April 03, 2011

Bullying—not a new problem

  Morris is 10 years old and in the fourth grade. One day he comes home crying but refuses to talk over his problem with his mother. Later that evening when daddy comes home the boy runs up, hugs his daddy's legs and cries out in unintelligible words.
  Dad takes the boy into the bedroom so they can talk in private. The problem is—bottom line—bullying! Young Morris is the victim of a schoolyard bully.
  Apparently this has been going on for a week. The bully catches Morris walking home from school, teasing him and punching him at will. "What can I do?" asks Morris, tearfully.
  Dad looks Morris square in the eyes saying, "Here's what you do! The next time he walks up to you, don't wait for him to hit you. Haul off and punch him in the nose as hard as you can."
  Young Morris seems unsure of himself, but Dad reassures him, "You can do it. Don't wait until he hits you. Sock him first—square on the nose, as hard as you can."
  The next day Dad comes home from work to be greeted by a joyful Morris. "Daddy, I did it. Just like you said, right on the nose—and he cried and his nose started bleeding and he ran away."
  It appears the problem may be solved. Several days go by until Dad gets a call from the principal's office asking for a conference.
  Turns out the former bully is now the victim of a new bully, young Morris, who is misusing his new-found power against his former nemesis.
  It's difficult to teach a 10 year old to use restraint with recently discovered power, but Dad tries. A brief lecture seems acceptable and young Morris stops with the fisticuffs.
  But the problem continues elsewhere, every day in many schools. Sometimes the bullying is physical and sometimes it's psychological. The latter seems to be the domain of the girls. The solution will have to come from the home and at an early age.

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