Sunday, March 11, 2012

~~~~~THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING~~~~~ It's Got To Stop

~EASTER MEMORIES~
My Children 1989

Today I'm going to deviate a bit from my regular Thoughts on a Sunday Morning and share with you something that has been on my heart for many moons.

Many. Many. Moons.

It's a personal story of sorts and it may make you feel uncomfortable to read.
It's about BULLYING.
If you'd rather stop and not read
any further you have my permission to
exit right now.
My feelings won't be hurt in the slightest.
It's just with all the reports on the news of school violence and bullying (on-line and beyond) I feel inclined to share with you some private thoughts on the matter.
~SOOO PRECIOUS~

I'm quite sure bullying has affected all of us in one way or another.  We've either done it, been a victim of it or known someone who has experienced it.  Bullying behavior today has reached epidemic proportions and when town meetings are called to address the fact our children are taking their own lives (or killing each other) to try and escape the torment and harassment aimed towards them from other children, something has to be done.

But what?
~FOREVER FRIENDS~

This post isn't about me or the things I went through during my growing up years...  As challenging as those days were for me once in awhile the things I experienced are nothing compared to what goes on today.
I can't help but wonder sometimes
what is happening to our world.
Quite frankly it feels like it's all going to hell.
I don't mean to be offensive here...
I'm trying to speak honestly and plainly.
There is no other word for it...
Just hell.
~BRANDON 18~

My son, Brandon, has the gentlest of souls.  He was incredibly smart as a little boy and often struggled a bit to fit in with other children.  He was a really cute kid who grew into a good-looking teenager.  He wasn't a nerd (so what if he was?), wasn't a jock (again, so what?), but he was a self-confessed geek who loved computer stuff and math (it's no wonder that today he works as a computer programmer for a well known university).  He was a typical child in many respects...far from being perfect, but a really, really good kid none-the less.  He loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, loved watching Jeopardy and playing Scrabble.  His first job was as a Grocery Bagger/Sacker.  He made decent grades and had big dreams.
~GRADUATION 2000~
(A Handsome Kid)

When Brandon was in high-school, right at 17, he came home one evening after a school football game with his entire face swollen up to three times it's size.  His story to his father and I at the time was that he was playing tag football during half time with his friends and was injured.  Instead of catching the ball it planted itself into his face.  Now...I was totally alarmed at his appearance and like any loving mother was overwhelmed with concern.  His eyes were blackened, lips split and we feared his nose was broken (it wasn't).  Within 24 hours both his eyes were swollen shut and weepy.  He couldn't breathe right for a week.  The doctors assured us he was fine and like any two parents we told our son to be MORE CAREFUL NEXT TIME.  Nothing more came of the story until several years later when we were finally told the shocking truth as to what really caused our son's bruised and beaten face.

About six or seven years ago a young man was murdered in our town...it may have been even eight or nine years ago...  I can't remember all the details, but I do recall the person accused in the killing, a former classmate of our son's,  was convicted of the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.  I can't even tell you how the conversation began with my oldest child, I only remember Brandon fessing up as to what really happened the night of the homecoming football game.

I'm paraphrasing here...but our conversation went something like this:

Brandon:  "Mom...you know that local guy that was convicted of killing that other kid in the drug deal...the one all over the news?  Well...he was the one that was always bullying me and beat me up on homecoming night when I was in high school!"

Me:  "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?  What bully?  What beating?"

Brandon:  "Remember when I came home from the homecoming football came with my face all swollen up?  I told you and dad I missed catching a ball and it hit me in the face!  Well...I didn't get hit if the face with a football.  The guy that was just convicted of murder beat me up that night!"

Me:  SILENCE!!!!!  (SCREAMING SILENCE!!!!)

When I gathered my composer the conversation continued.  I asked Brandon WHY he didn't tell us honestly what had happened to him.  His reply was simple and sadly made total sense...

he said:

"I was afraid mom.  Really afraid.  The guy accused me of stealing from him and I knew dad would have called the cops and filed a police report.  There were teachers and school officials (um...like HIS COUNSELOR!) all around and no one did anything to help me.  I was afraid if you did file charges the guy would get off and then come back and beat me up again and the bullying at school would be worse than it had been.  I figured if I kept quiet he would grow tired of picking on me and stop!"

I was speechless.
~~*~~

I will believe until my dying day my son was lucky favored that day.  He took a beating, but his life was spared.
For this I'm very grateful.


I know nothing about the home-life of the bullier or what caused him to behave in such a manner or why the violence increased to the point of murder.  I do know that if I could live those days again I'd have dug deeper and asked more questions of our son.  I don't blame Brandon for the falsehood.  I'd have been scared too.  But...what troubles me MOST is that the school did not take any action.  Aside from us not being notified of the incident, there were also parents there that refused to speak up. Years later while shopping at the grocery store I met up with a mother who told me she was there and witnessed the entire thing.

WHAT?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Recently while watching some local news I was sickened to hear the same issues regarding bullying are making headlines once again.  Why?  Because not enough is being done to stop it.  In my opinion there must be strict, unbending, unwavering consequences set in place to stop bullying in it's tracks.  It may be time for all of us to ask
"Is MY CHILD a BULLIER or a VICTIM of it?"
and then believe is just may be possible!

As parents and grandparents we must
get involved and speak up.
 We must continue to talk openly with our kids.
My husband and I did have candid conversations with our children and we were still blindsided by what was taking place in the life of our oldest child.
Get their passwords.
Visit their schools.
Talk to their teachers outside of conference day.
Attend town meetings.
Write letters.
Make your opinions known.
And for heaven's sake,
PRAY.
 
 The very lives of our children
and
our grand-children
depend on it.

Thank you for listening.

May your Sunday be blessed...

Love to you~

34 comments:

Di said...

Thank you for sharing that story. I have 2 grandboys and that is very important to remember, open communication is so important. What a wise man your little boy was. much love, Di@cottage-wishes

Anne@A Little Fur in the Paint said...

So true, Rebecca, so true. Thank God your son was spared anything else from that person; I have a 17 yr old right now (the baby) ~ you wonder what they tell you to spare you...:(
Love your sweet blog... I'm a new follower ~
Best,
Anne ♥♥

Mariette said...

Dearest Rebecca,

That must have made you shiver all over your body... The same guy that did beat up your son, turning out into a murderer. You are so right about the apathy of the school officials! Cowardly. In this political correct society we are breeding more crime than PEACE!
Certain things should be said, firm with DISCIPLINE. Yes, Discipline with a capital D as I used to always say, that is lacking in society. With often religion being thrown over board (look at the bad role models from Holywood!), the moral of society has gone way down.
Thanks for being as brave as your son (for taking this beating) and taking the risk of getting beat up by posting this! I side with you 100%.
Love to you,
Mariette

Susie said...

Rebecca, Thanks for telling that story. You are so right, it only take one little thing to set a bully in motion. Growing up ours was being poor. For one of my daughter's , it was small birth defect.xo, Susie

debra valiante said...

very thought provoking post. As a believer I do think many people today are on the road to hell and don't even know it. If they had God in their lives they wouldn't do such things. If they had God in schools they wouldn't do such things. Beyond that we do need to build a sense of community, to look out for each other's children and not just our own

Patty Patterson said...

I can't imagine standing by and watching someone be beaten and not take action. As a human with a heart I'd think that with two strangers going at it, I'd still have to at least say something. And just saying something would cause the fight to pause for a brief moment - and that pause might be enough to make a bully come to his senses. Who knows?
But - for teachers - who know these kids and are supposed to be looking out for them - not to say something. That's a disgrace.
I'm glad your son turned out to be okay. He is very handsome!

NanaDiana said...

Rebecca- What an awful story. One that touches my heart and makes me feel like crying. I have stood in your son's shoes and been the brunt of bullying when I was the "new kid" in a small town school. It was awful until I found my "place" there and, because of my quick wit was able to begin to hold my own.

I do believe your son was spared and God gave him the sense to do what he felt he needed to do to survive. Can you imagine the guilt he lived with because he had to lie to you? Just one more stab wound to an already wounded child...one I'm sure he wrestled with for years.

This is a great post today, Rebecca. Yes, a departure from your usual "pretty post" but one that has a good, important message that needs to be spread. Thank you-xo Diana

Julie Marie said...

Always, always do I listen to you dear Rebecca... and I wish there was something I could do about it as well... thankful to God that Brandon is okay... I for one DO NOT believe this other boys actions can be blamed on childhood circumstances...he chose to be the way he was. I was raised that you are what you make of yourself... I know people with horrible childhood backgrounds who are now wonderful, happy, fulfilled adults and that is because they had the courage to make something of themselves despite odds being against them... too often, I think excuses (and poor ones at that) are made for childrens behavior and they are suddenly "the victims" rather than the real victims, like Brandon was... and I think our education system these days stinks!... just being totally honest here... what has happened to right and wrong in our country?... okay, I will get off my soapbox now or I will take over your post today!... Jack and I just saw too much of this kind of thing in our careers with Jack being a police officer and me working at the PD as well... love to you, xoxo Julie Marie

Mouse said...

I totally agree with you on this one ... there is too much of "I can get away with anything I do, so I will even if it means bullying ,stealing etc etc to get my own kicks "

I could go on ... I have a soap box ..lol love mouse xxxx

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh Rebecca,

Singing praises to our Lord that your son is alive.

This post was very hard for me to read.
My 10 year old son recently had been bullied for the past 3 months. I had noticed changes in his behavior but with all the other horrors our family was going through I thought it was just a response to that. It culminated with the school calling me on January 17th and stating that the verbal attacks had turned physical. I wanted to speak to the mothers of the group of 6 boys responsible and half responded with "No, not my child." I cried for my son, and I cried for those boys who now think they can get away with such behavior. Your story shows how it can excelerate.

My prayer is that those parents will see.

Kit said...

So sorry to hear what your son went through. Bullying is horrible! My own daughter went thru it briefly in middle school. I noticed she was taking a different route home from school for a few days and when asked why, she said she wanted to see new things. Not convinced I probed and it turned out a girl was bullying her on the way home. I contacted the principal the next day and both girls and he had a meeting. Severe consequences would happen if it did not stop and it stopped. I am so happy for that principal and how he took care of the situation. Kit

blhitchcock901 said...

So sad! Yes, we need to pray desperately for our children building a hedge of protection around them. I watched the movie Courageous and was deeply moved by it. So many kids have no one who really cares. There is still no excuse for the behavior. Where are the adults in all of this! Sad, so sad. At least your son had the saftely net of a loving home and parents who cared.

Tammy@TheStitchingCoop said...

Parents need to stop believing their children are perfect angels & discipline them when they act out inappropriately no matter where they are.

Schools need to firmly put blame on the enacting offender & NOT both parties. I have always told my kids, DON'T LET ME CATCH YOU THROWING THE FIRST PUNCH as I'll have you arrested myself (and have). But don't stand there & get your butt beat either. Defend yourself up & until the situation is under control... no more.

Parent first
befriend second
ACADEMICS FIRST
MUSIC & ART SECOND
all else... last!!

UNIFORMS-I completely believe when you remove labels and tags you remove instant implied prejudice.

Adult bullies are the absolute worst & that's all I'll say on that. I eradicated one in the not so distant past & boy did it teach me a few things about what I will not allow anyone to get by with in my life.

Bullying will not stop until every violation of ethical, moral or legal conduct is questioned & reported & let known amongst others. Best way to end a bully is to call them out and make it known.

Then teach this simple guideline:

Does it hurt me?
Does it hurt someone else?
Does it break moral, legal,ethical or spiritual law?

If it is yes, don't do it!! It's that simple & more people need to start taking back our roles in the communities we live in, the homes we share and the lives we create!
Hugs.
t

Nancy said...

This is a very important issue and yes I agree we do need to be very involved and know what is going on with our children..Covering them in prayer is the starting place....

Char said...

Hi Rebecca,
I think too that we all must be either in hell or going down that road fast. I can't explain what is happening to us or our world, but it's not the same one I remember. With all that we know, it's just getting worse and worse every year.
I was bullied in school, but it was something that seemed to be quite common. Bigger kids, smarter kids, richer kids, etc. Someone always feels better than someone else and has to be the bully.
Why? I used to think that maybe this was just a natural process of humans, taking hurt out on others, afterall, adults bully each other, beat their spouses and worse.
Countless children thinking there is no other way, no hope for them.
It just makes your heart cry.
With all we know, you would think we would be improving, not getting worse, but sadly, it seems we are.
Is there any shame in anything anymore, or do we just find an excuse for terrible behavior?
I can't think of anything someone does anymore that brings shame upon them. Afterall, we wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, would we?
I am so sorry for your son and all the years he kept this inside his heart. Finally, it's out and the healing can begin.
I think our family was very lucky during our childrens high school days. We lived in Germany in a very small town, and they went to an American school with a very tight knit class.
I count my blessings each and every day.
You are so right to ask the question, how can parents turn a blind eye to what their children are up too, or themselves....
it's just sad, I don't know any other word for it.
With that being said, I say to you, smile, love your friends and family and above all, believe, find hope that one day, this will all change for the better.
Have a nice week Rebecca,
Char

Anne said...

I am so thankful your son was spared.My daughter was being bullied.We switched schools because nothing was being done.This happened at a Christian school so public or Christian does not matter.Bullies are everywhere.Things are much better.She has lots of friends now and is very happy.I am so proud of her.Through it all she never said I don't want to go to school.And she managed to keep her grades up.Her dream is to be a veterinarian.I know she will do it.

GoldenAngelsWorks said...

WOW! That is crazy.

I was bullied as a child and watching my kids be bullied is so scary.

Anymore you never know what can happen.

This world is getting scarier and scarier.

E. Frum said...

Dear Rebecca.
First I want to say that I am so happy I found your blog, I so enjoy it and have learned so much. I had to go back to your beginning blog and read it all. Thank you for all you share in teaching us how you do what you do.
Now about todays post, oh it gave me chills. Your son was very brave and smart weather he knew it or not, and to go to school every day after and face that alone knowing those teachers would not help. I can,t under stand how adults could not do any thing, my God and my heart would not let me just stand and watch such things like that happen I would be in it before I knew it. When my daughter was about the same age she had to take a make up class in summer school at a different high school their was a group of very bad girls who put her threw a lot the first day, she did come home an tell me so the next day I drove her to the school and the girls were waiting for her to get off the bus when she got out of the car they started for her and I got out just looked at them walked her to her class then went to talk with the principal let him know what was going on and remained him he was responsible for her while she was their. I had to pick her up at the door and walk her to class every day she went to summer school.
I don,t under stand why some need to see others hurt.

Jen said...

I cried while reading this post. I'm on board with all you say. This hatred and violence must be stopped. We think alike, as I often think that things happening around me is like a living hell! Of course there was bullying while I was growing up, but nothing like what is happening today. As I await our first grandchild, I pray that things will get better in the years to come...it just has to.

Jeannette

Teresa said...

Rebecca, I am so glad that you posted this! This is really becoming a problem! Not that it wasn'tt before, but it seems even worse now. Use to be mainly boys doing it. But now the girls are just as bad or worse. Thier has been more suicides in the news lately indenifing bulling as the cause. Kids as young as 10 or even less. There was one on the news the other night. Apparently a 17 year old girl was accused of hitting 2 girls with her car. The MEDIA (they always have to get their say in before they get all the facts...or at least most of the media does) made her out to be the bad one. Only to find out that she was trying to leave the bullies and one of them jumped on the hood of her car as she was driving away. Badly injured. The other girl didn't get hurt. If it wasn't for a witness coming forward she would have been accused of attempted manslaughter or something just as bad. She still can get sentenced to years in jail. Can you imagine trying to leave the situation and that happening? She had been bullied for a long time. There are so many cases now like this.
I am so happy that your son was strong enough to handle this. I can't imagine going back to school after that happened. But he can see the love he has for you that he spared you the pain of knowing this. I know he was afraid also of what would happen and what else he would have had to endure if the police were called, etc. But I think it was his love for his family and knowing that he had your love that made him into the fine man he is today. That it didn't ruin his life is a miracle in it's self.

Pink Roses and Teacups said...

Rebecca,

I am so glad your son was okay. He was no doubt so scared to tell anyone. Two of my girls were bullied. One in elementary and middle school. Harrased on the way home, and rocks thrown at her. The kid lived across the street too! I grabbed the kids arm one day outside, and told him he better leave her alone or I would break it. I meant it too. The mother comes over screaming at me! I told her I am a lady, and do not curse scream and yell. she calmed down, and we worked it out. After that, the kid left her alone. Then in high school, some kid made up a fake My Space page with my daughters name. What a nightmare. My heart goes out to these mothers and children of bullies. Let's get um!!!!

Hugs,
Debbie

Theresa said...

It is horrible these days and it makes me sick at my stomach! There are so many mean kids and young adults that get their kicks out of picking on others! I am sorry that Brandon went thru all that he did but SO happy that he made it thru to carry on his life! My Daughter checks in on her kids and I am happy about that! We have all got to peek in on them and keep the bullies in check! Great post, SO important!

HUGS!

Suzann said...

Hello Rebecca,
First of all how lucky and brave your son is!!! My son Corey was also bullied when he was in high school. I think the world has gotten worse. Kids these days KNOW they can get away with their behavior and it sickens me to think that. Since there are people out there have abused children now no one can touch a child without it being called child abuse. There are plenty of children that need structure in their life and so many of them that do not get it. It is so scary to even think what it will be like for my grandchildren.
Thank you for your post today, it is something that EVERYONE needs to talk to their children about.
Hope your week is wonderful!!
Suzann ~xoxo~

Ginger said...

Oh that story hits so close to home. My son was bullied all his high school years by the same bully, and his father was a teacher, but nothing was ever done to stop this boy and to this day I believe it made problems in my sons health from stress. It is too bad teachers just look over this as "playing". I am so glad Brandin was spared a more negative outcome. I agree something has to be done.
XO
Gimger

Jil~Say It With Roses said...

Hello Rebecca,
This is a shocking and dangerous situation that is spreading across our country and neither schools or parents are working to control the fire.

I am sure you were shocked to hear your sons story and grateful to God that while he was severely beaten, he was not murdered.

For a week now our beautiful and gifted seventeen year old granddaughter has been with us because of bullying. She is a high honor roll student and debates with Model UN and is a gifted singer with the voice of an angel. She had a very unimportant quarrel with her best girl friend, a girl thing. This girl turned all the girls against her and then all the high school. Sounds unreal doesn't it? She walked the halls between classes with ugly names being said to her...this good and responsible young person. She put up with it for two months and then one day told her mother she could not take it any longer. She wanted to come to us. She is strong and steady and has already made friends here, but I know her heart is hurting as well as her mom's. My heart hurts as well as I took care of this girl for the first two and a half years of her life while her mom worked. ( Her father left when she was three months old to fly and and did not want to be tied down with a family...he was killed four years ago flying and took four of his military pilot friends with him. )

Her mom knows the mom of this best friend and tried to get the girls to patch up this silly quarrel, but the other mother said she did not involve herself in her childrens affairs. What???? What kind of a mother would say that? Right there is a lack of moral responsibility and what was she teaching her daughter?....I was shocked.
I can't fathom such ugliness in the hearts of so many of our young people today.

I did not mean to go on so, but when I saw what your post was about and what has happened in our family, I just had to write...
Warmly,
Jil ♥

Rebecca said...

I accidentally deleted the comment from Deb from Mosaic Magpie! :( Too fast with my fingers. Here's here comment! Sorry Deb! xo Rebecca

MosaicMagpie has left a new comment on your post "~~~~~THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING~~~~~ It's Got To...":

Great post, my friend. I know you are thankful Brandon was being watched over that terrible day. So many think of high school as the most wonderful time of their life. Not true for everybody. I was bullied in front of a teacher once.....she encouraged me to fight! The aggressor was twice my size and I knew nothing of how to fight. I have often thought back on that day and why would a teacher encourage children to fight? There have been bullies for as long as there have been people. I think the parents have a lot to do with making a child into a bully. Some may even encourage it like the before mentioned teacher. There are so many good teachers that see problems and try to help, but they cannot be everywhere. I am not sure how to bring an end to bullying and I am so sorry for what Brandon had to endure. Vengeance is mine says the Lord....wow, that is a lot to answer for and to.
Deb

Michelle said...

This post brought me to tears, Rebecca.

I can only imagine what you must have felt like when he told you that. I would have been horrified as a mother.

Shirley said...

Hi Rebecca, I have watch things go down hill since they have taken the discipline out of the schools and homes. I don't mean to beat your child, but to teach them right from wrong and let them know there will be consequences. They have been let get away with it for so long that they think nothing will happen to them so they can do what ever they want. We need to have punishment for their behavior, but unfortunately you have people think that their children wouldn't do that. Sometimes parents are even involved. Shocking isn't it. I don't know the answer, but I do wish they would all discipline back in the schools and parents would be come responsible for their families. Take care Your Missouri Friend.

Rita said...

Rebecca, thank you for sharing that with us. It is so disturbing to know that such things happen and it scares me for what my grandchildren will grow up with. I know you were horrified. Thankfully your son is alive and doing well today.

Carolyn said...

Oh my, Rebecca!! My heart is breaking for you & your son & family! How SAD!! I used 2 b a teacher's aide & refused to let any child get away with bullying when I was on the playground ...was SO shocked how the parents of the bully would respond & protect their "poor mistreated baby"!! I was like are you kidding!! What are you teaching this little monster by responding this way???...and what is he or she going 2 b like when they're older!! :( It would truly sicken me. One of the bullies I dealt with started attacking my daughters as she was the same age....being at school as an aide and being highly visible, fortunately, it didn't get too far out of hand. I am thankful that my girls went to a small Christian school though bec it was easier to keep things under control. But even so, such nonsense happens in Christian schoools too. :(

I feel your pain and thank you for sharing. I will be praying and also be mindful for my granddaughters. May God bless you and heal yours and your son's heart.

Love, Carolyn @ cottage sunshine

joanne said...

wow, that just blew me away. Your son must have been tortured to carry around that incident for so long...bless his heart. I think all of us have been touched by bullying in one way or another and I couldn't agree with you more. I fear for my grandchild for this world is not a safe place anymore. I know my own have dealt with it...it must stop. I hope we can make a difference...and pray.

Angie said...

Thank you for addressing it, Lynn. Unfortunately, bullying can take all forms. Even Parents bully their children! It often has a domino effect: the bullied and harmed child turns into a bully (or, in my case, becomes a victim). It's even worse now that our kids and grandkids have open access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Our children need to learn how to protect themselves from not only personal bullying but how to be smart enough to keep their personal lives out of the "Social Network." I'm so happy that your son escaped worse harm at the hands of a demented man. He's blessed to have you as a Mom.

Thanks so much for the post.

Best to you,
Angie

Passionate for White said...

Thank you for sharing what had to be a very painful memory for you and your son.

Lynn Stevens said...

Rebecca your story touched me so deeply. When my son was younger he had something similar happen when he got off the bus, a group of 4 kids beat him up. He came home crying and didn't want to tell us what had happened. We pressed him until he told us what happened and went to the school, they said since he had just gotten off the bus it wasn't their problem. I was mortified that they wouldn't do anything. The funny thing that happened next was when the leader of this little group started to pick on my son again, the entire bus of kids joined forces with my son and said they would have to take all of them on! Yeah!! No more bullying!
I've heard since that this young man is now in prison where he belongs!
Things must change!!!
TFS
hugs Lynn

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