The Anti-Bully

Years ago, when the girls were in first and second grade, we sat in the food court of the PX (Post Exchange) and Sassy said she wanted to go get a drink refill, but she wanted to wait til this other kid wasn’t over there. I asked her why she didn’t want to be around him, and she told me, “That’s Eric. No one likes him.”
“Why not?”
“Cause he’s so weird. He’s always roaming around the classroom, talkin to himself. He wears these patch things on his arm and they’re supposed to help him sit down and be quiet, but they don’t work.”


How I felt was monumentally affected. Sad for Eric is an understatement. Sad for his parents, too. Grievous might be the better word.
“Sassy. That could be a little version of your brother over there. He had the same troubles as Eric, only he didn’t roam around and talk to himself, he just couldn’t focus the way you and I can focus. He was always thinking about whatever wasn’t happening. He would think about what he’d done before, or worry about what else he would hafta do, so he couldn’t pay attention to what was goin on. He didn’t wear patches, but he took a pill every day so he could focus. It was hard for him to make friends because he was so scatterbrained. He couldn’t pay attention to what his friends were sayin, either.”
“Yes, really. Go over there. Right now. Go smile and be friendly and talk to Eric like he is a smaller version of Bubba. Be kind to him. Show him your kindness. He might be as awesome as Bubba is, and no one has even taken the time to find out.”
Grudgingly, she went. There was some awkward smiling, and some chatter before she bounced back to the table, beaming with happiness.
“How’d it go?”
“Good. Now, when you go back to school, you be kind s’more. You be friendly and warm. Make him feel like you really care about him. You can help him just by doing that.”

Now and again, she would share some Eric information, like Eric also liked soccer and drawing. He had a little brother who drove him crazy, just like her sister drives her crazy. Finally, I heard the news that Eric got a good patch that helped him.

Toward the end of Sassy’s second grade year, I was introduced to Eric’s mother at a school function. She was actually a woman I’d met about a year before. On cold metal bleachers, we had sat together for hours in the dark and rain of spring soccer try-outs. I had liked her. I knew she had two boys, close in age, like my littlest girls, but we had spoken mostly about the trauma of deployments and books we had both enjoyed.
She spoke with accolades for Sassy and what a good friend she’d been to Eric.

Driving home, I asked Sassy, “Does Eric have a lot more friends now?”
“Oh yes!” she said. Said the girls all loved him. Said he was so funny all the time.
I told her how Eric’s mother had raved about her. I told her to remember how Eric’s life had changed, to remember you only need one good friend, to remember how one act of kindness can change someone’s whole life. I asked, “Remember how your teacher said if she can get you to do something, then the whole class will follow suit?”
“That makes you a leader. Lead other people to kindness. Be the anti-bully.”

A year later, Eric was quite the popular kid. We went to another school function, where Eric sat in front of us, and girls actually fought over who would sit next to him.

My little girl helped that happen, just by being kind when it was unpopular to do so.

I die of pride, and I have only my son’s atypical brain to thank for that.


About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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64 Responses to The Anti-Bully

  1. LindaGHill says:

    This made me cry. Thank you for teaching your kids compassion. And thank you for sharing this.


  2. LindaGHill says:

    Do you mind if I re-blog this?


  3. orbthefirst says:

    There was a kid in school way back when..Doug something..I used to watch him get picked on and stuff because he was mentally disabled. So one day I had enough. I pretty much took him under my wing, and watched out for him. Because I watched out for him, so did my friends. I cant say it really “helped” him in ways other than not getting constantly picked on & left out, but he did seem happier after that.


  4. LindaGHill says:

    Reblogged this on lindaghill and commented:
    Every parent needs to read this touching story. Seriously, please read this. Be sure to comment on Joey’s site.
    Thank you so much, Joey, for sharing this.


  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Terrific post – teaching children about compassion and empathy is giving them a great gift. As the world events unfold with bullying on a frightening and violent level, you wonder how so many young people now waving rifles around missed out on that gift. Your daughter sounds awesome and so is her mum.


  6. Terrific post – and now you have two reblogs…


  7. Joey,
    Your daughter’s kindness is a testament to your parenting. It took more than one conversation to make her an anti-bully. I bet you’ve modeled kindness for your children in many ways.


  8. davidprosser says:

    Reblogged this on The BUTHIDARS and commented:
    The way forward if we can follow this little girls’s example or rather her awesome mum’s.


  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    What a wonderful story! A big, huge, ginormous kudos to you for your parenting, and another ginormous kudos to your daughter for taking your advice. THIS is the type of thing I love to read after listening to and reading about horrible events in the news this morning. Warmed my heart.


  10. A.PROMPTreply says:

    This is lovely and a good reminder of the power of one!


  11. meANXIETYme says:

    That means both you and your post. 🙂


  12. Dan Antion says:

    What a great story and a fantastic life lesson for your daughter. Do many moms would have dropped that after the first sentence. I’m proud of you and especially of your daughter.


  13. KendiBanks says:

    This Is Beautiful!


  14. goddesslyv says:

    Thank you for sharing ! My daughter has ADHD and she has been on both sides of bullying (albeit, when she “bullied” it was merely an inability to control her impulses)
    We are an anti bullying house and I ensure that my kids invite the “outcast” to their birthday parties. The ones that otherwise would probably not get an invite to a birthday. We have done this each years since my oldest started school. (He is in grade 4 now)

    Be the change you want to see in this world. Good job for teaching your girls this!


  15. Jewels says:

    I love this story! ❤


  16. hollie says:

    Yay for Sassy! The anti-bully sounds like a kick ass super hero! Even though you nudged her to it, I think us adults could learn a lot from the kindness that children show!


  17. Sherry says:

    Well my dear Joey, if they ever get to a point of requiring people who want to be parents to pass a test, I’m sure you would be part of the modeling of good parenting…good personing too…you are the best…you should be proud.


  18. spacurious says:

    Your little girl and her mom are incredibly awesome…
    Sweetest story ever.


  19. Deborah says:

    Reblogged this on Container Chronicles and commented:
    For anyone who thinks that one person can’t make a difference, read on. This is a beautiful story of compassion, action, and change.


  20. meg68 says:

    A drink, I will have, in your honor tonight.
    Cheers to the good people you are raising 😀


  21. pambrittain says:

    Joey, this is truly beautiful. I see we share friends.


  22. shanjeniah says:

    This is beautiful! You and your daughter and your son and Eric and his mom are also beautiful. And I am so reblogging this as soon as I finish typing this comment! =D


    • Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment, and the re-blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • shanjeniah says:

        I love that you shared this story, so that people could have the chance to stop and think about how they might approach similar issues.

        The best way, I think, to prevent bullying, is to help children know what it is, and to see where they might be unwittingly engaging in it. If we can raise a generation of non-bullied, and non-bullying children, bullying will seem atypical, and many more people will have defenses to protect themselves and others.

        Happy to share this!


  23. shanjeniah says:

    Reblogged this on shanjeniah and commented:
    I haven’t reblogged anything for months – but this… I need to share this, and help it to spread across the world!


  24. Aquileana says:

    Thanks for spreading concience and commitment on this tough topic. Very appreciated.
    Best wishes, Aquileana 😀


  25. Kat's Den says:

    I can feel your pride in this, and it is well deserved. Kudos to your daughter! And kudos to you for raising her right. 🙂


  26. ivyon says:

    I can’t express how much I like this! I can’t… Thank you, thank Sassy ❤


  27. words4jp says:

    this is lovely.


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