Archive for Full 1mpact

Stand In The Gap

Posted in charismatic, confidence, inspirational, mentorship, self development, self help with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2013 by full1mpact

When I was a senior in High School, I ended up having to take an underclassman Algebra class.  Mainly to make up for credits due to some car accident I was in that year that put me in a troubled teen hospital.  But that’s another story.  I hated Math.  At that point in my life I hated a lot of things about school, life, people, and math.

Because my previous class was so close to this particular one, I was always the first there and I’d sit in the back.  I was the only senior in that class and yes, I felt dumb.  I struggled with Algebra and all forms of number issues.  I always remember one kid who’d come into the room shortly after me.  Probably a sophomore or possibly a freshman.   I remember him because he was the poster child for stereotypical nerds.  Big glasses, usually wore slacks, sometimes even a bow-tie..and yes…a pocket protector.  In fact, as I’m writing this article I got out my year book, and there he is, in a bow-tie with his massive glasses.  I guess he was a sophomore after all.

He usually tried to sit near the front and avoid contact with another boy who’d come in fourth or fifth or sometimes right after him.  The other, kid, much larger, would stare him down and go sit a desk or two side-by-side with him.  Never said anything but I recognized the larger boy because he was on the Junior Varsity football team and I had seen him hanging around that crowd a lot.  Seemed decent enough, but the first time I saw him glare down the nerdy boy it struck me as odd.  What could he have possibly against him?

That tiny moment, that predator stare, I recognized it immediately.  I knew it because I remember that being done to me by other people.  The predator stalks its prey, to feel powerful, or better about themselves, or to prove something.  Whatever the case, I remembered that look all too well and it hit something in me.  Like a switch going off.  The predator was so focused it didn’t see the other eyes in the back of the room watching.  Or it didn’t care.  Either way that boy was now on my radar.

A few days passed and nothing ever came of it until later in the week I saw that look in the larger kid again.  Teacher was out in the hall or wherever teachers go for 6 or 7 minutes between classes.  But in he stalked, glaring down at the boy who would even look up.  Then he just stopped, right in front of his desk and stood there.  I knew what the boy sitting there felt like.  This larger, “tougher,” boy just staring you down and you’re on eggshells, processing what to do to not look weak, but not make him upset as to take it out on you.

I watched, eagerly, because of all of the things I mentioned above that I hated…I hated bullies the most.  A violent, sociopathic, non-healthy, sort of hate.  (I had issues, judge as you will.) And as I watched the bully started to say something.  To this day I don’t even remember what he was saying.  I do remember he bumped the smaller kid’s desk with his leg and got all wild-eyed.  The smaller kid answered meekly and was holding his pencil.  I remember because I could see his hand shaking.

I’d had enough and said, “Is there a ****’n problem?”  They both looked up at me shocked.  I hadn’t spoken a word to anyone in that class since the 1st day.  At first the bully had a look like, “who would dare?” then his skin turned pale.  Then he made a statement about how he was just joking around and they were just friends.  Funny how even in High School that excuse is still used.

I wasn’t a big kid, I was very scrappy and still fairly underdeveloped for my age, but at that point I didn’t care much for the rest of my school year.  I begged God above to give me the chance to go crazy on this bully.  Instead the bully sulked over to his seat still glaring at the other boy and muttered something under his breath.  Coward.  I spoke again, “He obviously doesn’t think so, if I ever see or hear of you bothering him again, you’ll have me as a problem.”  He insisted he was joking to which I countered with telling him to shut his mouth along with other colorful words.  From then on, in that class anyway, I was the predator watching his every move, not needing to ever speak again.

Later, after the end of the school year I was at a party at a friend’s house when a girl I had recognized approached me.  She was an upper classman to me when I was still in High School.  She thanked me for sticking up for her little brother.  She then told me how that boy had bothered her little brother from 7th grade until his sophomore year relentlessly.  Teachers never took the parent’s complaints too seriously and the torment would continue. After that little intervention, he never bothered her brother again.  That is all it took.

I bring this up not to pat myself on the back, the world knows I have delivered my share of shame and detestable actions.  I bring this up because I was reminded of this incident today as I read the headlines of yet another kid being bullied.  Anymore you don’t have to look far and we had even written an  about this some time ago.

Recently a boy had asked Santa to bring a Christmas present early.  That present is to stop his sister from being bullied any further.  No longer did he wish for a remote control car or helicopter, but instead to intervene on behalf of his sister.  It has pierced his heart and he no longer knows where to go.  I know many parents are doing their best, but so many questions need to be asked and so many children need to know this is not okay.

bully

How do we begin to stand up for others?  How do we fill the gap?  In our seminars we mentioned how men, true masculine, mature, men, are protectors and defenders of those who cannot fend for themselves.  No matter what race, gender, creed, or orientation.  My grandfather once told me that some courage is standing up for what is right, or for someone else, when no one else will.  I’m not sure how to close this except with one last question; what will you do to fill the gap, to stand for someone else?  What will you do?

M. Larsen

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