This overweight boy sits in one corner of his class. From time to time he looks up but turns away his eye as soon as makes eye contact. He sits alone. He does not mind it too much. It is better than sitting with someone who does not like him. But, it is lunch time or projects that fill him with dread. He does not understand why everyone can’t be assigned partners and places. Why does he need to solicit classmates to take him in their group? The reactions vary from sneers to name calling. How sick he was of namecalling! His mommy said that he had some health issues that had made him pile up a lot of weight. He also felt tired and sometimes found it tough to focus. As a result, he was sluggish in his learning, slow in understanding and responding.

boy who was bullied

Many of his classmates made fun of him, call him an elephant or fatso and snubbing him over and over again. While others were indifferent. He felt like a piece of rag that everyone trampled upon mercilessly, as if he had no life, no feelings. He found his eyes welling up with tears often. But the world that existed at school was cruel. Children, his classmates, went about their lives as if he did not exist, not aware how their barbs were making huge holes inside of him.

Just hearing about the boy made me despair. Sometimes, one wishes that one had a magic wand to set things right. Especially when children suffered. Bullying is a reality in schools. I know the angst I suffered when both my sons were bullied. A child is so vulnerable if he does not belong to a group or does not have friends who cared. It is easier for us parents to ask them to ignore such children. But each child needs to feel loved, deserves to be loved. Without some emotional anchor at school, life often becomes pretty tough. Children can be really heartless and sometimes for no reason.

boy who was bullied

I saw the trailer of Wonder (I have not seen the movie yet) and my heart went out to the little boy. Frankly, no one would like to be in his position. Going to school with a disfigured face that everyone loathed and made fun of. The child I spoke about above is a real boy who studies in my younger son’s class. Though not having a visible physical disfigurement, he has emotional scars.

One day, the younger son looked very troubled. I let him stew with his emotions for a while before asking him what was bothering him. Out tumbled the story of this boy whom I faintly recall. The son was troubled because in a fit of emotion, he had also called him fat, good-for-nothing boy and suddenly watched the light go out of his eyes, as he walked away with his head bowed down. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. It made the son feel miserable, immediately contrite for being so mean to another boy. As he unburdened himself, I felt very upset for the boy and for how the son had behaved. That he felt genuinely bad made me feel a bit better. I asked him what he was going to do? And he mentioned that he would apologize to him the next day and would also be more sensitive around him.

boy who was bullied

Which he did. The boy was non-committal yet acknowledged the apology. It’s not as if the boy had suddenly found a new group or compassionate friends had appeared in his life but at least he found a small ray of kindness in the overwhelming nastiness that he sees. I’ve asked the younger son to try and be nicer and perhaps be more friendly towards the boy. I hope he does. He says his group of friends does not like the boy too much. And at this stage in their lives, their peer group and its opinions matter a lot to them.

Yet kindness is something that we must practise without question.

For it sets us apart from the brutes. To be one with another’s emotions is the rare quality of empathy, and I do hope that all children could experience that so that they would be kinder even to those they didn’t like.

I am hoping that the boy will find his tribe soon.

Sometimes, like I said, I wish that I had a magic wand!

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15 Thoughts on “The Boy Who was Bullied

  1. Children can be really cruel. I know that only too well. Even the decent kids tend to get carried away sometimes when they’re in a group and say things they don’t mean. We watched Wonder this Friday. And I still say every child should read that book (I liked it way more than the film). Your son has more courage than most if he was able to apologise.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…New Learnings and Kitchen AdventuresMy Profile

    • I have ordered the book from my library and am waiting for it to be delivered. I really want to read it and have told the kids that they will enjoy it as well.

      I could sense the turmoil in my son for saying something so nasty. I felt happy that he suffered because in a way, he will be more sensitive the next time. But, I really wished that more could be done for the boy.

  2. Bullying is terrible and sometimes, kids can be the perpetrators without even realising it. I totally get what the son must have gone through. We sometimes say things we don’t mean, in the heat of the moment. It gives us a temporary high. But if we are compassionate and empathetic otherwise, as your son certainly is, the thought comes back to tell us that we should have been kinder. And we make reparations. That’s the good news.

    As for the boy being bullied, sigh, I am afraid as long as there are kids who are generally mean, this will not stop. We must do the best we can in helping our kids be compassionate and empathetic. Like you say, that will help the victim understand that there are good and kind people in the world.

    I still recall the news of the boy who committed suicide because he was bullied by his classmates. The story has never left my mind and is a constant reminder of how fragile children are. I hope and pray our kids stay safe always and so do all other kids, safe from bullying and come out stronger.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…How I’ve gone without yelling for over 800 daysMy Profile

    • Such a tragic news that was, Shailaja. Such news items haunt you for days. One wonders if we could have done more. Truly, I felt so very sad when I heard about this child in my son’s class. I was imagining his plight. It seems so natural to want to help him. But strangely the kids don’t seem to think like that! Bullying is a menace.

      When I think about this little boy, I feel so unhappy.

  3. Oh the bullying is often merciless and so insensitive as thechildren dont realise what it is they are inflicting on the poor soul. My heart went out to this kid and like you I pray he finds his tribe soon.

    Be a very proud mom as you have been able to instill common sense in your child for him to realise he did something wrong and was big enough to go and apologise!

    • Mine did too. Wish I could just make things right for him because no child should suffer in this manner. 🙁

      I hope that this lesson will make the younger son even more careful with his words and actions.

  4. Kids can be so insensitive at times… And most of the times it’s peer pressure… If the popular kid makes fun, the rest follow them. Glad that your son apologized. Maybe he too feels the preasure of alienating the boy… It’s a delicate age, and impreasionable too.
    Bullying can deeper scars which sometimes don’t even go away.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The night before Christmas PartyMy Profile

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about this boy, Rachna. It reminds me of how one of my school mates used to be bullied and the powerful but very wrong message it would send to the victim. It scars you for life and only those who suffer will ever understand the pain and the low self-esteem such people suffer from. I’m happy your son is sensitive enough to feel bad for his action which children often inadvertently do, because they see others do it and have fun. Bullying is a social disease and I think institutions need to have robust systems to detect and tackle bullying at the school level. My heart goes out for the poor kid. Wish I could help him!!

  6. I’ve heard many episodes of bullying. I got picked because of my short height. It was a terrible phase. A little reference of short height and I was the only example people could think of. I hope parents teach their children that such remarks are insensitive and leave permanent scars.
    Saru Singhal recently posted…5 Tips to Make Your Home Clutter Free and Save MoneyMy Profile

  7. Children can be really cruel. My sister faced her share of bullies. And I had my set of problems but you are so right that a ray of kindness is so important. So proud of G because trust me not all children realise the mistakes they do. I hope the other boy finds friends and he can come out of this. I really do. I hope he is getting the love at home to make up for the lack of it at school.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…Do You Ask For Help?My Profile

  8. This breaks my heart. Children, while so innocent, somewhere must be aware of what they are doing. Maybe the upbringing matters too where parents should teach kids not to hurt others intentionally.

    Your son is a good boy and you should be really proud of him. I hope the other boy isn’t scarred for life because of this incident. I know I’m hoping for too much, but still.
    Soumya recently posted…A Break From Reading With The Book Lover’s TagMy Profile

  9. Kindness as you say is the key to tackle bullying. I had a similar issue with a child who would bully my daughter. However a few words of kindness spoken to the child did the job. Luckily this was easy, however kindness propogated at the home front consciously embeds the value deep into the childs mind, and prevents bullying!

  10. This is a heartbreaking story but one that I fear is very common. It takes a lot for other children to face up to their peer group and stick up for another child. It’s such a shame that children can be so cruel but we know that adults can too I’m afraid. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. So sad to read and also sadly all too common. Poor little lad. Let’s hope he finds his tribe very soon. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…Jamie Oliver Cookery School – Cooking Up a TreatMy Profile

  12. Bullying is all too common and sadly my daughter has been through that in her life. It has however given her a level of empathy I am not sure she would have with others who for whatever reason are on the periphery. There is such a big argument for us to show our children how to celebrate and accept difference rather than use it as a tool to beat others with. Catie at Spectrum Mum wrote a fantastic piece last week about her son and his experience of bullying as a result of his differences. If you get a chance pop over and have a read. Thanks for sharing this with us Rachna. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Jo – Mother of Teenagers recently posted…Keeping Your Children Safe Online #WhoIsSamMy Profile

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