Childhood Taunting

There are things in my life that I wish I could undo.  I'm sure everybody has them, but they probably don't dwell on them.  What's done is done, right?

I think the things that eat at me most often are the ones that involve people.  I think about the times I have fallen into the "crowd mentality" when someone was being picked on.  I know for a fact that I have stood idly by while someone was taunted and picked on back in elementary school.  I think what ends up happening is that you just don't want to be the spoilsport.  I went to school with several kids that got picked on fairly regularly.  One that comes to mind is Allen Adams. A nice kid, he got picked on all the time.  If memory serves me, his family didn't have much money and he wore clothing that was probably all ill-fitting, secondhand stuff. I know he was taunted to tears more than once.  I would like to apologize to him.  I wonder what became of him?  I wonder about people like him sometimes.  I wonder if things they were subjected to had any lasting effect on them or those around them.  What if he was one of those guys that lay his head down on a railroad track when he couldn't take it any longer?  What if he grew up a murderer or--at the very least--an alcoholic?  Or maybe the taunting shaped him in a totally opposite way: Maybe he grew up determined to be successful and raise a family that would never have to be ridiculed like he was?

It makes you wonder.  Okay, it makes me wonder...

Kids don't think of the consequences of their actions.  They haven't been alive long enough to learn the ramifications of bad behavior, so when there is taunting and ridicule going on, kids don't need much of a reason to jump into the fray.  Sometimes it was that they wanted to be an active part in the taunting, and sometimes it was just so they wouldn't appear to be on the wrong side.

Like I said, I remember several kids that got picked on.  Jenny was a big girl and was picked on because of her size.  Susan was a tall, thin, plain-looking girl that seldom had anything to say.  I don't think she was picked on, but being shy and not talking much is all it takes for kids to make fun of you.  I have no idea what happened to Jenny, but I know Susan is still around.  She introduced herself to me at one of our reunions several years ago.  I didn't get to talk with her like I wanted to.  I would have liked to spend some time with her.  I did see her at a local store once, but couldn't talk to her then because she wasn't alone.  In retrospect, of all the people that I saw at the reunion that day, she was the one that I wanted to sit down and talk with.

When it was Valentine's Day back then we had "mailboxes" set up in the classroom for us to put classmate's valentines in.  I remember getting a strangely good feeling when I dropped a valentines into the boxes of the kids that got ignored or picked on.  I felt the same way when I got one from any of them too.  It was a "doing the right thing" feeling I guess.  I don't know.  I know we were all only doing it because we were required to, but it still had a good feeling.

When kids pick on other kids they fail to consider that the kids they are picking on are just like everybody else.  They treasure the same memories that everyone else does while growing up:  Maybe it's learning to ride a bicycle, getting  a kitten or puppy, receiving that special item for Christmas or birthday.  The kids that aren't popular may not have a line of people to ask them to the prom, but that doesn't mean their lives are any less meaningful. 

I while back I was introduced to a video on YouTube called Perspectacles.  It was made in a local high school so it's not real high quality, but the message it carries is clear.  When the guy finds these special glasses he puts them on and finds he suddenly knows the emotional baggage that the person he's looking at is carrying around with them from day-to-day.  The guy that finds the glasses is usually surly and rude, but when he puts them on and sees the bad things are in the other people's lives he has a sort of awakening.  Click the link and watch it.  It's too bad they don't really exist--An awful lot of people could benefit from them.