Simply ‘not going there’

We have been talking about anti-bullying campaigns in schools for years in an effort to keep our children safe.
The challenge becomes greater as technology grows and our apparent freedom to post comments anonymously seems to know no bound. We think we bear no responsibility for our words, for our actions, for our bad behaviour.
Bullying isn’t just a burden for children; bullies are parasites that burrow deep in society and exists at all levels, be it the workplace, the home, the lineup to merge on to a busy highway—and they are destructive.
Many of us accept our position on the food chain as if we are powerless to change it.
Those of us who are bullied have a responsibility to be part of the solution. I watched a man in a store the other day throw his purchases at the sales clerk when she told him the Interac machines were down.
She was horrified, upset, as were the rest of us who witnessed this man’s boorish behaviour, but we let him leave the store without comment, without reaction. Not my problem, right? Wrong.
Domestic violence was on the front page some time ago, thanks to the elevator surveillance footage in the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City capturing the knock-out punch by Ray Rice to his fiancée.
The conversation about domestic violence and abuse took a front-row seat for a second or two.
These individuals whom we hold in such high regard, and who are paid ridiculous sums of money for throwing a ball better than the rest of us, are just as flawed as you and I. The only difference: they are seldom held accountable for their actions.
The leagues’ management gives lip service to the atrocities when the public becomes aware, but not before—and certainly not on their own initiative. The message is a clear one: bullying is okay.
Something is terribly “rotten in Denmark” (to borrow a line from Will Shakespeare) but maybe the tide is turning or shifting, though it seems to be shifting at an extremely slow pace. The business of bullying.
I remember when I was breeding Welsh ponies, a pecking order was clearly established in the paddock, with one pony at the top. She merely put her ears back and every other pony moved off to give the bully space at the water trough.
When I removed said pony from the mix, another eagerly took her place. I pleaded with the pony at the bottom to fight back, to use her ears to tell the others she wasn’t moving; that she wasn’t going to be chased off.
I take a note from my friend, Jackson. Jackson is 10 and he wears glasses, and he is thoughtful and has an interesting perspective on life. His thoughts are worth listening to and I know that Jackson is going to change this world.
Jackson sometimes is a target at school; he has to bear the burden of being bullied on a fairly regular basis. But he recently took action.
A boy appeared at his house, knocked on the door, and asked to speak to Jackson. The boy told Jackson that he was going to beat him up the next day at school and Jackson should be prepared.
Jackson’s reaction was perfect. “No thanks, buddy,” he said. “Not going there.” And Jackson turned and walked away, leaving the boy with nothing.
The next time someone tries to bully me, I’m going to channel Jackson. I’ll raise my hand and hold it up high in front of me.
“Not today,” I’ll say. “Not any day.”
wendistewart@live.ca

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