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Development And Discipline - Bullying

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THE bully is almost always a weak child, whose mind is affected by his physical deficiencies. This may explain him to a certain extent, but it does not excuse him, unless in the eyes of some foolish mother, from whom he hides, as well he can, the meanness of his soul: for the thing a bully needs to learn is nobility.

Such a child, boy or girl, should be kept from associating with littler ones, and put with companions of his own age. They will probably, sooner or later, make him realize the folly of bulldozing; and if he comes home with the marks of a salutary punching don't sympathize while you soothe his bruises, but coolly ask him how he likes the taste of the suffering he has been inflicting on the little boys. If you detect anything of the bully rejoice when some nobler youth gives him a good thrashing. It's the best means of cure, and it can't be had any other way.

Now is your time to try to arouse in his soul some sense of chivalry. Appeal to his sense of fairness. Show him the meanness of maltreating those who are defenseless, and teach him to scorn it. Praise the nobility, on the other hand, of defending the oppressed, of taking the side of the weak-against whom ? Why, against bullies. Describe the mediŠval robber-barons, who extorted tribute from innocent merchants by force, and such cruel tyrants as Nero and Dionysius, who have been despised by all men for 2000 years for their senseless cruelties. A little bully on the playground, and a big one on a throne. Shame him by making him read the definition of the term in the dictionary. Dr. Johnson defined it thus: "A bully is a noisy, blustering, quarrelsome person, who generally puts on the appearance of courage." As a rule he is a coward. Ask about the other boys-are they not braver and more generous? Why did that one thrash him? Wasn't it from generous motives? Wouldn't he think a good deal better of himself than he does now if he, filled with manly indignation, had given instead of taken the punching? Would not he like to have been a knight of old, filled with the spirit of chivalry? Direct him to books and poems describing knightly deeds and ideals, and then point out that although the armor and plumes and blazoned shield are no longer in fashion the spirit of knighthood-contending only with equals, succoring the weak and aiding the unfortunate-remains; and the gentleman of to-day is simply a knight of old without his armor.

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