Sending Love to the Bullies

Sending Love to the Bullies

Still awake after waking at 2am, my mind wandered back to the little boy who broke my heart yesterday. I was working the cash register at my part-time job at a major outdoor clothing store. A man and his eight year old-ish son were at the counter looking at wallets. The boy was quiet and shy but given the way his dad was treating him, I understood why.

 

The man kept criticizing the boy, saying things like he should get a pink wallet because of how he’d been acting that day. The boy grew smaller as i observed their interaction, his dad clearly wanting those around to witness the humiliation directed not only at the boy but toward women. ‘If you have emotions you must be a woman and wear pink.’ The child was being bullied and the father hadn’t a clue what an ass he was being, how he was damaging his son.

I smiled and teasingly said to the ‘man,’ “Hey, we’re almost an all-female staff. Be careful…” The guy laughed, not understanding what I was saying and kept on harassing his little boy. Finally, I walked over to the boy and said, “My brother is a man, he hunts turkey and deer and he wears pink shirts.” The little boy broke into a huge smile for just a moment and as we made eye contact I knew he felt understood. If only for a brief time, someone was on his side.

Tears prompted me to write this as a way to send love to the boy. But I  also send love to his father who was probably bullied by his father. Shall we send love now, through our deep breath and exhalation, to all the bullies whose pain is so great the only way they feel relief is to pass it on to their children.

And to the little boy…may you find the courage to be yourself, to feel and express your emotions, to be the math nerd or the science whiz or musician or actor or writer or artist or professional soccer player….may you always be true to your heart and find support, sometimes where you least expect it.

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