I am on days off and my wife and I went and saw the movie “Benchwarmers”. As an Evangelical Christian there were some scenes that I had some difficulty with and would never allow my younger children to watch, however I very much enjoyed the plot and the quest of nerds and non-popular kids not to be picked on and simply be accepted for who they are.
When I was a kid I was a member of both groups: The bullies and the victims. When I was in elementary school I was an awful lot like I am now, kinda of smart and nerdy. I did well in school and very much enjoyed it, in fact I even skipped the sixth grade because I was so far ahead of my classmates. The problem was that I was very tormented by other children. There was one boy that used to beat me up almost every week.
I was in my first year of the seventh grade, and also the first time in my life when I had zero friends. The few friends I had were left back in the 6th grade. The kids I was stuck with now looked at me as some brainiac and I felt really alone. One day after receiving another butt whoopin, I kind of snapped and decided the only way to stop the torment of me was to become tough and fight back. The only problem was that not only did I fight against the bullies that picked on me, I also started bullying others that were weaker than I.
I guess I figured the odds of me getting beat up would be less if I displayed my ability for violence on a regular basis. This went on for about three years, and one day I found myself standing in front of the school principle receiving the one more fight and you will be expelled for a year speech. I suddenly realized that I could very easily go from being ahead of all the kids my age to being a year behind. I had already ended up doing 7th grade twice. I also realized I didn’t like the person I had become and decided that violence was not the answer. Money was! I got a job and found that I could buy my way out of trouble.
That was about 30 years ago and I never did fight again, I eventually learned mature ways of avoiding physical conflict and today try to pass those techniques on to my children and the children I care for. I do however wonder how life could be different for the kids we care for if they hadn’t been victims of bullies or felt that they had to be bullies in order to survive socially in school. It seems that the children we care for tend to be from one or both groups (Bullies/Victims) rarely are they from the much larger group of people that fall into neither group.
If only we all could just get along.