I wrote here about how William dealt with a boy who was bullying (or perhaps constantly annoying) him.
While my sister and I both laugh at her stories of how I picked on her, but I also feel bad. And I think sometimes about the girls who bullied me. Because I went to a small Catholic school, and still live in the town where I grew up, I don’t have to wonder what happened to them–they are still around. And they grew up to be nice people. Do they even remember the incidents on the bus? Was it was the big deal to them that it was to me, or was it just an amusement and quickly forgotten? Do they ever think about it when they teach their own kids how to treat others?
Being bullied led me to be kinder to others and to teach my kids to do the same. I hope that the reformed bullies from my past DO remember and model kindness for their kids.
For more entries in #1000Speak: Building from Bullying, click here.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by life? Have you ever had one of those days–or weeks, or months–where you just couldn’t get on top of everything you needed to do? Have you ever felt like you were drowning, or being crushed by the weight of your responsiblities?
Of course you have. That’s modern life, isn’t it?
I’m having one of those weeks, and since this is my space, I get to vent about it here. Will it help, or should I spend this time doing the work instead of writing about it? I’m going with writing about it. 🙂
Where to begin . . . a few weeks ago I thought I would try to get organized by making lists of “the next right thing” to do in various areas of my life. Only what do you do when your “next right things” occupy about 15 pages of a yellow legal pad?
I’ve had Emily calling me multiple times each day to remind me that the FAFSA was due today. But to do the FAFSA I had to at least take a stab at the taxes. We are self-employed and I’m trying to do this myself with the help of H & R Block At Home. Not easy. Not fun. The records all burned in the fire. I guess that’s a plus if they audit us.
Two days this week were completely consumed by a client matter I had to help with. Spent most of yesterday going to court with John. Most of the day before that writing pleadings and making copies. I have a stack of time to enter that’s about a foot high. A stack of new files to set up. A two-foot high stack of files to write closing letters on. At least two cases to bill. To-dos that I have fallen behind on.
Two out of three cars were in the shop this week. The cat had to be spayed. William’s birthday is coming up. Income fluctuates when you are self-employed, and things are tight right now.
The house is a disaster area. After doing so well for so long at keeping it neat, I’ve really let it go the past couple of weeks. There’s just not time for more than cooking, dishes, laundry, and the occasional sweeping right now.
John had blood work done last week. It came back positive for diabetes. I haven’t even had time to process this. They just want him to take more pills. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are other things he could or should do as well–like change his diet. I now need to become a diabetes expert. I’ll pencil that in for this weekend maybe.
I have some ungodly amount of grants I am supposed to be preparing proposals for this month.
I am trying to “grow” my blog which really requires attention to social media. I have about 20 windows on three browsers open at all times so I can keep up (or try) with that, plus all my work stuff. I’m supposed to blog every day during Lent and I missed two days this week because I had to be gone during my morning blogging time.
I don’t have time to clean the house, order gifts, make a cake, or plan a party, so poor William has to wait until after his birthday to celebrate it.
I’m worrying about William. He needs to go to school next year. He has some specific learning issues I want to see about having him tested for. I need to continue investigating schools for him. I’ve been trying to give him some assessment tests this week, and he is very resistant to that. I need to make appointments to visit some of the schools. I need to make calls. I did buy him shoes last night, so I can cross that off his “right things” list.
I’m worrying about Jake, who thinks he’s grown up but has a few important things he needs to do before he REALLY is, like graduate from high school, learn to drive. and get a job.
I’m spending hours each day in my car. Every time I have to leave the house it fractures my concentration and makes it difficult to get back to work.
It seems to be more or less springtime now and thank God I at least have a window. What I’d really like to do is go dig a garden.
There are 1082 messages in my email inbox.
You know, this is not nearly all of it. Not nearly. But I am going to stop because it’s actually not helping. I think I’d better just keep plowing through it instead of trying to analyze it.
Thank God I at least gave up Farmville for Lent.