Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Create The Life You Want By Rippling - Lesson Five

As a young boy I was pretty small for my age and used to get picked on a lot in elementary school. It was a humbling experience and I can still remember the fear and trepidation that I felt as I took those long walks to school every morning. Who was going to make fun of me? Who was going to hurt me?

I guess it was about second grade when I started to stick up for myself. I found that if I was going to get beat up that it was better to go out swinging than whimpering. I hardened to my circumstances preferring to get the bullying over with (early in the day) rather than wait around for it to happen and allow the fear to ruin my entire day. That often led me to get into fights on days when the bullies may not have even been looking to mess with me. Perhaps by stirring the pot I saved some other poor kid a day of torture who knows.

Somewhere middle of that year I began to find a secret weapon against the bullies of the school yard. It was respect and dignity. I am not kidding! I found that after I was terrorized by these two-bit hoods that a kind word here or an offer to help them in class with an assignment there, something began to change. It wasn't overnight but it was there. I kept showing them I wasn't going away. They could either continue to (by this time) try to beat me up (I had gotten pretty good at fighting) or they could wait to see what the little guy was going to say or do for them. When I started with a kind word about something, I almost always saved myself a day of misery.

The school yard bullies had issues there is no doubt. Did they deserve respect? Should I have helped them with their school work when no one else would dare to? Did they deserve anything?

Probably not. But NOT doing it guaranteed that Stevie the Pip Squeak would endure a wrath of pain and misery.

What I found was these bullies actually were attempting to find their respect and dignity by terrorizing kids like me. When I proactively gave it to them and treated them like I wanted to be treated I took all the bark out of their bite. It usually left them feeling pretty alright about themselves...and most importantly that this Harper kid was alright after all.

We all have difficult people in our lives; a bad boss, a mean spirited friend or just plain people who are hard to get to know. Try my bully theory on them. Start treating them like you want to be treated. Given them their dignity and respect proactively and see what happens. Seriously....try telling them what you like or respect about them and see what kind of changes take place.

Lesson Four is treat people the way you want to be treated. Give everyone the same respect, dignity and attention that you know you want and watch the Ripples start to grow.

By the way....only was it in high school had I known that my bully strategy paid off. While attending a party with some friends in walks a group of those bullies from the old school. They had long since given up on picking on me and somewhere along the way grew up. The highest compliment that was ever paid to me up to that point was one of them saying to the other, "Hey there's Harper. Man that guy is friends with everybody."

To which his buddy replied "Yeah he's cool."

Until next time.....

Ripple On!!!


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