Friday, October 25, 2013

On Bullying

      What is wrong with this picture?  How did that pair of shoes get up there?  And who did it?  

   The image means a boy went home barefoot in cold San Francisco.  There is only one way this could happen, a bully forced him to give up his shoes.  It is a prank against which there is no law.  The shoes were not stolen and the boy was not assaulted but the humiliation and helplessness that he must have felt could potentially scar him for life.  He could grow up scared of everyone or worse when he finds his own power he might do worse to others not necessarily the person who had bullied him.  

   The boy would have to explain to his parents where he lost his shoes.  If he told his parents the truth about the shoes’ new location the parents could either be sympathetic or berate him for not defending himself.  This is an American scenario.

   Here’s the Filipino version.  Tina, a single mom of a fifth grader in the Philippines overheard a friend say to her son, Teddy “Why do you let that Bong treat you that way?”  

   Tina’s alarm went up and barged in on the kids’ conversation “What did you say Jasper?  What’s that Bong doing?”  

   Apparently Teddy was being bullied in school.  He never mentioned it at home.  Tina told the boys “I will pass by the school tomorrow on my way to work.  Jasper, you point out that Bong to me.  I want to talk to him.”  

   The following morning Tina came charging into the school while the kids were out in the grounds with no teacher around.  Immediately Jasper pointed out Bong who suddenly got scared as all fifth graders commonly are when confronted by an adult.  

   “I know what you have been doing to Teddy.  If I hear you still mistreating him after this conversation I will come back and beat you up myself.  And oh, I have a gun I can use.  Don’t try to escalate this.” Tina said. Bong was clearly shaken.  As per subsequent reports he has been ‘nice’ to Teddy since that day.

   Some parents get their kids martial arts training to be able to defend themselves.  Some move the child to another school.  Some said Tina was wrong for confronting and threatening Bong.  It’s a matter of opinion.  Being a single mom Tina believed it was her duty to protect or fight for her son in the absence of a law that should protect children from other children.  She did not want martial arts lesson because that could hurt her son too.  So she did what she could.  

   "For men will be lovers of themselves... having no natural affection...without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness..." (2 Tim 3: 1-3)

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