A bully’s perspective…

Today on the blog, a quick story from my buddy Kurtis:

When I was in 6th grade, I thought I was hot shit.  I was one of the “cool kids” and there were 3 guys who were our nemeses, the “skater kids”.  The skater kids would always be mean to us.  Acting like they were the best.  Making snide comments at recess.  Messing with our games of 4 square. etc.

One day, we were in the middle of class and the leader of the skater kids…. Let’s call him “Will”….. gets called on to answer a question.  He gets the question wrong and I proceed to call out from the peanut gallery “Wow, you were WAYYYY off”.  Everyone in the room started laughing.  

I saw it as everyone laughing at my funny joke.  Will saw it as everyone laughing at him. 

Will got up, walked across the classroom, and punched me.  

Everyone stopped laughing.

My blood boiled, I stood up, got in his face and screamed at him “F*** you!”.  I was sick of putting up with their crap and was finally standing up to them on behalf of my peers and myself.  I felt justified in my response since I was representing “good” conquering “evil”. 

Our teacher jumped in and sent us to the principal’s office.

Will and I sat next to each other in the office as we awaited our punishment.  I was still fuming at the injustice of me getting punished because some something dumb Will did.  I mean… he punched me.  Plus, he was just a bad kid.  Come on!

Just then, Will started crying.  Full on crying.  Right in front of me.  After a couple minutes, I couldn’t help but ask “Why are you so upset?  I thought you liked breaking the rules”

Will went on to tell me that his parents were going to come down on him HARD over this.  That life at home wasn’t great, his family didn’t have a lot of money, the punishment from his parents would be severe, and his siblings would likely beat the crap out of him.

I didn’t know what to say.  I was shocked.  Just put my hand on his shoulder and seconds later he was called into the principal’s office.

Both of us got in trouble.  Neither of us won.  He and I never spoke of this again.

I was too young to analyze the situation then, but looking back I realize that, to Will,…. I was the bad guy.  Him punching me was him taking action against the bully at school since he couldn’t take any action against the bullies at home.  I had never considered things from his point of view.

These days, when I have a hard time empathizing with someone, I try to remember this story and take away something positive from this sad experience.

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Pretty cool how things that happened 20+ years ago in school can still help us today as adults. Great story and lesson learned – cheers, Kurtis!

Happy Friday, all!
– Joel

This is me in middle school! I was a lover, not a fighter 🙂

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