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.
Lions rarely target the adult healthy gazelle when the vulnerable and infirm are available. Human predators are no different.
BREAKING NEWS… A mass suicide was discovered at the Ranch of Hope today. The leader of this underground cult has been apprehended. Gault James had accumulated a clan of one dozen young women over the last two years and, somehow, convinced them to take their own lives as an ultimate act of their devotion to him. The charismatic James, a man in his sixties, is wanted in Costa Rica for an identical crime. He brainwashed and abused young women who had had loveless and troubled lives convincing them of his eternal devotion. Those, he tired of, were eventually convinced to commit suicide leaving him an opportunity to ‘slip away’ in search of new victims to seduce with a “caress of madness” only The Devil himself could inspire.
Angela Hunt*: age 17 Cause of Death: suicide Mode of death: arsenic poisoning
*Found at the Ranch of Hope with eleven other cult members. Raised in foster homes from the age of four. Mother: currently incarcerated for drug trafficking and prostitution. Father: unknown No family.
I’m LOUD. I speak with my volume way up and I’m trying to address that. It’s annoying to many people, especially to my Mom when she’s wearing her hearing aids. I have many theories about my lack of ‘volume control’. One, is that my 40+ years surrounded by children and babies as a family child care provider, required me to speak loudly and clearly above the understandable chaos. Another, more likely reason, is that I have so much to say and I want to share and be heard. Well, those who love to write seem to fall easily into that category. Don’t be misled by my volume though. I can keep a secret quite well. Sometimes, folks who have prefaced their words with, “Just between you and me…”, are shocked when they realize at a later time, their words truly weren’t ever repeated. So, secrets are sacred BUT some should not ever be kept. I listened to Congressional Testimony, yesterday, from four young women who each were molested by one powerfully placed doctor. He was protected (FOR YEARS!) by elite bureaucrats from being removed, charged, and punished. Those young women did not stay silent and were heroes to those who still cannot process their own abuse, as well as, to those who thankfully won’t suffer abuse from that MONSTER. This reminded me of an incident where I decided to speak up in High School. I was not a hero (which I define as placing oneself in a courageous fight at ones own peril) but my decision not to keep a secret, was a ‘good deed’.
My mother taught at the High School I attended. This gave me an extra level of ‘familiar ease’ with the faculty. I had a conceptual art class which welcomed an ‘associate teacher’ mid year. He was an odd man who taught us about meditation and horoscopes, yeah, the weird stuff. On one incident, he leaned over my shoulder and made me uncomfortable in the ‘personal space’ realm. He also took the liberty to brush my hair away from face too. My alarms were ringing but a report on that ‘squirrel’ wasn’t quite necessary, yet. Well, as an after thought now, I believe he must have found out I was a faculty child and took his ‘advances’ elsewhere because he abruptly started to pay extra attention to my friend. A few weeks later, that girlfriend had a sleepover at my house. Our late night chat turned to the news that the associate teacher asked her to babysit for his kids. Then, she told me a “secret”. She had gone to babysit and the ‘squirrel’ had really tried to inappropriately touch her when he’d taken her home. She wasn’t sure whether she should babysit again but didn’t want to make him angry. She, as girls often do, thought she might just be mistaken or overreacting. UGH! I told her to never go back and my direct, alarmed, reaction had her requesting that I promise not to tell, again. I assumed my friend would be safe and take my advice to just make excuses not to babysit for him, BUT, I knew the ‘squirrel’ would find another target, sooner or later. I TOLD my Mom. She said she’d handle it and not to worry. (I never told her he’d ‘come on’ to me.) A few weeks later, the ‘squirrel’ disappeared. POOF! Our art teacher mentioned. ‘reassigned’. All was well, and I heard not one word about it… actually, forgot about it too. On the last day of school, we were allowed to walk around getting signatures from friends and faculty in our yearbooks. I asked the school principal for his and have never forgotten what he wrote. “Best wishes, Susan. Thanks for your help!” I knew instantly what he meant and realized that I had done the right thing.
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”.
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?
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.
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! 🙂
This is perhaps the least specific blog you will find. A variety of DIY projects, book reviews, health tips, yoga poses, fashion ideas, recipes or something altogether different depending on my current mood. I've never been pigeon-holed into one category so neither is my blog. Strap in and enjoy the ride!
Lipsa de comunicare este mai profundă și mai nocivă decât orice altă lipsă. Prețuiți ceea ce aveți deja! Pornesc într-o nouă zi din viață…fie ca aceasta (și toate celelalte)să fie o zi bună Pentru Tine LUME!