I wasn't planning on writing anything this morning, but something did come to my mind as I was remembering my childhood years and a group I belonged to called, 'Tri-Gray-Y'. Tri-Gray-Y was a group for girls grades 4-6 at the time, and it was sponsored by the YMCA. The meetings were held after school on the school campuses.
The reason I am writing is because of the subject of bullying. I moved down to Florida when I was 9 years old, and obviously was the 'new kid on the block'. As I figured out not too long after living here a couple of months, kids who were new on the block were not usually welcomed.
Fourth grade was not very good. One girl, who wasn't even in my class, took it upon herself to be my bully. She managed to successfully turn all the children in my class against me. She took the design of the X in the box, and every child in fourth grade put one on their arm. It was called a 'Susie-Cootie shot' in case they got near me.
My brother was in Boy Scouts, and we would go to the pack meetings which were also held at the elementary school I attended. After the meetings were over, the boy scouts would run around and have a good time. I joined them but my mom said I wasn't allowed to. Bummer. She explained that if I were a Boy Scout, then I would be able to run around with them. I asked her if I were to join a club, would I be able to run around like that, and she said that I would. So, that was incentive for me to join Tri-Gray-Y.
I joined Tri-Gray-Y and it was a pretty safe place for me to be. The instructor was either named Pat or Patty, I can't remember. We did a lot of fun activities at the school building as well as on field trips. We went horse-back riding one time, and I got the smallest horse, but probably the most wild one!
If Pat or Patty were to read this, I would like to thank her for being our instructor. She was a nice person, and probably really not much older than I was. I would think she was in high-school or maybe college at the time. She took an interest in me and I learned a lot from her.
People can make you feel worthless. Even teachers can make you feel like quitting. I have had a few teachers who were like that. These teachers had their favorites and their unfavorites. I was one of the unfavorites. But, I also had some really good teachers I am thankful for.
Mrs. Straight and Miss Goebbel who were my first and second grade teachers were excellent. They treated me with respect and hollered out me when I did things wrong (or when they thought I did something wrong like stealing the toilet paper out of the bathroom when I really didn't!). I had a wonderful, excellent teacher in fifth grade but can't remember her name. I know it began with a G. During the second half of the school year, a group of children who were misfits in the class I was in, got pulled out and put into MRS. G's class. She was so kind and encouraging. I would like to thank her if I were to ever see her again. We need more teachers like this one. In eighth grade, I had a History teacher named Miss Humphrey. I almost failed her class in the first semester because I wasn't paying attention. After the bad report card, I decided to work hard so I could get caught up with what I lost. One assignment we had was to do a report. I did mine on the U.S.S. Constitution. I worked really hard and got it done. My folder was on the top of the pile, when I noticed a bully (not the same one as in fourth grade) picked it up and walked out of the room with it. I told the Miss Humphrey right away and she went after the girl. She didn't find the bully, but, we worked together to get the folder back. It did come back, but not without vengeance from the bully. The bully had a lot of friends. A couple of months later, one of her friends beat me up. I had no idea why, but later made the connections that the bully hired her somehow to beat me up for reporting her stealing my book report. The friend then threatened to kill me a couple of times. God protected me though.
I have to inject a couple of things here though. I was not a believer yet in Jesus Christ. I had never heard the Gospel message although I always wondered what it was. I can see how God protected me even during those times. The day I got beat up by this girl, I did not wear earrings, which was very helpful in this situation, for she would have ripped them off. That would have been a nasty mess. I lost hair for days after she beat me up. Somehow, my eye caught the bully taking my report off. I could have easily missed this, but didn't. God was very merciful to me during that time, even though I did not know Him yet.
I would like to thank the teachers that took an interest in me. I would like to thank Pat, the Tri-Gray-Y instructor. In a world where everyone around you makes you feel worthless, these people stood up for me. I would also like to thank my friends Christine and Adrianne. I am sorry I was not a good friend to you if you by any chance are reading this. They found out about a bully who was at another school but now transferred to the school I was at, and this bully was going to find me and cause me trouble. My friends were going to beat her up if they found her bothering me.
I hope my readers can understand how serious the issue is of bullies. Bullies can be life threatening. They can also destroy a person by ripping apart their dignity. People have committed suicide because of bullies. It is not enough to tell your children to just ignore them or sass them back. I believe the devil is behind them (though they don't understand that). Bullies have enough problems on their own and need help in seeing their need for a Savior. They are trying to take control over people, possibly because their power is being threatened by someone else.
Parents need to help their children understand about bullies, but they also need to protect their children from them. Sending your children to a Christian school is not necessarily going to solve the bully problem though, for bullies are in Christian schools as well as in public schools.
Teachers don't really understand what is going in with the students. The teacher I had while I was being beaten up thought that we were just wrestling and she didn't intervene. Teachers need to love and support (and discipline when necessary) their students. Unless the teacher has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, he or she may not understand all that goes into teaching, which includes encouraging (not flattering) and patiently working with a student. That is an incentive for all of us to get to know students or children in our classes.
So, I wrote this to explain the seriousness of the subject of bullying, but also to thank those who did just the opposite. Please take seriously any indications of your child being bullied. Don't ignore it or tell your child to ignore it. It needs to be dealt with and the parents need to become involved.
Here is my special thank you list:
* Pat, the Tri-Gray-Y instructor
* Mrs. Straight, my kindergarten teacher
* Mrs. Goebbel, my first grade teacher
* Mrs. G. , my fifth grade teacher (second half)
* Mrs. Bone, my sixth grade teacher
* Mrs. or Miss Humphrey, my eighth grade History teacher
* Adrianne, my friend
* Christine P., my friend
Thank you all for being my friend and supporting me when others were bullying me around. If any of you are reading this, I would love to hear how you are doing. Thanks.