It was early evening, and we went out for a walk. My son rode his bicycle on ahead and I followed with our dog. As I rounded the corner, I saw that about 8 kids surrounded him. They were bigger than him. He looked ruffled.
I shouted, what’s gong on? The kids walked away avoiding my questioning looks. My son looked down, said nothing, it’s just nothing.
By the time I realized that it was far from nothing, the kids had run away.
It only took a few minutes. They had asked him rude, uncomfortable questions. They shoved his bike, knocked on his helmet (on his head) and threatened to really hurt him if he told anyone.
I was livid. I tried to find where these cowards had run away to, but there was no sign of them.
It took me a long time to get the full story from him. He was shy, a bit scared and seemed ashamed.
It was a rude awakening in a small town where this kind of thing just doesn’t happen.
There was a lot that shocked and surprised me. That it had happened in the first place. The viciousness, how fast it occurred and my own helplessness were all factors too.
But what scared me more than anything was how my son just didn’t want to tell me the story. He didn’t want to admit what they had actually said, and how scared he really felt.
It’s made me think of so many places in life that we get scared to tell the real story. We worry about the repercussions. We feel vulnerable and end up protecting the very people that should be brought out in to the light.
In business and organizations it’s not that different either. There are people that bully their way into jobs and deals, with a veil of silence around them that protects them.
No one wants to feel the wrath of the bully, so we keep quiet.
In the on-line world there is bullying through the constant images and indoctrination that filters into our life as spam, incessant, disrespectful, disturbing.
And then there’s that mistaken email that we’ve all sent, at least once and sometimes more often, that was a moment of reaction; thoughtless, judgmental and destructive.
The email that got away, the one we should never have sent; the one that made us the bully.
Silence can be the biggest enemy.
Telling your real, authentic story, the antidote.
You see, when we show up for real, tell the story that is in our hearts and minds, the bully cannot survive. Bullying thrives on silence. Stories are always OUT LOUD. Tell your story – transform your silence into one less bully.
Live gently, love out loud and tell your story.