Thursday, March 20, 2008

Beating the Bully

Saying for the day:“Young women especially have something invested in being nice people, and it's only when you have children that you realise you're not a nice person at all, but generally a selfish bully.” Fay Weldon

Beating the Bully (an elf tale)

Once upon a time not to long ago, but not yesterday either there lived a very little boy named John> John was smaller than every boy in his third grade class. He was even smaller than every girl. AS you might suspect John was not very good at sports. He couldn’t hit the ball in baseball, he couldn’t make a basket in basketball, and he would never ever even try playing football. John spent a lot of time reading in the school library. John was not only smaller he was smarter than every kid in his third grade class. John got all A’s on his report card. This was so long ago they were still giving letter grades instead of pass and fail. If they had measured reading skills in those days which they didn’t he would have been many grades above his grade. The wonderful thing is that John was not unhappy. He didn’t mind being small. He didn’t mind being called Squirt, his nickname. He didn’t mind having no sports ability. He liked who he was. He loved to read and dream. He4 had wonderful parents who taught him to be kind and loving and that he was very important in the eyes of God. John’s life was wonderful .

Except for the school bully, Billy. Billy tried to make John miserable. He delighted in tormenting him. Every Wednesday he took John’s lunch money so John had no lunch. Once he pushed him into a mud puddle. Ruined John’s best pair of pants. John told his parents about Billy but they said he had to try to love him. They said that Billy was not happy so he wanted others to be unhappy as well. This, of course, is good advice but hard to take when someone who is three times your size is working at making your life hell.

So John spent his recess in the library instead of the playground. Billy was forced to pick on somebody else which of course he did. He made as many kids miserable as possible. You would think the teachers would do something about this bully but they didn’t. They never seemed to notice. Their motto seemed to be let the kids work out their own problems.

One very nice day John de4cided to risk going out to the playground. He waited until everybody else had gone and hoped that Billy wouldn’t notice him. When he got there he saw Billy picking on little Margaret and she was about to cry. So john ran over and got between them.

“Leave her alone “, he said.” You just leave her alone.”

At that point our Bully pulled back and hit John right smack in the eye. It was quite a shiner. But Margaret looked on John as her hero and John felt heroic despite the pain. Like the characters in the books he read he had rescued a damsel in distress and escaped alive.

As he was walling home from school he was suddenly joined by a small man in a green suit. The man was almost as short as John and he had on funny shoes with curly toes. Now John had done a lot of reading and he knew an elf when he saw one. The elf said “ I saw what you did on the playground today . It was a brave and kind deed. It was so brave and so kind that I am giving you two wishes instead of the usual one. What would you like to wish for?”

Now John had read all those elf stories in the library. He knew that elf wishes were dangerous and could backfire. “ I have to think about it”, he told the elf. So the elf gave him the usual magic whistle and told him to blow it when he was ready to wish.

John rushed home and climbed up into the tree house his father had built for him. He was soon joined by his best friend Luke. Luke lived next door and

Was a year older than John. They had been friends forever and ever or maybe even longer. Luke’s parents sent him to St. Wilma’s Catholic School, though he wasn’t even Catholic. They said something about getting a better education. So Luke didn’t know Billy he only knew Freddy the Catholic bully.

John made Luke swear not to tell anybody what he was going to tell him. He had to swear on the life of his dog and if he told his dog would be run over by a logging truck. So Luke swore never to tell anyone and John told him about the elf and the two wishes.

Luke suggested they make a list of possible wishes and they did.

1. Wish for Luke and John to be bigger and tougher than the bullies.

2. Wish that both bullies would move to Chicago.

3. Wish that both bullies would get sick and have to stay out of school.

4. Wish that when either bully started to pick on somebody they would begin to sneeze and it wouldn’t stop until they did.

5. Wish that Luke and John’s parents would suddenly become very rich so they would move to a mansion and be taught by tutors instead of going to school.

6. Wish that Billy and Freddy would turn to stone. On the bottom of which would be engraved “ A Bully’s End”

7. Wish that both bullies would be caught by a teacher and never allowed to go on the playground.

The list got much longer because John and Luke were very creative.

But then they discarded all those that changed them. They were happy being who and what they were. They felt rich already and didn’t want to change that.

They discarded anything that hurt the bullies. They did not want to hurt them. They didn’t even want them to sneeze.

They discarded sending them to Chicago because there they would just bully somebody else.

Then John remembered something he had read about empathy . In one book there was an empathat , a person who felt other people’s pain. They could wish that when Freddy and Billy picked on somebody they would feel everything that person felt. They would begin to understand the pain they were causing and because now they had to experience it as well they might change.

Luke and John argued over the exact wording for a long time but finally John blew the whistle and the elf arrived in the tree house. John wished that Billy and Freddy would feel whatever their victims felt.

“ As you wish so shall it be” the elf said.

The next day was Wednesday and Billy met John at the door to the school.

“The lunch money , stupid”, Billy said ,looking as mean as ever.

John forgot About the wish. He was terrified and he already felt hungry since he knew he would get no lunch.

But a funny look came over Billy’s face. It was a look of terror. It was a look of pain. The wish was working. Billy sat down and John rushed into the building with his lunch money. Billy just sat looking confused.

John went out to the playground at recess and watched Billy. Billy stayed away from him but he was soon picking on Elmer a second grader. But then Billy began to shake his head. There was something wrong. He just didn’t know what. John almost felt sorry for him. But he needed to know the pain he had caused.

So Billy ceased to bully. In fact he became a protector of others against bullies. He grew up to become a successful psychiatrist. It was said he really seemed to understand the feelings of his patients.We don’t know what happened to Freddy.

Luke and John grew up, went to college, and still get together once a year to talk about old times and the elf wish that worked.


#### News from Pigeon Falls-The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal. Part of the mystery has been solved. Eino was talking to his friend Janet and she suggested that you could use a magnet to lock the door from the outside. He tried it and it worked. You, of course, can also unlock the door from the outside with a magnet. That means next time Eino won’t have to kick the door in.
The other mysteries remain. They still have no idea who faked the murder or who stole the money and the medal. It may never be solved.
Luke Snowslider is now working for the Polaris team. They even bought his snowmobile. He is racing for them this weekend at a gathering in Elkhart Wisconsin. The FLYFAST team will be there. So Luke will get to race Barth Wader again. Wader is already telling everybody that this time he will beat him. This time, however, Luke has better equipment to work with. He has new parts instead of discards. He will certainly give Wader a run for his money.
School is out this week in Pigeon Falls. It is spring break. It used to be Easter vacation but that has religious connotations so now it is Spring break. The Tommy Club is meeting today. It is rumored that they are going to try to solve the mysteries. Well their hero is a detective. It could happen.

Today's link-Exploring Izard County-Perhaps snow isn't so bad!
Had a good day. I worked on the computer in the morning. We addressed and sent out the last eBay stuff as well as my blog print out to my sister Then Betty took them to the Post Office. Dawn.Betty went to Bible study in the afternoon. I worked downstairs on putting together another set of eBay packages. Patrick called they are coming tonight instead of tomorrow and since we don't know when they will arrive we are not going to church. It also means the blog will be late in the morning because two of the boys sleep in the computer room.Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Janvangogh said...

Okay, so where is Petrovich in all this? "Leave 'em Hanging" Petrovich should be his new name.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Of course the Tommys can solve the mystery -- and not because of their detective hero, but because their leader is Tommy UK.

10:27 AM  
Blogger The Old Fart said...

Your elf stories always have a moral to them. One question when there is a Billy in the story why are they always the bad guy in it? Why can't they be the good one and someone named Sam or Joe be the bad guy.

A Blessed Easter Weekend is wished for you and Batty.

10:38 AM  
Blogger kris said...

Hi - thanks for visiting my blog - I enjoyed your comment. It's always nice to meet a fellow midwesterner - and yes, time for the snow to be gone already!!

I enjoyed your tale - I'll have to come back and read some of your previous posts! Funny because we have a neighborhood bully - and what I would wish for her is empathy. She's not taking lunch money - and luckily other adults in the neighborhood have learned over the years how to best deal with bullies - but still you wish they could see how their words and actions make others feel.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a cute story. I wish it were true. Or is it?;-)

12:25 PM  
Anonymous loisontheweb said...

Ah ... kids with the wisdom of Solomon!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous AtomiK Kitten said...

I love your story, Dr. John. I have a kid that, last year, was shorter than everyone and smarter than everyone. He got threatened and beat up a couple of times. I intervened once I found out. This year, he's a changed "man". While he feels a great deal of empathy (I was going to make his brother miss lunch and not eat until dinner when he pitched a fit because it was "just" a grilled cheese sandwich and put dirt in his little brother's glass...B snuck in when he thought I wasn't looking and made a plain turkey and cheese sandwich and gave it to him. I "caught" him at the end of making it and he said that he just couldn't stand to see people go hungry. Turns out he's been sharing his lunch at school with a kid that generally doesn't have anything for lunch), he has also developed his fight or flight response. This year though it is a fight response. He hasn't been in any fights at school, but he hasn't backed down or given in to teasing, threats, or any of the like. When his little brother was being picked on during the bus ride home, B got in the bully's face and said, "Pick on someone your own size...ME." The kid backed off. When his other brother (who has ODD) attacked little brother, B sprung into action (this time last year he just would have been running for adults) and grabbed his brother and threw him off the little brother (who didn't do anything other than ask if he was done watching a show) and told him that if he felt the need to try and "man-handle" someone, he should try it with him and find out what happens. He's getting to be scrappy...but he isn't picked on anymore. His IQ is well above average and he just decided that he isn't going to take being picked on because he's smart. I told him that I thought his decision was excellent.

I just wrote a post about higher education. Come and read it and tell me what you think.

1:29 AM  

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