At the behest of the wife of a close friend of mine, I joined a Facebook group related to the town in which I grew up. It was for entertainment purposes. She got a kick out of some of the pretentious arguments and subject that presented themselves on the group. I thought that sounded like fun, so I joined.
I was not expecting to get a little reality check from my past… thus the title of this post. This young man… he’s a year or two younger than me I think… wrote a response to post about bullying that broke my heart.
The Cliff’s Notes of the original post was a woman who was upset about some kids who were bullying her kids. The implication was that it was the culture of the town that contributed to this activity. I cannot say that is a far-fetched notion. The young man, whom I knew from growing up there, posted his response and my heart sunk.
He seemed to agree with the sentiment of the original poster, that it was a systemic problem. He indicated that he was “tortured” as a child growing up there and that is why he didn’t move back until his children were grown.
This compelled me to reach out to him and apologize. I don’t remember any instances of me doing anything to him, but what I do remember is me not doing anything about what I did see be done to him. Maybe it was because I was small back then. Maybe it was because I wasn’t bullied as a child, so it wasn’t my problem.
It’s hard to say for sure, but it made me feel bad for him, nevertheless. He seems to have recovered from that childhood trauma, but indicated to me that he still has periodic nightmares about it. One thing I am realizing, as an adult, is that when I was a kid, I just didn’t get it. Whatever “it” may have been on any given day, I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand that I needed to step in on behalf of this poor kid who was being bullied. I’m glad that I finally got it as an adult. I got in time for me to pass some pearls of wisdom to my kids so that, for my part, the cycle was broken. I consider myself part of that cycle because I didn’t do anything for that kid. This is what gives me a heavy heart. I can’t change what happened in the past, but I can and have changed what is possible for me to change now.