Standing Up

My older son has had some issues with bullying during this school year. Thankfully, they have not been major, and I am hopeful that they are over.  My wife’s advice to our son is, “Walk away, and tell someone.”

Bullying image courtesy of Google.

Bullying image courtesy of Google.

The advice I offer is a bit more nuanced. I recently advised him about an incident at his lunch table. I told him to firmly say to the bully, “Get up or shut up,” and to report it to whoever is in charge.

BR is passive (except when he is around his little brother). While I certainly don’t want him to turn into a bully himself, I don’t want him to be afraid or feel uncomfortable standing up for himself in whatever walk of life.

The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember the veterans who have fallen during war. These courageous individuals paid a terrible price to protect our country and the freedoms that we enjoy. They deserve our respect, admiration, appreciation, and attention. However, I wish there was no need for this day. How many lives have been wasted because of war? The number, whatever it may be is too terrible to count. As Bob Dylan said in Blowin’ in the Wind: Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died.


Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Yet, sometimes fighting/war is the absolute right thing to do. No, it should not be the first option. No, it is not something to be aspired to. But it may be the only solution.

We are in the middle of the war on terror. Iran is racing towards a nuclear weapon. North Korea continues to provoke its neighbors and the US itself. I wish these things were not occurring. I would prefer that we could reason with these entities/countries. I would rather we find an accommodation that would satisfy everyone. Unfortunately, all indications including recent negotiations, offers, and discussions point to these entities/countries being unwilling to be reasonable. They are bellicose in their ways and expect the U.S. and the West in general to roll over and allow their desires to come to fruition.

President Obama has apparently decided that the war on terror is in a new phase, that there is still time to negotiate with Iran (before they acquire nuclear weapons), and that North Korea can be handled. I believe that the president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world.  While the president can attempt to amend and convince other countries of a course of action, he can not decide the desires and the goals of other countries. Nobody has that kind of power.

I don’t envy the president. He (and someday a she) has to make the decision when force is necessary. He has to decide when to put soldiers – young men and women – in harm’s way. I hope and expect the president to recognize when force is necessary and pray that he will take appropriate action.  There will be more soldiers to mourn and miss on future Memorial Days.

I want my son to stand up for himself. I want him to know that he can take care of himself. I want him to use reason and be firm. I want him to work with the authorities that be.  If all else fails, I expect him to use force. Maybe not a nuclear weapon, but if he has to throw a punch to express his confidence, I’m ok with that.

There are times when one must stand up for one’s self. Memorial Day reminds us of this difficult lesson.

26 thoughts on “Standing Up

  1. Good luck to you – hopefully the new year and new changes will bring about a better situation. I have always felt so helpless when T has to go through that situation, so I am sending good energy your way.

    • Gosh, it has to be a better year but lets let this one end first.
      I hope the issue w/Mr. T. is way in the past.
      Thanks for the well wishes.

  2. You are right; sometimes we do have to stand up and fight. We may be instructed to love and turn the other cheek, but there are times to protect ourselves and the people around us!

    • Yes, we have to stand up at times. Sometimes, standing up once can help you avoid something even more seriously later on.

  3. sorry to hear about this Larry, it’s sad and difficult to hear this. I’m sure that when our kids are affected by this it must be even more difficult, I have given this much thought after hearing horrible stories in the news. I hope your son will listen to both of you and that things will get much better for him at school soon! I really hope I can leave this comment as I haven’t been able in your last post

    • Thankfully, I think this incident has past or is nearly so. I hate bullying – need to stand up to bullies an put them in their place.

  4. Yiannis was four when he was being bullied…I expected bullying to occur at some point in my children’s lives but I was shocked it was that early. It was awful. I went to the principal 4 times and there was nothing she did that really helped. I still remember the days I was bullied in primary school because I had a German mom…I hope it will get better with B.R.

    • Where do kids even learn to bully at such a young age. I hate bullies. Pathetic job by the principal. Ensuring a safe environment should be his/her first priority.

  5. This is exactly a prime example where fathers and mothers differ! My son had a few go arounds with a Kindergarten boy in his class this year. The ones that took place in the classroom the teacher took care of. However, there was a few incidents on the playground. My son said he just walked away and told a playground supervisor. I told him that was very smart. My husband instantly piped in with, “If he pushes you, you push him back.” I was horrified that he would suggest this! But as you put it, I understand your logic and my husband’s as well. I just wish it didn’t have to come to making a decision about this!

    • I agree – the whole Mars and Venus thing. I think a person cant allow themselves be a pushover for so many reasons. They have to measure a response but a response is needed.

  6. I also wish this wasn’t even a topic for consideration and debate. You’re a wonderful father, Larry, and I trust your son(s) will learn to discern when to walk away and when to fight, both with dignity and integrity just like their father. Beautiful post.

    • Thanks for the compliment.
      I do hope they do learn to discern when to stand up and when to walk away. That sounds like a line from the Gambler by Kenny Rogers.

  7. That really sucks. There have been some issues in my daughter’s class/school and it affects all the children. I wish I could say I have ever seen it dealt with effectively. Let’s just hope the day will come where bullying is not considered a “normal” part of growing up!

    • Bummer to hear your daughter has had to deal with this crap as well. I hate bullies. I agree with you in that it seems that schools do a poor job of dealing with it. I have heard kids verbally abuse others in my class. When I speak up to students about this, they always say something like he knows “I’m joking. We’re cool.” The other kid, of course, always confirms for fear of looking weak.

  8. I hope next year fares better for your son. I was bullied in middle school and it’s a tenuous situation. You fear that the wrong move could potentially unleash great force from your opponent, much like our President must feel. Diplomacy may seem like the weaker position but the trade-off may be decreased danger…for the time being, anyway.

    • Oh me too, me too. I am sorry that you experienced bullying and for the affect it had upon you.
      Diplomacy is fine but not if it only avoids the problem rather than solving it.

  9. I hope he finds a way to deal with his bullies, I was bullied at school until I had had enough and punched the bully in the face with a black eye as a result. That was the only time I have ever hit anyone and was also the last time I was ever bullied. I am not in favour of violence, but as you said, sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself.

    • Thanks – luckily, it seems more like an isolated incident. Good for you for standing up for yourself. That’s what it takes sometimes.
      Good to hear from you – have not heard or read anything from you recently.

  10. I remember you saying it had been a difficult year. I’m sorry it was because of bullying.
    I’m hoping your son has a huge growth spurt and can stare down future bullies.

    Your advice was perfect, defend yourself. Be brave.

    • This isn’t even the half of it. Thankfully, this has been a minor incident brought to our attention recently.
      The growth spurt sounds good. He needs to toughen up and show some firmness.

  11. Bullying is a huge issue – on playgrounds, in workplaces, in homes and on the international stage. I, too, wish it weren’t so, but, alas, it is. As a single mother, and a very protective one, I was the one who told my kids that if they felt the need to fight back, go ahead. They may have got in trouble at school but they wouldn’t get in trouble at home. Probably not my best mommy moment, but after 6 or 7 years of my kids being bullied I felt they needed permission to stand up for themselves.

    I hope your son learns his father’s wisdom sooner rather than later.

    • Good for you for telling your kids to stand up. it does not matter which parent does it – in my opinion.
      I think it was good parenting moment. That is way too long to be bullied and they needed to make it stop. You were looking out for them. That is your job!

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