“Don’t Let The Bullies Win!”

 

Happy Friday, “Mi Gente”!
And a tremendous “T.G.I.F.” from the spiritual battle field, y’all …  “Just DO It”!
This week has been like a full “360 degrees” for me … AND some!  Can we really go more than 360 degrees though, or haven’t you heard?!?  Yo, y’all, you can go as many degrees as are required and that YOU are able to muster … you dig?!?
We all go through a lot in our “life times” as we know them.  It’s ALL part of the journey, so … as Woody Allen once said, I think it was him, “Ride loosely in the saddle of life!” … or something like that!  It’s a bumpy ride, and if one is not ready, one can get knocked off course or off the horse, speaking figuratively here.  I have been there, done that … even come out ALIVE!  Have you ever had one of those experiences when you KNOW something “greater than yourself” got you to breathe again?!?  THAT’S when you get to know “gratitude”.
Have any of you had experiences with a “bully” before?!?  Usually, they appear first in elementary school or around the playground.  My first experience that I recall was with a kid from the Projects … “The Winbrook Projects” … to be exact.  I use to always raise my hand in class to give the answer to a question that the teacher had asked.  Sometimes, I was first to get called upon.  Other times, I was second or third.  But one thing about my answers, they were usually RIGHT!  There was a reason.  “Big Ike” was a task master.  You had to do your homework before going outside to play with the other kids at The Projects.  Not only that, but he would MAKE my sister Edna help me!  Most of the time, she wanted to help me.  But I was like 8 years younger than her, which is a lot when you are a kid!  So, that’s why most of my answers were right.  Of course, there were kids in my class who didn’t like me getting the right answer so much, with my thick glasses and close hair cut that “Big Ike” had given me and my brother “Hank”.  I didn’t see the inside of a barber shop until I could afford to pay for it from the money I had earned from my paper route.  Do you get the picture yet?!?
I was in “my element” with those right answers.  It motivated me.  But … there were a few bullies … and one who was from the same building as me was in most of my classes, since we were the same age.  He lived with his family on the 4th floor and I lived on the 5th floor with my family so we saw each other often.  One day on the way home from school, he told me to throw my book bag in the bushes and stop giving so many answers in class.  He was handsome and had all the elementary school girls in love with him …  I had NONE.  At that time, I wasn’t so interested in “girls” though I knew what made them cute!!  But it was here when my love for “education” began to blossom.  It was also when I began to be able to identify and dislike “bullies”.  Some of the girls actually liked kids who could answer the  questions correctly in class.  But if they got to pay attention to me, they had to deal with my glasses next!!!  That was usually the “deal breaker” – the glasses!!!  So, Dad drove me to get my books from the bushes near the school and gave me a “talking to” that made me be ready to defend myself against any bully anywhere!
When I taught at White Plains High School, the teachers were often “prepped” to help those kids who were bullied, and particular guidance counselors were assigned to take those students to talk with them.  Many of the students that I had in my classes, on the court or on the stage with “The Performing Arts Club” which I advised for a few years, knew that they could talk to me about anything … especially those “bullies”.  We even had a “human relations specialist” come in from time to time to talk to the youth at the “High School”.  Yet, keep in mind, “bullies” come in all shapes, sizes, colors … and professions!  It is a technique – bullying – that kids with low self esteem use to try to build their own images as say … “a tough guy”.  I didn’t like that because there weren’t many jobs that I wanted to take where you had to be “a tough guy” like a body guard or linebacker for the Green Bay Packers American Football Team!!  Sometimes, people with more money try to “bully” those with less to cover up for the fact that without that “money”, they wouldn’t have much personality.  Their “bullying” often comes in the form of bribes or “pay offs”.  Always speak up or out to someone if you are getting “bullied” by anyone.  If you are a parent, talk to your child(ren) to make sure you are their number ONE “confidante”!
In closing, I want to thank each of you readers again for staying with me.  I am working on getting moved to a different, bigger place with a balcony and a guest room so I can stretch out and finish this third manuscript!  I am almost there … that “place” where I like to write incessantly.  I always have to remind folks that the third book is about how I was able to overcome some challenges and arrive at “early retirement age” to acquire residency in another country!  Right now, it’s Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo to be exact!
Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!  “Be you, because you are YOU!”  by John I. Cook circa 1972!
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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