While The Cost of Standing Up to Help… cost my youth group, the fact that someone out there needed someone to talk to and was denied was in my awareness.

It wasn’t the first time I stood up…

I stood up in 7th Grade for others twice.  The higher the grade you were in, the further back on the bus you got to sit.  So the last 3 rows were high school, the 2nd last to three were Junior high and middle before that, and elementary had several rows in the front.  This was a “with age comes privilege” type of thing, although an older kid could invite you to sit further back, with them.

My brother was in the elementary section being picked on by a middle schooler.  He was thumping my brother on the back of the head.  This kid had done it before with other kids, but this was my brother.  I was older than than the middle schooler so I hadn’t stepped in until that day.  I stepped in and slapped him across the back of the head harder than he was hitting my brother and said, “Stop picking on my brother and stop picking on the younger kids.”  Other than the the boy and the bus driver it seemed unnoticed.  The bus driver told me he’d have to report me since I did hit the boy, and to go to the principal’s office.  The driver never showed up 😉

The next incident was when I brought a young friend to the junior high seats to play “fortune teller.”  Remember the game with the folded paper and flaps?  Living in the country our drives were long.  We did a lot of silly games.  But this boy in 9th or 10th grade (he’d flunked several times so he was older than he should have been for either grade) decided to pick on my friend.  We did our best to ignore him.   He kicked her under the seats, and messed with her, then finally started calling her names since we were trying to ignore him.

I stood up, puffed up my little seventh grade chest, and made my little self look as big as I could and turned around and said in my loudest voice.  I wanted everyone on the bus to hear this one and announced that I was tired of him picking on all the kids on the bus.  That he being a coward and bully picking on younger kids was coming to an end and that he no longer would be allowed to pick on any of the younger kids.  I remember waving my hand over all the junior high, middle schoolers and elementary kids.   If he did feel the need to do so, he would have to go through me, and I would beat him up.  (Said by a small 7th grader to someone possibly 4 years older than her).

I remember being boiling mad and we were at my friend’s stop. My stop was after hers’ so I gathered my books for my last ride on the bus.  I was sure I’d be kicked off, but he had no right to pick on the younger kids.  And somewhere in the back of my hearing I heard applause.  We were at my stop, and it seemed the kids were clapping and applauding.  I was still mad while worried over the trouble I would get into, when the driver opened the door.  That’s when he said, “Have a BEAUTIFUL day, and THANK YOU!”  and as I got off the bus other kids were cheering.  I survived! I didn’t get kicked off the bus or beaten to a pulp by someone 4 years older than me!

I became the person to settle things among the younger set.

This was also why I knew I never could be a teacher (among others).  If one of my students was abused, and I figured out who did it, I’d probably punch them.  But life has a way of bringing you to your knees.  And the courage I had in youth would disappear…

Please read the next post…