Stazjia’s Commentary

First of the Month and Bullying

Posted on: August 1, 2008

It’s the first of August today which made me think about what we did as kids on the first of any month.

As soon as we saw a friend, we said, “A pinch and a punch, the first of the month” – gimme a break, it nearly rhymes and we were only young. đŸ™‚ We did the actions, usually relatively lightly, as we said it.

Then our friend answered with, “A thump and a kick for being so quick”, the answer to which was, “A smack in the eye for being so sly.”

I don’t know if children still do this but I think it was done all over the country when I was a child. Every month, kids thought this was hilarious.

No Bullying Here

No Bullying Here

When I took the dogs out yesterday evening about 9pm, there was a group of children in the alleyway to the fields, maybe 10 to 12 of them ranging from perhaps 10 years to 13 – 14 years old. They were shouting and laughing and I wasn’t sure what was going on. One of the younger ones broke away from the group and I wasn’t sure if he was crying or not. Then he called in a friendly way to two of the others who followed him. The others carried on laughing and shouting but I wasn’t sure what they were saying as they were all making so much noise it was hard to distinguish the actual words.

I went past them into the field so the dogs could do their business but I could still hear the kids. I definitely got the impression from snatches I did hear then that they were bullying the young boy and laughing because he was upset. I was only in the field for 10 minutes (it’s not a proper dog walk, just a chance to do what’s necessary before bed and it gets too dark) and when I went past the group which was a bit smaller than before I heard one of them saying, “His mother’s walking him home” and then laughing derisively.

If I could have been sure the young boy was crying and was being bullied, should I have interfered? If I should, would I be brave enough? I think the answer is that I should have said something, asked the boy if he was all right, did he want me to walk him back to the road? Told the other children how disgusting they were and there is nothing big and brave about a group making a young child cry. I think I’m brave enough – I’ve certainly told off kids before that I don’t know when they’ve behaved outrageously.

I’m haunted by the time I didn’t interfere and have always thought I would never live with that regret a second time. When I about 30 I was on a bus with a friend in an area neither of us knew well and a group of about 15 girls (maybe 12 – 14 years old) got on to go home from school. It was only a short journey of about 10 to 15 minutes. They started picking on one girl. They laughed at her, they threw her stuff around, she started to cry. My friend and I made nasty remarks to each other in audible voices saying how disgusting their behaviour was but the girls either didn’t hear or didn’t care. Anyway, the girl was sobbing by the time it got to her bus stop and her mother was waiting for her. She threw herself into her mother’s arms, almost completely hysterical. The girls on the bus laughed and laughed.

I was so ashamed of myself for not having the nerve to have stood up and spoken openly to those bullies. I swore I would never sit idlely by a second time and I never have. I still regret I didn’t try to help that poor girl. She’d be about 35 to 38 now and I wonder if that bullying, which was obviously a long term thing, has scarred her for life. I do hope not and that she has been able to put it behind her.

I was never bullied at school and I wasn’t a bully either. I was fairly quiet and studious but had enough about me not to allow anybody to bully me. I suppose I should be grateful to my parents for giving me enough confidence to stand up for myself so never became a victim at school.

Isn’t it strange how a 15 minute episode can stay with us for over 20 years and make us wish we could turn the clock back and change what we did or didn’t do?


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