…but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” – Michael J. Fox.
Lets talk about Bullying. If you can’t tell from my dashing good looks, muscled frame, and deep, sultry, almost golden roasted voice, I was the ‘victim’ of a good amount of bullying as a kid. The worst of it was taking a poop in fifth grade and having kids throw paper towels covered with piss and poop and spit, over the top of the stall. It was pretty horrible, especially because I dropped my lunch money in the toilet right after.
It was not a good day, and not a good time.
Lets talk about bullying, which is the hot new parental buzzword! Do you think ‘bullying’ has a purpose in the development of youths into well adjusted adults, or should kids be able to go to school without the fear of being harassed and picked on? Do you think bullying has ‘gotten worse’ or just changed forms from physical harassment to constant mental harassment over things like social media?
I dunno – I guess I’m old enough now where I can see both sides. Kids shouldn’t be miserable, but they also shouldn’t be so shielded from adversity that when they, say, get to college, and then the NFL, and a big tall angry player calls them names, that they run to their lawyer and start leaking out selected segments of text messages and voice-mails without the full context of the message, instead of talking to the player directly.
I think this whole thing went off the rails we stopped picking teams in Gym Class, to be honest. I’m not sure if it’s the same everywhere, but because of our discrimination policy way back in the day, the coach had to pick teams to avoid making the nonathletic kids feel stupid. That always sat strangely with me, because it wasn’t like the dumb kids got to take a different math test, ya know? You are what you are, and if you don’t like it, change it, or grin and bear it.
(jokes on them though – 8th grade, basketball, you try getting out of the way of a 6′ tall 250 pound motherfucker going up for a rebound.)
Still, I do look back on the ration of shit I took as a kid with a weird sort of…reverence. I think being bullied, or harrased, or whatever, is an important part of growing up – in essence showing you that sometimes people will NOT be nice to you, and that YOU need to make your choice as to fight back, ignore it, or tattle.
I chose to tattle and generally ignore that time, and while ‘bullying’ continued until like..9th grade, I was never miserable, it was just something that sucked about my day. Which is fine, I figured when I was an adult *lots* of things would suck about a given day, and I had might as well get used to it now. But, that’s *me*. I don’t have kids. I haven’t had my kids come home from school in tears because someone pushed them or beat them up, or whatever.
It just seems now that the folks that grew up with my generation have grown up and had kids, we’ve become so…eager to protect our kids, often times at the expense of their maturation. There’s value in “Life is tough, get a helmet”, if you ask me.
Every now and then I look at my hands and notice how soft they are compared to that of my parents and the people who’s hands I shake. Have I too, been coddled?
Actually I know I was. In fact, technically, if my school records are to be believed, I’m ‘retarded’. I didn’t know until I graduated from high school and went through all my records while fighting a terrible case of food poisoning and saw a great deal of information pertaining to my fine motor-skills, muscle development, and special classes I took as a kid.
Really, what’s worse, being harassed as a kid or having something like that held from you for over a decade for fear of….I’m not sure what, exactly.