Saturday, 17 January 2009

Week 18. Bullying ....... ?

C comes home on the Tuesday with news that some lad or other tried to block his path and pushed him into a bush on the way home. This is not the first time it’s happened.

My hackles rise. Is he being singled out because he’s small, sometimes he walks on his own, he’s English ? Memories surface of my own walk home from primary school, straight into the path of (what felt like) hundreds of oncoming secondary school children who walked up the lane past the road where I lived as a child. I felt frightened, self conscious, vulnerable. I think it comes under the British heading of “good character- building stuff”, though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Anyway, I give the boys the stiff talk about what to do with people who behave like that: ignore them, walk round them, and if they lay a hand on you, you damn well push them back: defend yourself. But don’t push them into the road or any where near traffic. And in the meantime always try to walk home with either the little friend round the corner or each other.

It’s hard, this bit. We try so hard to turn the other cheek, to ignore other peoples’ bad behaviour, to walk away from bullying and intimidation, but when push comes to shove then that’s just what you have to do. Literally.

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