Double Take Saturday Mix- The Hard Way

Our homophone sets this week are:

horse – animal
hoarse – lack of voice

and

stationery – pen, paper, envelope etc.
stationary – still, unmoving

At the Upstate Youth Outdoor Rehabilitation School, affectionately called UpYORS by the kids, Ben supervised troubled kids from the inner city. The school served as a way to remove these kids from street gang influences while training them to be more self-confident, and independent, by introducing them to rural self-sufficiency skills.
All of these kids had never, ever, seen a ‘real’ cow or horse so Ben was responsible for their basic education on “do’s and don’t’s” in those animals’ company.
The letterhead for the school stationery had a silhouette of a boy milking a cow and a girl riding a horse but before ANY of them reached that goal, they would need to learn ‘animal manners’ to prevent them from being kicked in the head or bitten in the thigh!
The school had recently been given a generous donation and had purchased life-sized, stationary, representations of every farm animal they’d encounter. Ben schooled the kids on how to approach, how to control, and how to calm the animals, as well as, their basic anatomy and body language.
The one rule he repeated until he was hoarse was to “NEVER approach a horse from behind without first alerting it to your presence.” . The onsite horses and cows had all passed a rigorous temperament screening but Ben knew ANY horse might kick if startled.
Through the years, Ben had had a few kids who rubbed him the wrong way but ALL had come around and had responded well to his trainings. The kids were not on their “home turf” so that ‘unsureness’ made them compliant.
This year was different!
A burly, brute of a kid, named Mack, made a joke of everything when he wasn’t ignoring instructions or bullying everyone. He’d obviously gotten into the trouble that brought him to the school from that attitude. As for his 6’4″ 250 lb presence and a full beard at 17 years old, that was the reason no one had ever bothered to push back either.
Ben had to admit some of his jokes were pretty funny, just the same. Mack sauntered up to ole Bessie the cow, on day two, and pumped her tail like a water pump complaining she must be empty. But, Mack was going to be trouble.
The duties were on a rotating basis on paper. By day 7, Ben was sick of that kid so he assigned Mack to clean and groom Diablo, their most spirited horse kept for those who became experienced riders.
When Mack sat down to supper that night, his attitude had miraculously changed! So had his appearance. Some folks just need to learn things the hard way.

See the source image

Double Take – Saturday Mix, 24 July 2021 | Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie (wordpress.com)

My Thoughts… My Sympathies

English: the picture consist of articles on bu...
English: the picture consist of articles on bullying, I obtained it from public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since this blog is primarily a journal of my thoughts, I’m exploring my internal philosopher again and you are invited to listen and comment.

I had an energized discussion yesterday (on Facebook) over my previous post. Bullying is an emotionally charged subject that brought many varying opinions and experiences to light. While considering what I learned yesterday, I kept returning to my own life experiences. I’ve been very blessed by having positive role models in my life.

 There were many times that “bad” things happened to me, though. My reaction to them, seems to me, the only power I had then and to this day. It is a power we all have.
First, I do not believe in a pre-written design to anyone’s life.

Second, I have not had “troubles” any greater than others,in fact, I’ve been fortunate and my troubles have been lesser than most, so far.

My questions remain the same:

Do any of a person’s troubles come from their own attitude? Does any of their good fortune come from their own attitude?

I’d like to believe it does, otherwise, why bother to try? We would be without any responsibility in the direction of our journey. People would be like balls in a pinball arcade game, subject to only outside forces.

When I see a family of underprivileged kids and witness some of them “do well” and others get hopelessly lost, I ask myself, was it only because the forces of luck favored the successful ones or was it, in part, their own doing?

 Success is defined, in this context, as leading lives of good citizenship, harming no one and pursuing happiness. We discussed that bullies often come from bad environments. Why don’t all kids from “bad environments” become bullies? My search for these answers is often mistaken as an insensitivity to the problem. I am looking for answers because I believe there are solutions to discover and we are capable of affecting changes. I also believe we (people) can only control our own actions and reactions in any situation. Sorry, making laws, rules, regulations don’t cure problems…murders are illegal, ya know.

Yes, I do have sympathy for bullies, as well as, victims of bullies. Once I state that bullies are created not born (sociopaths excluded), don’t they deserve my sympathy? I don’t understand why my sympathy for the abuser takes away from my wishes to protect the victims?

There is an extraordinary effort to reduce bullying in schools. Victims of bullies become scarred for life and there is not one moment that it should be tolerated!
My cause is to make victims harder for bullies to locate and maintain. One way, is to arm kids with skills to ward off bullies.I will call these skills “social”.

“To behaviorists, social skills are learned behavior that allow people to achieve social reinforcement.”

Labeling every kid who hits, or says something cruel, or takes part in a group motivated unkindness, as a bully, is as detrimental to the effort as ignoring that bullies DO exist. I think the “over labeling” is a real, imminent, threat in schools. Over-crowded and understaffed, schools have little time to investigate every report and will have to err in favor of the “victims”. It’s the only choice.

I’m convinced that the gusto and emotion this problem invokes will cause another problem if we aren’t careful. I’ll call it “free-range victimship”.

What do all kids want…attention. They learn very early that attention is most swiftly attained when they are wronged or believe to have been wronged. I hope adults will weigh each and every complaint carefully. Wouldn’t want to end up like our court system which we all know is overflowing with “victims”.

What IS a bully?

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...
English: A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My sister and I just had a conversation about bullying which made me realize what a complex subject it is. The discussion began, as most bullying discussions do, with a specific example of a kid she knows who is a “victim” of bullying.

Now, you may ask why I put victim in quotation marks? Well, it seems in cases of bullying often there are many players and the victim just may not be easily identified. Don’t shake your head. It isn’t always the big scruffy kid and it rarely is totally one-sided.

No, it is not alright to pursue and badger someone incessantly.

No, it is never okay to hit someone.

How can we be sure that they, the “bullier” and the bullied, are victims of the purest form? Are we to believe that in our society the preponderance of bullying involves one weak, unsuspecting victim and one mean spirited person who picked them at random?

C’mon.

There’s a quote from the 60s TV show Adam-12 that seems appropriate here. The two hero/police officers are standing beside their police cruiser after a day of crime fighting. One turns to the other and says, “The only thing that is black and white in our job is this car.”

Kids who are small, girls who cry, people of minority status, people with physical infirmities, etc. start off with the sympathy barometer needle tipped on their side, and they are aware of it. It shouldn’t matter that much because we are all aware of their “edge” but it has become a powerful tool in our modern, politically correct society.

Example:

Once upon a time, if Earl was an unfriendly sort of kid who tormented others, Earl would not get invited to Birthday Parties or be asked to play games. Earl just might have a chance to see the error of his ways by the natural course of things and learn to play nicely.

Nowadays, Earl must be included. Many Kindergarten classes insist that all kids are invited to play, no exceptions. The natural order of consequences are disturbed and Earl realizes he need not get-along at all. If anyone attempts to straighten Earl out, and Earl has a special need, he realizes he is ALL powerful because, after all, the kids are automatically (Get the black and white deal?) discriminating against him. Earl is not stupid and learns that he need not even try as long as he can use the “D” word. Ah, discrimination is the most powerful word.

I know! All you can imagine are poor special need kids or minority kids huddled in a corner abused and forgotten. We must make sure that they are treated fairly! No we don’t. Their siblings and friends will be there. The only kids who need protecting are those with the inability to learn social lessons, such as, autistic kids.

Little kids are not like that and I maintain, the Big kids without compassion were once little kids who never learned the social lessons. I trust little kids more than anyone else (except for dogs) to have compassion. Small children almost always like anyone who plays nicely. Don’t forget, minority and special needs kids are capable of being brats. Being excluded for bad behavior would be the best medicine for any and all brats. Besides, the perceived weaklings are more than their disadvantage alone. By considering them disadvantaged we label them as disadvantaged!

Gosh, I remember being protected from getting hurt on a baseball field because I was a girl. I thought our society was interested in equality. Wearing labels just works contrary to that, don’t you think?

As for bullying, this blanket protection of the crying and weak has a direct hand in the increasing incidences. To step in when kids are “at odds” keeps them from learning the social lessons they will need. Which are:

  • play fair and consider the feelings of others or you will not get along and have friends.
  • being too sensitive doesn’t work and it’s your own job to get along. (Just this morning, one day care child kept telling me another wasn’t “being nice” to her. Upon investigating the crime, I realized, the child who was complaining just wanted the other one’s attention. My answer was, “Well, invite her nicely to play.”)
  • a person’s character is who they are, not any other variable.
  • Everything is NOT always fair and that is a fact.

While I am making this old-fashioned and controversial presentation, I want to add another insult to the politically correct utopians. Yes, there are varying degrees of being a victim too.

WHAT? <GASP> A victim is a victim!

No…a person who leaves his/her keys in their car and has it stolen is less of a victim than one who has their car hot wired and stolen. Stealing IS wrong and shouldn’t happen. NEWS FLASH…it does happen.Take some responsibility people.

And if you swim in a canal in Florida, there’s a chance an alligator may bite you too. What a world, what a world! 🙂