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she almost never cries…

November 3, 2008

she walked in with tears streaming down her face. she almost never cries. she’s very strong, confident, stoic and wise beyond her 14 1/2 years. but for this moment, kass was broken, hurt and angry.

we sat on the edge of the bed and she told me everything. there’s a girl on the bus, a senior, who picks on everybody. no one is safe from her wrath. this day, kass tried to, respectfully, support a classmate. well, it wasn’t received very well. the names started flying. names i’d rather not share here. a personal, verbal, attack on kass.

kass held it together until she got off the bus and started walking toward the house. she was determined not to let this girl see her cry. but once she walked in the door, her safe spot to land, she let it out.

how does this make a mama’s heart feel? angry. frustrated. protective. angry. sad. hurt. angry. and a little angry.

my first instinct was to walk on to the bus the following day and introduce myself to the un-attentive bus driver and the precious young lil bully senior girl that needs her mouth occupied by a big ole bar of irish spring, inserted by me! while dad wants to follow the bus to the girls stop and introduce himself to her parents 😯

after a couple hours of calming my heart down, i remembered…”hurt people, hurt people.”


she doesn’t need a bar of soap crammed down her throat. she needs love. she needs positive reinforcement. she needs our prayers. she also needs to be held accountable for her actions, true. and i hope she will be. but more than anything…she needs love. love from the unexpected. love from her “enemies”.

it’s so easy to react with anger at people who talk down to others, who can’t be nice in what should be normal, mature conversations. but again…i have to remember…hurt people, hurt people.

so, what do you think breeds a bully?

and what have you found to be the best way to handle things like this?

[i’ll be gone most of the day, but will be around by evening. i’m looking forward to catching up with you all later! so please…talk amongst yourselves.]

40 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2008 4:59 am

    I think fear breeds bullying. If we have a safe spot to land, we cry. If not, that emotion will result in, well unpredictable behavior. Kuddos for recognizing four-letter-tears. Each case is different but 1 Cor 13 is a guide. Remembering that children are often windows into the home is also a good guide…like Kass respectfully supporting her classmate even when she probably knew doing so would not go well for her.

  2. November 3, 2008 5:21 am

    Tam – do you remember the story papa told about mama who had a co-worker that verbally abused her? Papa sent her flowers at work with a note: “you are missing a great opportunity for a friend in mama.” They became working friends – it healed. You may just want ignore or find a way to heal the relationship. It may be rejected, but it may help Kass heal as well.

  3. November 3, 2008 5:34 am

    I’d probably say to the little – darlin’ – “I don’t know what it is you’re afraid of that makes you act like this, but I’m not afraid of it, and I’m not afraid of you.” Then I’d try to sneak a tract into her bookbag.

    Bullies are usually either compensating for low self-esteem or are trying to gain attention. Ric is right – this is starting in the home. This girl is just reacting to her experiences in a bad way. That said, as a senior in high school, it’s time for her to start making better descisions.

    Your daughter did the right thing. Reinforcing that will embolden her to do it again. We need to stand up for those who can’t. It will be effective if she can speak to the cause of the bullying instead of the actions, if that makes sense.

  4. heidi permalink
    November 3, 2008 5:37 am

    Ugh.. I could so write this post. But characters would change and so would activities. But oh my cow could I write this post. I won’t..

    Dissatifaction of oneself. most defianately breeds Bullying..

    Tell Kass, that she did what was right, SHE STOOD UP FOR HER FRIEND and She then walked away…

    Maybe not this week will she realize how important it was to walk away, but someone just told me recently,

    “that a coward (bully) will lose steam if you confront and walk away, and pray.” See they don’t want to be called out..

    They just want to be heard!! Allow her to flap her gums… but don’t give her anymore more power…

    Kass prayin….(hard)

  5. November 3, 2008 5:45 am

    I never had a bully, but it’s because I was a bully of sorts…with words.

    I was never able to say how I felt at home. Express any opinions whatsoever. My mom’s motto “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”

    In turn I verbally abused everyone, even my own closest friends (who didn’t stick around for very long). I had a large vocabulary thanks to my mom insisting I read the dictionary…so my attacks were always hurtful even if the kids didn’t understand what I was saying.

    The only thing that helped me was having a parent of a “friend” become my place to fall. Can’t remember where we met, but she was crafty in inviting me to hang w/ her & her daughter at their house. We watched talked, baked cookies, washed dishes…things you would do in a normal household. It gave me a whole new perspective.

    Not sure what you can do…I’m not there yet w/ my girls. But I can say that cultivating any sort of relationship w/ her can do nothing but help.


  6. November 3, 2008 7:18 am

    Hey girlie!
    So, I have been non-existant from blogworld for two weeks, mostly, because I don’t have a computer for a bit…anyway,
    I COMPLETELY understand how Kass feels, I WAS the girl that got bullied often in school.
    8th grade: There was a girl that actually wanted to kick my butt because I had a similar outfit on to hers.
    10th grade: a girl in my drama production heard RUMORS that I should have gotten the part of Abigail in the Crucible, and was told that I was upset about it, and whatever…sure, I was a little surprised that a girl came in the last day of auditions…with everyone telling me I was surely getting the part, and last minute didn’t…but I didn’t gossip about the girl. Because of that we weren’t friends after that, and you know about the other ” drama” that happened(you and mandy know anyway), so it was tough.
    Kass is a pretty girl, people are going to be jealous of her for it, and she’s smart and talented…all the reason someone would try to rain on her parade.
    Tell her don’t be discouraged but encouraged, because to be bullied means someone sees something in her that they like, and CAN’T have from within themselves…It took YEARS for me to realize that. It takes developing a backbone, and a ” WHATEV” attitude.
    In the long run of it, I KNOW she will come out on top!

  7. November 3, 2008 7:44 am

    Oh, I know about bullies all right; bullies that hurt my kids over and over again. I was even bullied and abused (verbally) by my own pastor. What I learned from all that was that I wasn’t responsible for what they did to us, but I was responsible for my reaction. I needed to repent of resentment, bitterness and anger on my part. Once that was cleared out (just by asking for forgiveness), God gave me a true love and ability to pray for them. They bully because they feel unloved and insecure. Pray for them and then watch to see what God will do. He may use you in their lives and He might not, but be alert to how He works and join Him if He gives you an opportunity to minister.

  8. November 3, 2008 7:45 am

    I should have said — former Pastor! God graciously gave us a door out of that situation!

  9. November 3, 2008 7:59 am

    Oh my. Dear girl. What a response from Mom, though! “hurting people hurt people.” So true. No good advice, as I’ve not even remotely been there before. I liked Papa’s idea, though. Love you guys!

  10. November 3, 2008 8:07 am

    I was bullied. Bullied into a fist fight in 7th grade…

    From an early age, maybe 4th or 5th grade, I was the target of the bullies. I don’t know why. My mother tried to explain it away with ‘the pecking order’. I didn’t get it. Maybe it was her way of saying hurt people, hurt people. But that explanation didn’t help. My mother didn’t know how to fix it either.

    Finally one day, the bullying got the best of me and I responded to the taunting. The other girl won. My mother’s reaction? Go to her house. Get to know her. Become her friend. Be the bigger person.

    It didn’t work. I wish she had instead taught me to pray for the other girl, to find compassion in my heart for her. We were not meant to be friends and all through the remainder of school every time I saw her, all I saw was a failed effort at reconciliation.

    I hope that WHEN the day comes (I think it comes for all of us at one point or another) I will try and teach my daughter to just pray, for the bully and for her self. I want her to find courage in the face of adversity; to find Him through the haze of hate. Maybe it’s dreaming. I’m not there yet either.

  11. November 3, 2008 8:14 am

    I got nothing because I am not a Mom and don’t understand. My first instinct was to protect and be defensive…but then as I was reading your post I was thinking about respect and how this girl probably doesn’t get any. Then I was thinking about Kass and how you probably give her loads of it because you love and trust her. Yeah…I think even if this doesn’t get resolved between the girls, it will be an amazing life lesson because you and the Mr. have created an amazing environment for your kids to learn and come to you with their problems and relationship stuff….

  12. November 3, 2008 9:20 am

    First, I’m sorry for Kassidy and for the rest of your family. On the other hand, I have to say “what a kid!” for putting her own self at risk on behalf of another.

    Now, with that said, and with all due respect, I have to disagree with some of the folks on here. The conventional wisdom that bullies act from some empty place or from their own pain has not held up to research. Current research indicates that, if anything, bullies have too much self-esteem, not a deficit. Many of them are spoiled, and often don’t face the consequences of their actions, which only encourages the bullying. Their parents tend to be of the “my little angel wouldn’t do that” school or the “it’s natural for kids that age, what do you expect me to do” school. In addition, they are often popular and the laughter and social acceptance of other kids only provides a negative reinforcement for the behavior. I have professional experience with some of these families; I dread what their kids will become when they grow up.

    Kassidy did the right thing by not letting the other kids see how upset she was. Tears to a bully are like blood in the water to sharks. However, she is now in this bully’s sights and will probably become a favorite target. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth. And these types have a way of sensing where other people are weakest and other people’s biggest hang-ups about themselves.

    I am not a parent, so take this for what it is worth. First, make sure that Kassidy’s sense of self and confidence are strongly reinforced, because bullies always go after those. Remind her whenever she is insulted to always consider the source. That often takes the sting out of it. Second, find out what the school’s policy on bullying is. In recent years, most schools have come pretty close to zero tolerance policies on bullying. If the school will discipline the girl without dragging Kassidy into it, file a complaint. If they do want to have some sort of mediation, find out about how it is done and who will be present before you agree to it.

    Bullies are not victims, they are victimizers. And by holding them accountable and imposing consequences for their behavior while they are young, we are actually doing them a favor. Better discipline from their parents and/or the school system now than discipline from the legal system when they are adults.

  13. November 3, 2008 10:56 am

    hurt, neglect, and insecurity.

    Love always wins these kinds of people. After all, what they expect back from others is exactly what they give out. Hostility and anger. When we give love and compassion in return, they are in shock. And can’t resist it for long before they understand that it’s real. Most of the time they’re not used to being loved “for real”.

  14. November 3, 2008 11:22 am

    Sweet Kass. My first instinct when I read this is to travel to Oregon and take care of that little senior chickie. Then I came to my senses. Oh, that first impulse, though…

    The thing is, I had a HORRIBLE class in school. People still talk about the fact that my senior year over half the prom was taken to jail because they were too drunk to walk straight. Some of the girls in my class made the movie Mean Girls look like a walk in the park.

    The number of times I came home crying… And not always because I was the one being picked on, I was friends with some of the people doing the bullying, but because I did what Kass did. I defended the weaker ones, often to the ridicule of my own friends. And I still feel bad about the times I didn’t defend them.

    High school is a tough time.

    I guess what I would want Kass to know is that even as you get older, there are always going to be times when people hurt you so deeply. People lash out for so many reasons… sometimes because they are hurt themselves; sometimes because they have been told they are so great they think they’re untouchable. Some of those people who act like that as kids are still going to act like that as adults. But the more Kass chooses to do the right thing and act in a way she knows is right, regardless of what others are doing, the more she is going to feel strong in herself. Looking back on some of those times now, even knowing the hurt I went through, I am most grateful for the things I can look back on and not regret how I acted.

    The most important thing I learned in high school is when my brother told me to live by example, not by words. I didn’t tell my friends how to live, but everyone knew what I would and would not do. It wasn’t always easy, sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world, but in the end being responsible for yourself and your actions really does begin to make a difference for others. It’s not Kass’ job to save these people from themselves… it’s just her job to be the best person she can be and hope that eventually helps someone else, too.

    At least that’s how I look at it.

  15. lazrus2 permalink
    November 3, 2008 11:39 am

    I TOTALLY relate — from the ‘incident’, to the ‘attack’, to her response, to your perceptions, and am gaining a lot from the comments that both instruct and confirm.

    Thanks for sharing this, and yes, it can definitely provide lessons for our ENTIRE lives in relationship with others. God has a purpose for them and us through it all !


  16. November 3, 2008 12:04 pm

    a need for control…….

  17. November 3, 2008 12:14 pm

    Well, I think first of all Kass should be proud of herself for standing up for her friend. I was bullied A LOT and no one ever stood up for me. There are so many ways to handling it, so it just depends on the person.
    I got so mad one day at one of my bullies and basically just called her out and said OK lets have it out right now. I wasn’t talking about a physical fight, but my point was that is it, lets get it out and get it over with. It was over with after that.
    Strangely God thought it would be funny to put a bully in my PE class and then have the teacher pair us up against each other in racket ball. This was a leader of a gang at my school so I tried to plead with my PE teacher that I may die in the racket ball court by her hand. Nevertheless he wouldn’t change it, and somehow we became “friends.” That was God.
    Lastly, I always wished for some bullies my parents had got involved. There were some that were relentless and never stopped. From those people I don’t think I learned anything, there just needed to be adult intervention with my parents and teachers. That of course would be up to Kass to decide, but I would ask her just in case. You never know it could be if you talk to the girls parents that they don’t know and some change could happen. It always can backfire, but that bully will be after her no matter what anyway. So those are some thoughts.

  18. November 3, 2008 12:47 pm

    As a mama, I KNOW you’re anger… and all other emotions. I have a soon-to-be 16 year old daughter and while I want to get all in her business when things like this happens, as long as it doesn’t continue, I let her try to work it out and I PRAY HER THROUGH it….yes, I know God loves them all more than we do… but if it continues, I go straight to the parents.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Praying for her….and you!

  19. November 3, 2008 12:53 pm

    i’m proud of kass for standing up for her friend. i’m sure she knew what would come her way if she did, and she did it anyway.

    i may not know what breeds a bully, but i definitely know what breeds a strong, confident, Godly daughter like kass. you and brent are amazing, hands-on, involved parents.

  20. November 3, 2008 1:06 pm

    I am so sorry to see this. As a Mom we hurt twice as much when your child is the one who falls victim to attacks. Bullies are made from fear and lack of self worth. Fear to see who they are and can be. They drive on hurting the weak. I am so glad your girl stood up for her classmate even if she broke down in your arms afterwards. Good for her. Her character and strength shines through. Encourage and love her lots. Allow her to dissolve this “issue” on her own. And only then when she has tried then you should step in. Easier said then done, but that is what I would do as her Mom.

    Way to go Kass…….

  21. November 3, 2008 1:13 pm

    I think for the most part bullys develop their behavior from their home envirnoment. Either they have a parent how is a bully, or they are negelected, have low self esteem, and react by lashing out at others.

    I was never bullied in school. Most of my life I have had a confrontational personality and have worked hard to eliminate my temper. Kass is much more mature than I was as a teen. I could learn more from her than she could from me.

  22. November 3, 2008 2:17 pm

    Ugh, bullying…

    Well, as for what breeds a bully, I would say low self-esteem but sometimes that isn’t the case. When I was Kass’ age I discovered only because I was bullied, that this one particular student’s parents thought that the sun shined out of their daughter’s backside.

    Sometimes, it could be that the person is bullied at home. So is only modelling what they see. No really easy answer here except for what Kass did. Not to let her see that her words are inflicting injury. They’re like sharks, once they sniff blood in the water that’s it.

    But the bigger picture could be that God sees this bully as someone who needs forgiveness. Forgive her for making Kass hurt, even though it hurts you and your parental instinct is to confront her… Forgive her. What she is doing is wrong and you can be angry but she needs forgiveness in her life

  23. November 3, 2008 5:36 pm

    It took a lot for your 14 year old to keep it together until she was “safe”. I think one side of this you need to “deliberately” recognise is that your daughter and you have such a relationship that she CAN feel safe “unloading” in front of you.

    I bet the bully girl doesn’t have that with her mom… or step mom.

    The Bible says that praying for your enemies is like pouring hot coals on their head. Pretty good visual there.

    Bully girl also needs to adhere to the rules for riding the bus. That will probably be your best avenue for recourse.

  24. November 3, 2008 6:14 pm

    Lots of Good advise here…

    Loving our enemies is very hard, so I tell my daughter to kill them with kindness, and pray for them. Emilie understands kindness so it is easy for her to act with it in mind, and she loves to pray.

  25. November 3, 2008 6:14 pm

    What a rough ride home. We’ve been dealing with a bully/neighbor and her 9 year old son for 6 months. There does come a point when you have to tell someone in charge..if it gets out of hand. We have to meet with police next week…:( Six long months of cussing, threats and watching her teach other little kids that same hate. We’ve seen our little 8 year old have nightmare’s and be scared to go outside. I’m so glad she has you guys and that she can talk openly with you about what she’s dealing with. She will feel so much more relief knowing you all are there…and praying.

    I do love that quote you gave about “hurt people”…awesome!

  26. November 3, 2008 6:45 pm

    i am convinced that i “know” some of the most thoughtful, wise and loving people on this planet.

    ive just spent quite a bit of time reading through these comments and, wow. for those of you who are parents – your children are very fortunate! for those of you who are not parents, but wish to be, your children will be blessed! for those who are unsure…you have SO much wisdom to offer to us!

    i will keep you all posted on this dilemma. it appears, as of today, this girls (along with another) seat assignment was permanently changed, again. shes decided to no longer ride the bus. we’ll see how the interaction continues on the school campus. apparently, kass should “watch her back”. 😯

  27. Momma Jen permalink
    November 3, 2008 8:41 pm

    YEY Kass! Good job sister! That is SOOO incredibly hard to stand up to someone, for someone else. I was continually bullied by a girl my 8th grade & then again my 9th grade year. In the end, I had had ENOUGH! She continually called me names and threatened to beat me up. I said to her one day “Fine, if you are going to do it -then DO IT! If not, SHUT UP!” As much as I was fed up, I was also scared to death. She didn’t say much, and ended up walking away and not bugging me ever again. Unfortunately, that was a gazillion years ago and this is a much different time.
    It’s idiots like this girl that make stupid choices, that in the end not only hurt themselves. As much as I agree with praying for her and her family, I also would not let her threats go very far w/o some sort of reprucussion (going to the school, talking to the parents, etc)… you & B are very wise parents (it shows in your kiddos) – you’ll do the right thing.

  28. November 3, 2008 9:02 pm

    I still think that bully girl needs a beat down! Beat her, then pray for her. Kick her butt now, ask questions later.

    The mean girl is most likely a fragil person who does need love & prayers.

    Tell Kass people are praying for her and she done good!

  29. November 4, 2008 8:42 am

    That’s so sad that kids can be so mean. I’m not looking forward to those conversations with my crying girls on the bed as they get older and experience the hurt and pain of other kids’ insensitivity.

    You’re exactly right though. Hurting people do hurt people. What a wise mom you are to help walk your daughter through that and help her learn to love back in return.

    I know my natural response is probably going to be similar to Brent’s! *sigh*

  30. November 4, 2008 11:17 am

    To be honest I don’t know what the best way to handle bullies and such really is. I was shy growing up so if someone picked on me or bullied me I usually cried to my big brother and he almost always came to the rescue. For some reason most of my bullies were boys. The never physically bullied me but none the less they were bullies.

  31. November 4, 2008 3:10 pm

    WAIT! Did the bully tell Kass to watch her back? Did I read that right? Ok… Did I mention that you need to repeat that this girl needs forgiveness.. you’re going to have to repeat that many times. BUT she also needs some kind of intervention. I hate bullies!

  32. November 4, 2008 3:54 pm

    I am a mom, and I want to kick that kids butt! and my Kassie…I want to kick that kids butt! okay now that I faced that emotion…you are right, hurting people hurt people, still they can not be condoned for their behavior. I am praying for the problem to be resolved how ever God wants to, and also praying for a protective shield around Kass….I just love her, she is beautiful inside and out…and praying to stop wanting to kick that kids butt.

  33. November 4, 2008 4:56 pm

    Hi Tam, I am actually a Core Member of a new Bully Prevention Program being implemented at our school. In the state of PA a program has to be in place at every school by next year. Teachers, bus drivers, parents, students…..everyone is taught together so we can provide a safe, bully free enviornment for all! One of the things that surprised me during our training this summer was that not all bullies are victims. That was how I thought. Hurt people hurt. But surprisingly statics show that it’s often the head cheerleader, the football hero, the popular kids that partake in this behavior with the rallying of their idols following lead. I just wanted to give you another perspective. One that surprised me. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I know that bullying is a real issue in our nation and that many schools are not taking it serious enough. It takes everyone to be involved. There are usually 5 people involved 1) The bully 2) the people who cheer on the bully 3) the people who are quite but think it’s funny 4) the people that don’t like it, but don’t want to be a target so they stay quiet and then the 5) The person who stands up against it. What your Daughter did was very noble and VERY rare. Sorry this was so long, but it was on my heart to share. I’m so sorry! Emily

  34. November 4, 2008 5:59 pm

    emily – yes, you brought up a different angle that a few others have too. and i agree, to an extent.

    just because a cheerleader may be a bully, doesnt mean she isnt hurting inside too. just because shes pretty and popular doesnt mean she has it all together and a perfect home life. so, imho, i still believe – hurt people-hurt people. it doesnt matter what their status or appearance is. its whats going on inside. its an overflow of the heart. period.

    emily – please keep me updated on this program. i would love to see more on it! i think thats great youre a part of it too 🙂

    so, i have seen this young lady who is bullying kass. she looks so very sad. her face toward the ground, arms folded, shoulders slouched. she walked in front of my car yesterday in the school parking lot and my heart broke. i wept.

    today – some very harsh threats were given that were overheard by an office staff member, that staff person reported it to the principal, i called the principal and left a message to schedule a meeting…i have YET to hear from her.

    there doesnt seem to be a policy or protocol in place. this has been extremely frustrating and i am working hard at leaning on the side of grace.

  35. November 4, 2008 8:02 pm

    Just keep in mind that the alcoholic was given too much grace.

    Accountability is equally as important as grace. Don’t grace her into a live of misery. Perhaps when she is being held accountable she will realize that someone cares enough to take the time to discipline her.

  36. November 4, 2008 8:35 pm

    Mmm. Very true. I certainly do believe this young one needs to be held accountable. I wish I could do it. I would lovingly, firmly do so. but im afraid, from what I see, she will fall through the cracks. another one…falling through the cracks.

    dang it parents! GET. INVOLVED!!!

  37. November 5, 2008 1:40 am

    You should call the bus company, and let them know this is going on on thier bus, and let them know it is not acceptable to First Student and you do have accesss to a number of the corporate office. Everyone is afraid of calling the corporate office,…and I can get that number for you! 😉 If the bus driver reports the bullying the school has to act on it. First student is the same everywhere…and I saw it on your buses while and let me know if you need a number. Love you

  38. November 6, 2008 5:47 am

    Tam, you bring up good points for me to think about also! I will keep you posted. We are doing a hugh KICK OFF event where we will have each student sign a statement that they are committed to a “bully-free” safe school enviornment. Jay McGraw (Dr. Phil’s son) is very passionate about this and has written a book. I don’t know the name, but it might be something you could get to help better understand the situation. Good Luck!

  39. December 19, 2008 10:37 am

    Mmm – story of my life. This entry is long ago posted, but I so relate to Kass. My heart has always been where hers is. I will stick up for family – for friends – for strangers – for anyone who needs to be stuck up for. This was a difficult thing for me throughout high school because I continually engaged in “intense fellowship” (The Wilson family blogs introduced me to this great phrase) with my peers. It’s a hard thing standing up to the bullies. But it’s the right thing – when it’s done in love. I suspect this was the case for Kass. I went through way too many “intense fellowships” before I got to the lovely kind. Not easy. Not easy at all. I hope the bully has found her place and that maybe someday she will come to terms with the need to be intimidating and just chill out!


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