I’m taken back to my school days after reading a post about bullies.
I know there are a host of different types out there, but I’m guessing the habit of those who ate perpetuating it start at a young age, and that’s in school.
I got through school by perseverance and luck. I say luck because at the very height of that bullying it could have been a lot worse than a bloody nose and minor fractures.
Back then I had no idea why they picked on me other than I was small and frail looking, so I guess I was someone who would not be able to defend themselves.
It was another realisation that others in my grade were never picked on, but it didn’t sink in that they were bigger and could, and possibly did, fight back.
Now, with the benefit of time and reading, I know or understand the motivation behind it, that perhaps they didn’t know any better because of what had happened at home. After all, what we see there, every day, is the sum of our first experiences in life, and therefore consider that as the norm.
But here’s the oddity that I only began to understand when I had children of my own. My father was a bully, he beat my mother, and us frequently, and for no reason at all.
It wasn’t until much later when I found letters he had written to my mother before they were married, that I got an insight into the psyche of the man.
He had been treated appallingly by his parents and most likely by his brothers, and spiralling out of that environment into a world war, if perhaps to escape what was happening in his life, it only got worse.
I suspect the bullying might have been a symptoms of everything that had happened at home, at war, and just having to cope with coming back to a world that was completely different to the one he left behind.
And as one might have expected, his children, as a result of seeing and being on the end of such treatment, might well have turned out the same.
But they didn’t.
It turns out we have a choice, to perpetuate the violence or understand that it is neither necessary or acceptable. Of course those options were not readily available or to be discerned unless there were outside factors.
I was lucky that the bullying in school did not have an influence, that it was not for long, and that relief from it was mostly due to moving schools, and states, before it had an effect.
At the new school there were a few borderline cases, but it was a school that didn’t tolerate disrespect in any form, and I learned that what I had suffered before was not the norm everywhere.
That change of scenery also had an effect on home life too, and now I understand that people forced to work in jobs they hate because of their circumstance quite often dictates how a victim might conduct their personal life.
We had always been in situations where necessity dictate circumstances, as bad as those could be, and its effect on a person’s mood, outlook, and behaviour.
My father finally had the job he wanted to have, with the freedoms that came with it, and we all benefited. It didn’t mean later that circumstances wouldn’t change for the worse, but it was long enough for me to realise what the motivation was behind his behaviour.
And that it would set the standard for the rest of my life, and although we had some very low lows, I knew that it was my own choices that led us there, and I had to accept responsibility for those choices, and not let them drive my behaviour.
There was no question at any time that I should take my anger out on anyone but myself, and fix the problem, which each time it happened, I did.
In the end, I like to think that my children learned from my mistakes, and that since they were never subjected to the horrors my father visited upon us, They did not visit them upon their children.
So the bottom line is, and I cannot see why this is so hard for governments and social progressives to grasp, that the problem needs to be attacked at the very root, and that is family life.
Yes, by all means, at a school level, tell children about the horrors of bullying, but it must be done in concert with their parents, because all too often those children have picked up their habits from home, and are almost past the point of no return.
And it can be done. I am a case in point.