Taking a Brick to His Head–Advice to the Bullied

     Charles Blow once wrote a  New York Times column that was a poignant memory of a time he was bullied as a child. While I was, too, by a neighbor a few years my elder, I also had two pals from very early on who were not only popular but weren’t about to allow me to be harmed when they were about. That helped considerably.

     What stopped my bully for good, though, wasn’t my pals’ presence nor was it my parents’ raised concerns to my bully’s. What stopped him after six or more years was my decision (I recall it clear-as-a-bell) to take up a random brick as he was trying to yank me hard into the sticker-bushes separating my backyard from his…to smack very him hard in the center of his forehead. As most head-wounds do, his bled wildly. I recall my surge of delight as he staggered then ran into his house. That my parents supported me when his called, outraged…that delighted me nearly as much as my new-found assertiveness and his teary, bloodied face.          

     I’ve never for a moment regretted that brick to Stevie’s sad and deliciously scarred twelve-year-old head. I’m sure, too, it and the years that led to it, influenced my take and responses to bullying when I was a public and independent school teacher/admin. While I never handed a bullied kid a brick, I never counseled a child to take it passively and without a just response. I don’t regret that, either. 

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