Growing Up

Today I need to talk about a ridiculous thing. It has to do with competition, and I firmly believe we cannot do away with a friendly rivalry. It is how humankind improves. But like anything else, it can go too far. When pushed too far, it becomes selfish, counterproductive, and destructive.

Those cases include idiots jumping the queue at the supermarket, maybe at an amusement park, perhaps a line for a bus or subway. People acting like this tend to be self-centered and lack consideration; they need culling from what they try to get around. They are counterproductive to the welfare of those around them.

Others perform the same kind of action only on a more dangerous scale. These include those that ignore traffic laws, perhaps armed thugs, that endanger people around them by taking grievous chances for their wrongly placed competition, often risking bystanders more than themselves.

One of the most despicable, in my opinion, is being so consumed with a supposed competition that they intentionally bully, belittle, and create fear in someone they imagine, often correctly, to be better in some way than themselves. These are emotional and moral infants, people that never matured or were coddled and not given the correct direction, or someone that did not endure enough hardship to season into mature human beings. Sometimes the insecurity is innate, and in that case, the person needs to do some study into whatever causes their need to belittle those around them simply to make themselves feel better and imagine they won.

It is simple. I’ll help the offenders out. If they feel the need to do that, they have already lost the competition. I think an apt description of them is an underperforming dud.

Schools turn their attention to this kind of thing, proclaiming zero tolerance. They all produce a policy to address it (usually legal protection for the school and administrators, but in practice, about half the time, that policy is feckless and nonresponsive). During my years of teaching, more than once, I witnessed a child in tears tell a teacher about, let us say, Sally, bullying them, but the teacher would bark, “Sally, come here. We don’t do that. Do you understand?” Sally would nod and runoff, but the same thing would occur the next day, or in a week, complete with conversation and nod, but no further.
When queried about it, the teacher would say. “Sally is such a nice child. There is no reason to spoil her school record just because she’s having a bad day.”

That sounds like a smile and a wink to me. While usually, I advocate in the strongest terms the need for tolerance in all things. Not here.
Let me also say the same might happen with someone named Johnny too, so it is not a gender bias.

Let me observe that I had several occasions to meet some bullies when I did sports. They always swaggered around in their attempt to be an overlord.

My son has two or three on his gymnastics team right now. They attempt to belittle him, but they had a good lesson today when he topped them in his scores in the first event at their meet.

I’m sure they already sensed a powerhouse competitor in him. That is why they felt the need to bully.

I know you might make a case that this sort of self-absorbed unthinking individual is necessary to create the hardship needed to season others into becoming responsible. If that is the route you choose to think, you stumbled on a tenant that bears analyzing.

It shows that everything has its place and purpose. And I agree. Not that the universe must check in with me to get my approval for anything. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but the universe does not care about that concept. If the universe’s base were on being equal, I would be tall, dark, and devilishly handsome. I am not tall, I’m bald, and I’m not devilishly handsome. I assure you.

But simply because something has a purpose, it does not follow that we need to utilize it. There are other ways to create hardship enough to season our youngsters. One option fits as if tailored for it. What I’m talking about is discipline. It ranges from disciplining a child through instilling the need for bravery, team building, and in some cases, heroism. It occurs continually, and it does not of necessity involve corporal punishment.

It is all in the way you treat the individual. For those disbelievers, I urge you to google “Scholfield’s Definition of Discipline.” The words found in that short passage apply to building character in all facets of life for any person.

And, of course, this quote is subject to the same scrutiny as anything else. Just because it is there, it does not follow any obligation to use it. However, the quote addresses the event of ignoring the advice for itself.

I think Major General Scholfied knew about his subject.

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  1. Congratulations to your son. It is a lesson he just by his actions can teach so many.
    Without proper guidance how do you teach “the need for tolerance in all things” especially in today’s world? I love your blog post.

  2. If kindness was taught at all levels the world be a better place. Bullies have been around since the dawn of time, it’s not new. However, it is now in vogue and seems whether it is being the bully or the recipient the course of action is the same.

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