In my older years, I consistently wonder why I was never bullied when I was younger… why not me? I see a lot, these days, about kids my age who were bullied back then and are now enduring the effects of PTSD and the like. Or, on a darker note, people who were kids back then and are now dead, having committed suicide either recently or way back then, when the bullying was fresh.
Why not me? Being a small guy back then, I was ripe for the picking! When I was in seventh grade, I was 4′ 9″ and 95 pounds. I played in one football game, as a middle schooler, because I broke my nose in the very first game of the season. This was when I was in seventh grade too. In eighth grade, I was the football team manager. I wasn’t doing that again.
In eighth grade, I was still small. Not yet five feet tall. By ninth grade, I was 5′ 2″… a growth spurt! My goodness! I’m going to be a giant! Just kidding… fast forward to today and I made it all the way to 5′ 7″. Obviously, not much of an improvement.
So far, in this post, you may have noticed that I have only been referring to my size. The fact is that I was also an athlete. Additionally, I was very smart. By the end of eighth grade, I had made the All-County soccer team twice, Star Honor Roll (All A’s) and was headed to one of the best private high schools in the Southeast. This high school, The Baylor School, in addition to being academically rigorous, has one of the best high school athletic programs in the entire United States… just ask the writer of our Sports Illustrated article.
Over the years, I have though a lot about this issue of suicide, among teens, bullying, etc. Surely this is not as simple as just getting your kids into sports. Some people are just not athletically gifted. Others might have been athletes and still get bullied. What’s the magic sauce?
I have come to believe there is no magic sauce. It’s random. Middle schoolers and High schoolers are random. Think about it…. hormones raging… parents aren’t at school to vent on… find the very next kid I see and pick on him! Just for clarification… I didn’t bully anyone. I was too busy preparing for when the hammer dropped on me, as I knew I was a potential target. Though random, it make sense.
Although it makes sense, it’s also messy. Random is messy and chaotic and doesn’t make the kid being bullied feel any better. Many of my friends today, who have been my friends my whole life, were bullied and I never knew. Suffered from things like PTSD, depression and various other conditions, as a result of bullying. I feel like an idiot for not seeing it. That being said, I didn’t see a lot back then. I was definitely an idiot.
Sadly, I don’t have much of a conclusion, other than to say be nice to one another and teach your kids to do the same thing.
Below is the link and number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Please use it.