PROMPT WORD: PATH
Tank Scrivens (aka Peter) was a ferocious bully throughout his school years but only came to terms with the human destruction he’d left in his wake when he became a dad, at age 29, to a frail, slightly built, son.
Tank was already six-feet tall, sported ‘fullback’ shoulders, and had a burgeoning five o’clock shadow when he was in 6th grade, and he wielded those attributes in a reign of terror from there on.
Once Peter recognized that his son may one day be ‘fodder’ for bullying with such a puny stature and a clear gentler nature, he regretted every swirly, wedgie, and cruel insult, he had imposed on his victims and felt terrible guilt about what the long-term effects may have been because he dearly loved his son and felt weak contemplating any of those things happening to him.
Peter Scrivens decided that he must make his past ‘right’, so he took a leave of absence from work spending weeks seeking to identify the best methods to protect his growing boy from other misguided, angry, boys, as well as, hoping to spare would-be bullies from the burden of guilt they’d one day suffer from taking such a path.
Tank Scrivens relived as many atrocious episodes as he could recall and came to a surprising conclusion; the boys he had ‘chosen’ to victimize all shared the same subtle traits which had nothing, at all, to do with their size, so he carefully listed the most prominent ones as follows: slumped posture, easy to separate from any group, wouldn’t look him in the eyes, were hesitant in their gait, and never, ever, raised their voices.
With that revelation in mind, Peter Scrivens got to work making sure that his son would not embrace any of those ‘tells’-also including the wisdom of “safety in numbers” and gamesmanship- as he simultaneously began writing a self-help book for other dads entitled, Bullies Are Made but Their Victims are Chosen: “In this world, there will always be bullies so teach your kids how to avoid being their victims.“-his book would become a best seller, not only as a deterrent to bullying, but as a guide used as an artful approach to asserting oneself in job interviews and the competitive job market.
23 thoughts on “Six Sentence Story- Victims are Chosen”
It doesn’t get more to the point than this Six of yours,Susan.
Honestly, what you have infused in your story should be taught and discussed in post graduate courses (trust me when I say that the majority of them are full of people with a dozen PhD,Msc etc after their names but what they are “teaching” is a copy paste from the relative bibliography- and I’ve completed a few, last one being exactly about what you are talking).
Most of all, how difficult is it as a parent to balance the respect for your child’s nature with “arming” him or her with deterrents of such encounters?
Parenting is most definitely a gauntlet of emotion.
Those who are primarily “teaching” our kids are apologists for victimhood. And our culture, reveres it!
The saying that defines the overall tone I wanted to set is, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”.
Our current culture (according to some fruity academics) foolishly believes that ‘fights’ can be eliminated.
Arming our kids with skills to avoid and reduce their battles, is a realist common sense approach. Thanks so much for your comment!
Yes…it is possible to empower kids without disturbing their sense fair play.
I remember a dear teacher (academic) who said to me once: For every Bully out there , there is an instance of “us older and wiser” not listening/approaching said person when we should.
She was the only one with that thesis…
The rest…as you described them.
I agree with every drop of ink of your reply.
Great piece, Susan, (although my eyes are still watering at the mention of wedgies).
LOL! Thank-you, Doug. I’m so glad that you survived in spite of those ‘flashbacks’.
and, (were I in a position to mentor a child (which I am not)) conveying to the young the value in developing the capacity to appreciate the world as the other person is experiencing it. (slightly different alternate verbs so very important).
of course, while very ‘on the money’ for simple social aggression, there remains the worm in the Apple, the gift from the god of patriarchy so long ago.
(Maybe adding a chapter to your book on the story of Adam’s first wife? Might help members of a certain half-of-the-child-demographic.)
Thank-you, Clark! Your comment has brought many of my own thoughts into focus.
Where to begin?
Children are emotionally underdeveloped and unequipped to fully grasp philosophical and ethical formulae. Your “put yourself in his place” lesson should not be overlooked but will take years for a child to understand. This is why our parents’ “because I said so” directive still remains a sound tool in the “parenting kit” of those with common sense and incidentally why the oft overheard “that’s not very nice” command to dogs also falls on deaf ears.
The bubble of self-centered, present tense, existence is real. Therefore, the most astute parent ‘arms’ his or her child with skills that they know will empower them until they grasp the world in a broader view. We teach the ABCs to prepare them to read (when ready) in the same way.
Your excellent lesson can be taught gradually by skillfully drawing their attention away from themselves often, but many lessons come before.
It also occurred to me that what I have explained ensures that bullies will never go away. When (as in my story) a child becomes a bully, he (or she… “the female of the species is more deadly than the male”) dwells in the self-centered and self-gratifying realm, the weight of his actions does not occur to him until later.
When we teach kids not to talk to strangers or dogs to “stay”, most of us know better than to add a lengthy explanation.
In conclusion, my years (44+) spent observing what makes kids ‘tick’ has taught me to meet kids ‘where they live’ not where I want to move them. 😉
One more thought, we see the disaster of teaching theories, in place of skills, to children playing out in our public education right now.
To adult bullies, my response never changes. I tell them to GROW UP!
Nothing like becoming a father to see things from a new perspective, perhaps even repent, and in the case of Peter become a best selling author in the process. Well told story!
I’m delighted that you liked it, Frank!
Good conversation going on, Susan. Your Six brings to light something that has touched many of us in some way or another. “Arming” our children to combat one of the persistent nasty sides of human nature is a conversation, sadly, happening more frequently than not these days.
Much appreciated! Kids are my thang. 😉
What fascinating insight and a well written story!
Thank-you so much! Such praise is humbling. 💜
At least something good came from his bullying ways. An excellent six Susan.
I’m a firm individualist and try to create tales that display how much power each of us have to ‘make a difference’. Thank-you, Keith.
A good circle story, Susan. And a most interesting take on teaching children how to defend against bullies. Very much to the point.
An eternal and, probably, insoluble problem.
Self-confidence is a bully deterrent, and there are many ways to learn/teach that.
Self-confidence does not result from constant ‘winning’ and praise. I’m afraid modern society confuses it with hubris which plays a part in creating bullies. A vicious cycle these days.
There must have been a seed planted in Tank, in early years, that his enlightenment grew out of love for his child, and was informed by observation and empowering action. Not all would take care to actually make things better.
I love this Six!
The story of redemption is ancient. There’s always hope. Thank-you!
I guess this is one of the few stories where I’m happy that the bully gets a happy ending.
Bullies are just misguided people, so anything is possible. We all really want happy endings. Thanks!