Adventures of Average Boy: The Bully

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley

I was standing by my locker thinking up excuses for why I hadn’t done my math homework when Donny walked up and pushed me.

Donny is his name, but my friends and I sometimes call him “Huh?” because he says it all the time. Of course, we don’t call him that to his face, because we all enjoy doing things—like living.

Donny has a lot in common with our math teacher. They’ve both been in the seventh grade for the past three years. Not that that’s bad, but Donny loves to scare the younger kids by doing things like flexing his muscles or growing a beard.

Anyway, after Donny pushed me against the locker, I quickly bounced back, looked Donny right in the eyes and shouted, “Look, you big bully, you can’t push me like that!”

Okay, those weren’t my exact words. And I didn’t actually stare him in the eyes. It was more like his stomach, because Donny’s about two feet taller than me. And what I really said was, “OW!” But he knew what I meant.

That was when Clay, who loves to watch people fight, shouted, “Are you going to let Donny push you around like a wimp?”

“Uh . . . yeah,” I said, wondering when exactly Clay went blind and forgot how big Donny was.

Then I decided that I needed to stand up for myself, so I mumbled, “You shouldn’t push me, Donny.”

Donny replied with a witty “Huh?” and poked me in the shoulder with a finger the size of a banana. Now I don’t mind having a pierced shoulder—maybe the look will catch on—but Donny quickly followed up his poke by shoving me across the hall.

Now that was going too far. I jumped up and rushed at him with all my strength. BAM! A sad, whimpering cry filled the school. Unfortunately, the whimper was mine. To understand how I felt, try this: Get up from the computer and run into the nearest wall. (Hurts, doesn’t it?)

The only part of fighting I’m good at is the falling down part. Last year I took one karate lesson; it didn’t go too well. First, I look terrible in pajamas. Second, I have extremely ticklish feet. I tried to kick my opponent in the chest, but my karate scream came out, “Hiya-hee-hee-hee!”

My opponent was Pat—a kid from my class. If he stood next to me, we’d look like the number 10. Kids pick on him because he’s overweight and smells really bad. I think the karate teacher made us partners to build Pat’s self-confidence.

Back to me versus Donny. Obviously I’m not a fighter, but he and I were in a battle. I did pretty well avoiding him. Then I started mixing things up by pounding Donny’s fist several times with my face. Finally, he hit me right in the nose, and it started bleeding.

Now I didn’t cry (because I’m a man), but I got something in my eyes that made them water. I think it might’ve been Donny’s fist. I fell to the ground, using up my one good fighting move, and Donny moved in to finish me off.

I started praying for God to supernaturally beam Donny out to the playground—and to make me wiser, so I wouldn’t be stupid enough in the future to get in a fight. But for now, I was prepared to suffer. All of a sudden, I saw a blinding flash knock Donny against the wall. Donny slithered away, and I was saved!

I looked up to see Pat holding out his hand to help me up. I couldn’t believe it. Pat wasn’t my friend. He wasn’t anyone’s friend, but he rescued me!

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

He grinned and said, “I’m a Christian, and, well, I want to be like Jesus. He would have helped you.” I’m amazed . . . and terrified, because I saw the school’s principal walking toward us. Mrs. Higganbotton quickly scooped me up and corralled Donny and Pat into her office.

We all got in big trouble. The principal called all our parents’ and gave us a week of detention. Donny didn’t mind; he already has an assigned seat waiting for him. Pat and I decided to stick together.

I think Pat and I will become great friends (after we have some serious talks about when to shower and the new discoveries in deodorant). I went back to class feeling a little better about the whole situation—at least until my teacher asked for my math homework.


Super Average Advice

Bullying can be a pretty big problem. Four out of five students say they’ve been bullied at school. About half of all boys admit that they’ve been in a fight. (The other half probably can’t admit it until the swelling goes down.)

The Bible doesn’t talk specifically about bullies, but God’s Word gives plenty of good ideas on how to handle the Donnys of the world.

Stay Away From Trouble. Proverbs 27:12 says: “Wise people see danger and go to a safe place. But childish people keep on going and suffer for it” (NIrV). You don’t have to be a genius to figure out who’s a bully. Once you’ve identified the bullies in your school, do your best to stay away from them, especially when you’re alone. Hanging out with a group of friends can help keep bullies at a distance.

Don’t Be Afraid. Bullies, just like some wild animals, sense fear. With the Supreme Power in the universe living inside you, you don’t have to be afraid. According to Deuteronomy 20:4, “The Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory” (NLT)! That doesn’t mean God’s going to bash every bully upside the head. Instead He’ll show you how to fight the right way. Jesus never punched anybody, but He gained everybody’s respect—even His enemies’—with the way He lived. Try to follow Jesus’ example of standing for the truth and showing love to everybody.

Reach Out. Many times bullies pick on other kids because they feel bad about themselves. What they need is a friend. Maybe you could get a buddy or two (there’s strength and safety in numbers) and eat lunch with a bully. Buy him a soda. Offer to help with homework. Jesus said to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). If the bully accepts your friendship, you’ve got yourself one powerful pal. If he dumps your lunch on your lap, you can still be happy knowing you’ve shown someone Christ’s love. Just pray your mom feels the same way when she’s washing mashed potatoes out of your hoodie.

Copyright © 2007 by Bob Smiley. Illustration © Gary Locke.