Geez, it has been 17 days since my last post, where has the time gone? Now in my defence, I did have a lot going on in the last little while but…the dust has settled, the smoke has cleared and I am back in front of the keyboard doing this blogging thing that I love so much. October was like a blink but the month has created some moments of creativity for me so I hope to share some of that in the weeks to come such as my cousin getting married so stay tuned. In short, the ceremony was beautiful, the food was great and it was very nice to see some old friends. Most of the family were there too and we all got the chance to spend a night together like the good old days.
My mother and stepfather stayed with us for the wedding which was a couple of weeks ago and I must say, we had a lot of fun and got in some good chats. One of those chats we had is what lead me to make this post. We were travelling downtown on a Sunday and my sister had been calling for my mother a few times but bad timing (mad tizzy to find a Halloween costume) just meant that mom would call her back when she could. While we were taking a look around the Halloween store my mother finally took the call and spoke to my sister. The call ended and my mother made me aware of what it was that my sister wanted to speak to her about. I was instantly mad, it was about my nephew who had a experience with bullying just the night before and my sister was just letting us know.
My nephew has autism, he is a very functional independent young boy and so bright that it amazes me sometimes that he is even deemed to be. He reads at a level beyond his years, loves conversation and is constantly wanting to know how and why things are. He is a great kid and he reminds me of myself sometimes and now he’s getting bullied and I was kilometres away feeling completely helpless.
Like me, he too has a passion for bike-riding. He loves riding his bike all around town and has since been visiting the local youth center which is something he used to shy away from before. He is quiet and doesn’t like to be forced into engaging people and needs to be allowed to make those steps on his own. He has accomplished that when it comes to this youth center, he was once scared to go but now he is there almost everyday. He’s definitely a go-getter and if he wants something he knows he can do it but we always try to tell him that sometimes there may be obstacles.
Just a few nights ago he faced a big obstacle, he was hanging out and having fun at the center when some kids offered him an ice cream. Accepting the ice cream and looking at it as nothing more then being friendly he thanked the young boy and returned back to his seat to enjoy it. It was later realized that the kids had spit in the ice cream before they had offered it to him and he blindly ate the whole thing without knowing. It would have never been known if it were not for a young girl who told her parents who in turn called my sister to inform her of what had happened because she felt bad. Mad was certainly an understatement for me at the time, I was full of emotions and the worst part was I couldn’t physically be there for him. I blogged about bullying before and it was about me but now I get to see it from a uncles perspective and have to deal with those emotions, I especially didn’t like it. Mother and I discussed it for a bit and I began to think about it a little more in depth and it got a bunch thoughts bouncing around.
Yes, I managed to make it out of high school unscathed but trust me, there were moments of bullying that I went through that weren’t pleasant experiences at all. Now that I have a daughter that’s in university, several young nieces, nephews and cousins in high school I worry all the time that they potentially would be plagued with bullying. I don’t let that worry consume me like most parents shouldn’t because it is another unfortunate part of life. This was a part of life that my nephew had to face and experience and no matter how much it hurt me, it had and was going to happen. So my thought was initially the emotion that they were picking on my nephew because he was autistic but it quickly turned to the thought of bullies just being bullies.
Here’s a honest question, have you ever bullied someone? No matter the degree I’m sure a lot of you have bullied and there’s a good chance you’ve been bullied as well. We all have an acquaintance with the feelings that go with both. I heard someone say that other day that what if we were all the same person but just living in different vessels of life, shouldn’t we treat each other like they were us? I thought that phrase was a really good positive take on life and if true then yes I think we would treat each other differently but is that what it takes? Bullies are scared of the unknown, scared of the different and sadly too scared to ask why?
Thinking about it since and after hearing that my nephew was doing fine after the whole ordeal, I felt better and it gave me faith that he dealt with it his way. When we deal with things, they are our things, but when they happen to the people that we love and care for we feel panicked that we couldn’t swoop in and save the day. Teach your kids about bullying, talk to them and see what makes them tick, find out what kind of friend your kid would make. Bullying may always exist but as parents and role models we should do our part to teach our kids why it shouldn’t.