It happened in middle school…the bullying capital of the world. My son, Ethan, was a quiet boy who wouldn’t harm a flea. Maybe he was perceived as weak or an easy target. Maybe they figured he wouldn’t fight back. Maybe they felt he wouldn’t get an adult involved. Whatever the case, the bullies found him.
It took many forms over the time in middle school. Two boys made Ethan their victim. They stole his backpack, knocked papers and books out of his hands, took his pencils, pushed him, insulted him, yelled at him, and tried to intimidate him daily.
Here’s the thing: Ethan never told me about it. It came up at some point when he was in high school. I recall he made some comment about how high school is so much better than middle school…and why that was so. It broke my heart that he went through this on his own. When I asked why he hadn’t shared what was going on, he simply expressed that he thought it would stop and wanted to handle it himself.
Fast forward to graduation day: All the students were in their caps and gowns excited about the ceremony that was about to begin… and those two bullies had the gall to approach Ethan. They seemed humbled. “Dude, we were real a**holes to you in middle school. We’re sorry about that.” Ethan graciously accepted their apology.
We can’t undo the fact that Ethan was bullied, but at least the culprits recognized what they had done and expressed regret. I’m proud of Ethan for giving them the gift of forgiveness…