Back to the Subject of Bullying: Watching my Son Struggle!

27 Aug

It always amazes me how God weaves a theme into our lives for several weeks at a time.  

Little did I know, last week when I wrote a couple of posts about how someone attempted to bully me and I learned to push back, that this would become the theme of several of my conversations this week.

But it has.  As I have repeated the old saying several times “Hurt people hurt people” so I have watched some things be purposely done to hurt people I love.

Yet, I have not the slightest doubt that, if I were to call any of the people who have done these hurtful things to task, I would get to hear a story about how someone first hurt them.  

We so love to justify our bullying of other people (and let us use the correct word for it–it is bullying).  

We live on a fallen planet.  God wants to grow us up into maturity, but not into hardheartedness.  So we need to learn to have compassion on hurting people.  We need to learn to not go for revenge when others lash out at us.  But we also need to learn wisdom so that we can shield the precious people we love from becoming the targets of these people who have been hurt so much that they have turned into bullies themselves . . . 

I think of a time when our sweet, naive son was about ten years old.  

He has always been so trusting, with those wide, steady brown eyes watching us in absolute confidence that we would be wise enough to tell him how to solve his problems.

 I shudder to remember the times I have fallen short, either being impatient with him or just flat out telling him I don’t know the answers.  So many questions, so many inadequacies revealed in me.  

But those wide, steady brown eyes keep watching me with confidence.

And there was that Saturday morning when a neighborhood girl, whose name shall remain unspoken (for I have no intent to embarrass her), got Joey to wake up early.  

He was around age ten and had not often interacted with this young girl.  But she told him she had a present for him.  She told him that on Friday night–said she would meet him at 8 AM on Saturday morning outside our house with the present.

I kind of saw through the story right away.  I didn’t trust it.  But how do you deal with a naive child in such a situation?  If you teach him that he is never to trust anyone, you teach him to harden his heart in advance, before anyone ever has a chance to hurt him.

I decided to give her a chance–that there was at least a possibility that she really did have something for Joey.

He hardly slept that night–he was so excited.  When a person has autism, it is not often that his peers reach out to him, so this was definitely an exciting development.  He didn’t want to oversleep and miss it.

He was standing outside of our house at 8 AM sharp.  And, just as I had suspected, the young girl never came out of her house, never brought up the present in conversation again.  

I had to look in those wide, steady brown eyes and see the disappointment of being let down.

in an ironic sort of way, I was thankful that, since Joey has mostly known kindness in his life, the letdown was a big shock to him.  If he had always been bullied, I guess he would have grown to accept that as normal.   

But nothing stops the pain in our hearts when a loved one trusts someone and gets let down, does it?

May we grow to be truly wise in protecting our loved ones from wanton hurt, while never retaliating against those who have become bullies due to being bullied themselves!  






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