Friday, March 2, 2012

Shut Up, Punk!

I gave my nephews Shut Up + Run shirts for Christmas. What? It’s not like I’m trying to be pushy. They asked for the shirts. Really, they did.

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So, today my brother tells me that my ten-year-old nephew was wearing the shirt this week when a school bully approached him.

Bully: “You better shut up and run or you’ll be sorry!” (very clever!)
Nephew: “Shut up, punk!”
Bully: Silent. Turns around. Walks away.

This story made me smile. I mean, who doesn’t like a tale about a bully getting put in their place?  That’s why I like that scene from “A Christmas Story” when Ralphie loses his shit and wails on the red-haired dude who had been harassing him forever. I also like that my nephew used the word “punk.” Think about it – this word just sums it up perfectly. It’s like you took “loser,” “asshole,” “lowlife” and “fart-face” and rolled it all up into one four letter word that won’t get you kicked out of school. PUNK.

When you stand up to a bully, you are taking a huge risk. You are putting your foot down and saying “no more,” but you are also inviting a swift kick in the ass. Your chances are decent that it will work in your favor. After all, bullies are really helpless, insecure and frightened turds who need to have power over others in order to feel okay. Hence, if you show them they have no power to scare you, they lose their balls. Sometimes.

I don’t know if that’s true. I made it up. Not like I teach Bullying 101 at the community college or anything. BTW -Bee tee dubs- since we speaking of bullies, I did love how there was no emphasis on Conda this week on the Biggest Loser. I think everyone has learned that she is Con-da a bad egg. Get it? Conda, kinda.

Yeah, yeah I know that we should all have professional mediators who come in and encourage the bully and the bullied to use “I-statements” in order to find resolution. “I really don’t feel good when you tell me you are going to kick my ass.” The bully and the bullied should pass a talking stick and sing Kumbaya. Whatever. And, I’m not making light of this bullying thing. I know it is serious business.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to say that getting behind ourselves is the best thing we can do. It doesn’t mean you have to risk life or limb, but it does mean that without confidence and belief in ourselves, we are nothing. It’s not enough to have others believe in us. We’ve got to tell it. We’ve got to exude it.  Shut up, PUNK.

Did you know Stand Up to Bullying Day is March 30?

I’m off to hit the trails before the snow moves in. If you are not sick of me yet, there is a (refurbished) article I wrote to be found at the online magazine, This Mother Can Run.

Was there ever a time you didn’t stand up for yourself and wish you had? Yes, once when I had started my first “real” job out of college and was waiting in line for the bus. I thought I was at the back of line but was at the front and some “professional” older man yelled at me in front of everyone. I was so stressed about my first day and didn’t even realize my mistake. I wish I had said something but I just cried.

What are your weekend plans? I’m doing a bit of entertaining for friends tonight and then on Sunday for my dad’s birthday. I’m hoping to throw in a long run on Sunday before a women’s retreat I’m attending. Oh yeah. I have kids. I might pay some attention to them too.

SUAR

44 comments:

  1. Nope. Chicken shit to stand up to bullies too. Until 6th grade when I figured out I didn't need to be friends with her. Strangely, the bulling stopped. When I didn't give her any power over me, she didn't have any.

    Weekend plans include picking up and distributing Girl Scout cookies, (probably eating some too) spin class, baby shower and a run. woo hoo.

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  2. Timely for us this week! My kindergartener had tears because a kid said her jacket was stupid (it was raining and her jackets wasn't a raincoat) and my 2nd grader wanted to wear his sweatshirt to the cafeteria because apparently the 5th graders make fun of him for wearing a Ravens t-shirt since football season is over. I was sick of seeing them hurt over ridiculous comments about clothing, so I gave them a little ammunition. I told them next time someone says they don't like what you are wearing, you can say, "Well I don't like your FACE, but at least I can take my t-shirt off". I know, juvenile. But sometimes you gotta take the wind out of their sails. And try not to get your ass kicked. PUNK!

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  3. We used to call it "teasing" and shook it off, moved on, or kicked butt and made us all a bit stronger. Now kids are crying "bully" and whining that someone looked cross-eyed at them and we have to call in six professionals for a school intervention. It's also become an excuse to bring a gun to school and shoot people. Sometimes "standing up" just reinforces the bullying behavior-so it's best to walk away most of the time and not give ammunition.

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    1. I know, it is interesting to see all the professionals get involved. I remember when my daughter was in second grade, she was having normal girl drama issues. Nothing major. The counselor, teacher and principal were all involved. WHAT?

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    2. This "teasing" thing kind of set me off. Yes, someone looking cross-eyed at you is teasing. But a lot of kids go beyond "teasing." They did then, and they do now. And what may seem like normal girl drama can be a lot worse than you realize, though probably not in second grade. What parents and others find out about is just the tip of the iceberg, and oftentimes they only find out something small because an incident happened in public and forced the issue.

      Frankly, I never found the antidote to being bullied. I fought back sometimes, I walked away sometimes. In the end, I just graduated. But I think the teachers KNOW they don't have all the information, so when they see something that seems small they should make certain there's not a larger mass under the surface that could kill someone. And the guns? Those aren't necessarily brought to school after an "excuse" of being bullied. I, for the record, was the one who got shot AT.

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    3. Believe me, my daughter's situation did not require professional involvement! After being a social worker in the schoos, I do realize that girl drama can get out of hand. Hell, I lived it myself. Yes, there is a time and place for adults to step in. But, I also think kids need to learn to work stuff out if possible. This is a life skill.

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  4. One time in college I met up with some friends at a club in Dallas (We Be Clubb'n). Me and the two people I rode with got there first and got in line to go in. The rest of our party showed up and cut in with us. Then a guy I had class with spotted me and we both realized he was in the wrong line so I let him and his friend cut in with us. My friends boyfriend went absolute ape shit. He started yelling at the guy in my class, and then yelling at me in front of everyone in that line. NONE of my friends took up for me (not my friends anymore, that's for damn sure) and I just walked away and went back to my car and cried. What a puss. Wish i would have said something to that asshole and all my turd friends.

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  5. Good job to your Nephew! And super cute that they wanted the shirts!

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  6. There's good 'ole Cheryl with her positive comments up above!

    Anyhow--good for your nephew! It's not easy to stand up to bullies at all. I had a group of mean girls who used to bully me on the bus in middle school. I didn't do anything about it but ignore it and eventually they stopped. I just hope my kids get away somewhat unscathed in the bullying department.

    Have a great weekend!

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  7. You forgot to include 'douche bag' in the list. LOL

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  8. "I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've brought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!" Dr. Seuss

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    1. I REALLY like that Jen...and there are many ways to "...bring a big bat..." !

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    2. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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  9. Not really. My mom taught me from a very young age to stand up for myself. When I was in 5th grade and all the girls started wearing bras, the boys would run around snapping our bra straps. A boy did it to me one day and I went home and told my mom. She said the next time he does that, punch him. So I did - knocked him on his ass. (It was self-defense by legal standards). So he told the principal, who called our parents. When the boy's parents started complaining about how I beat up their poor little boy, my mom lit into them and said that if their little pervert could keep his hands to himself, he wouldn't have gotten knocked on his ass. She said she told me to punch him and she'd tell me to do it again. Since that day, I've made more than one person sorry for bullying my friends or me, although I don't typically resort to violence anymore...unless it's self-defense.

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  10. I honestly cannot ever remember being the target of a bully....with that said I remember seeing kids through out elementary school and middle school "tease" or make fun of a certain girls last name. She always looked devastated and so humiliated during and after their teasing.

    To this day I often think of her and wonder where she ended up. AND wonder WHY didn't I say SOMETHING to the "punks" doing the teasing...had I just spoke up once it may have thwarted a lot of the years of pain. (For her and for me)

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  11. Good job Nephew! I hate bullying! There have been plenty of times I wished I had stood up for myself or someone else. I have learned form that and now am much better at it. This weekend is filled with basketball games and baseball practices. Fun! Have a great weekend!

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    1. It does take practice and guts. I try to say what I need to say while being polite and staying in control. Not always successful, though!

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  12. Amazing how that situation at the bus stop has stuck with you all these years (assuming your first day at your first real job wasn't last week). It just goes to show that bullying AFFECTS people and it is not cool. Kudos to your nephew for not taking that crap.

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  13. As a GOTR coach we teach those I statements to say when bullied. I had an actual physical altercation with a bully where she flat out slapped me across the face...how did I react....I slapped her back and walked away. Not a lesson to teach to my kids in the future!

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  14. Great post...confrontation is NOT a four letter word, and is most often what needs to happen to make the bullying stop. It doesn't feed into the bullying...it stops it.

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  15. I've always been pretty good at sticking up for myself. But I used to tend to get very 'heated' and the big reaction sometimes made the bullies want to push more...until I creamed them in the head with my clog (true story). My oldest is very little and quiet and smart and has long been a target. Interestingly, he is always the one who gets in trouble. Someone will mess with him and he'll holler loudly as he turns to retaliate. Teachers hear the holler and then see his retaliation but never the instigation. It was a real issue in elementary school...not so much in middle school...thankfully! I'm all about using words, but sometimes they are ineffective. A kid can only be a punching bag for so long.

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    1. Yes, a kid can only be a punching bag for so long. I know my mom struggled so much with finally telling my brother to fight back. But it had gone on for so long, she felt it was time.

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  16. LOL, your nephew will have stories to tell because of your shirt!

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  17. The first thing that came to mind was that my daughter stood up to a 'mean girl' (they're 1st grade).
    The girl, a known story teller {read: needs attention}, was saying things to the three or four girls at the table that weren't very nice. My daughter stood up to her telling her that "kids won't want to play with you if you talk like that", and with that, all the girls stood up and walked away from Mean Girl. As they did this, Mean Girl said she'd call the police and shut down the school (or something to that effect). When I heard this from my daughter, I was so proud of her for standing up to the girl, and I immediately e-mailed the teacher with the details my daughter had shared. I'm so psyched about Stand Up Day, but we're on spring break that week! Will have to research it more and see what we can do.

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  18. Good for your nephew! (I mean the "punk" part - not the getting bullied part).

    When my youngest was newborn I had an older gentleman (I use that term very lightly) ask whether she was a boy or a girl. I answered and he said, "I'll never understand why people don't just get a puppy." I was too stunned (and post-partum sleep-deprived) to come up with a comeback. Things I wished I had said: Too bad your mama didn't follow your advice. Or: It's much more fun to make one of these. What would you have said?

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    1. I like your first comeback!! But honestly, people like that probably just need to be ignored!

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  19. I had a horrible time in highschool and NEVER stood up for myself.. I'd love to give those girls a piece of my mind today :) Oh well, live and grow up.

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  20. My son just got bullied at school this week. He came in from recess with a booger hanging out of his nose (he didn't know, because it was freezing out). Some mean girl made fun of him and made all the other kids laugh at him, so he wiped the booger off his nose and onto her coat!! When the principal asked me what I thought would be an appropriate punishment for him, I asked, what about her?! I feel like she deserved it. What do you think?? I know it's silly, but I was proud of him that a) he didn't shove her or lose his temper (too much) and b) that he didn't just "take" what she said to him.

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  21. BadA$$ nephew! Love it! Conda (my anaConda don't want none, unless you got buns, hun! Sorry, had to.) irks me to no end. Grrr!

    And, you are +2500 followers AWESOME! Keep writing--love ya!

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  22. After just getting home from Bermuda you expect me to have weekend plans??? Sheesh.

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    1. Your weekend plans must be to cry and wallow in the fact that vacation is indeed OVER.

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  23. Where can we buy a t-shirt? I love this story!

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  24. I'm running the St Patrick's Day 8k in Raleigh, NC! (If it's not cancelled due to impending thunderstorms)

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  25. I dont know about the "I" statements. Sometimes, we try to talk and reason too much with bullies (who, if they have any kind of reasoning, they probably won't resort to bullying).
    Shut up punk was wonderful - Direct. Firm. And your nephew threw the ball back into the bully's face. Great!

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  26. This is so awesome! I love that he stood up to the bully and I so love that you gave them SUAR shirts. I am a baby and rarely stand up to bullies or similar things so this was a great post for me to read!

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  27. I have twin 8th grade boys; one of them is smaller built and had a history of being bullied. A much larger 9th grader, who regularly picked on my son, was walking with his posse and shouldered my son into a locker in the hall, hitting him in his newly, multi-thousand-dollar mouthful of braced teeth, bloodying his lip in the process.

    I've always taught them to walk away, but never be afraid to defend themselves. This incident was not the first time it had happened. This time however, my son calmly walked up to the bully (who was enjoying the cheers of his entourage), looked him in the eye, and then kneed him in the balls as hard as he could, dropping him to the floor in front of his now-silent audience.

    Bullying problem solved. There's a lesson in there, somewhere.

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    1. Wow. Yes there is a lesson in there somewhere. I give your son major kudos for having the guts to do what sounds like needed to be done.

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  28. My daughter attends Westview middle school. Last week (Wednesday I believe?) was unofficial "Pink-Shirt" day, following an example set in Canada to take up anti-bullying. She said lots of kids participated. I know it's only a drop in a large bucket but I find those drops damn encouraging!

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  29. I would love one of these shirt... Where can I buy one?

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  30. I've had many times where I wish I stuck up for myself when I didn't. The last was in my last job where my manager would say don't do overtime because we can't pay you but get the work done no matter what. The whole team of us was working day and night to get things done...barely sleeping. I eventually realized no job is worth putting your health at risk and stood up for myself. Being bullied as an adult can be so subtle but have such serious implications. So nice that your newphew understands the need to stick up for himself at a young age.

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  31. AMEN about Conda!!! I am SO SICK of that irritating girl. Her and her brother both act like 15 yr old babies!!! I think what irritates me the most though, even more so than the pot stirring, is how everytime the camera is on her she smiles..even when she's talking about something serious. I just want to wipe the smile off her face! UGHHHH!

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  32. Come on, commom sense tells us "teasing" and "bullying" their own, two different, act of behaviors. Bullying shouldnt be tolerated.

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