It is commonly believed by children that if they are not direct participants in the act of bullying, that they are not contributing to the problem. While not being the bullies themselves is a start, it is not helping to put a stop to a long-standing issue. It is so important that kids not only stay away from bullying, but if they see if happening they take a stand and put a stop to it. And one touching story demonstrates this importance, showing that a simple act of kindness can mean so much more to someone than you may think.
The author of this story begins by talking about walking home from school one day during his freshman year of high school. Just like an other Friday, he was walking home with big plans for the weekend on his mind, when he saw another boy walking home carrying a large stack of books. He found himself thinking that he must be a nerd for carrying all those books home during a weekend, when he saw a group of larger boys running at him. He watched as the older boys ran into him and knocked all the books out of his hands. They then proceeded to trip him and break his glasses before taking off running and laughing. The author recalls how he saw the boy crawling around looking for his glasses with a terrible, heart breaking sadness in his eyes. So he jogged over, picked up his glasses, and helped him gather his books, comforting him by saying, “Those guys are jerks, they should really get lives.”
With a grateful smile the boy looked at him, relieved, and said “Hey thanks!” After helping him up, he found out the boy’s name was Kyle and he lived near him. He walked Kyle all the way home, carrying his books, and chatting the whole way. At the end of the walk, he invited Kyle to play football with him and his friends that Saturday, and they ended up spending the whole weekend together.
Over the course of the next four years of high school, he and Kyle became best friends. When it came time for college, Kyle attended Georgetown to study to become a doctor and the author went to Duke on a football scholarship. But the miles between them did not come between their strong friendship. Come graduation day, Kyle was to give the class speech. But the author recalls how, sitting in the audience, he had no idea just how much Kyle’s speech was going to affect him.
He remembers how Kyle cleared his throat, nervous, and began by saying “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.”
Kyle then went on to explain that all those years ago, that day walking home from school freshman year of high school, he had planned on taking his life that weekend. He talked about how he had brought home all those books so his mom would not have to go through the pain of cleaning out his school locker. He goes on to say how it was a simple act of kindness that saved him that weekend. How one boy had helped him after being bullied and showed him kindness and friendship.
It was not until that moment that the boy realized the deep importance of what had seemed to him like a small act. It is this story and many others that show us the power our actions can have on others, even things that seem small or natural to us.
So even if your child is not being bullied or an instigator of the bullying, make sure to explain to them how crucial it is to stand up to bullies and show others kindness, because you never know how your actions can affect others- and in some extreme cases it might just be the thing that saves them.