Thursday, June 7, 2012

the opposite of bully

I could not find a true antonym for the word 'bully'. Could the opposite of a bully simply be a person that does NOT badger, tease, belittle, harass, or intimidate smaller or weaker people? I think not. To me the opposite of bully is kind.

Acts of bullying inspire suicide.
Acts of kindness inspire more kindness.

I'd like to share a story that I just learned about on the last day of my son's kindergarten year. It's a pretty amazing story and I will no doubt be doting on my son (so consider the source, an unbelievably proud mother).

I visited my son's school this morning for his last day of school. The classroom teacher presented a beautiful video of the school year and the kids shared poems and art work from their school year. At the end of this event, a mother approached me and asked me if I was Mathew's mother. After I told her yes, she then tells me how sweet and kind he was. That she never met a little boy that was as sweet as he. It is truly such an honor to hear that coming from another mother. After my gracious thank you's, she proceeded to tell me something much more incredible:

"Your son helped my daughter survive kindergarten!"

What?! How?! Really?!

She explains to me that her daughter cried almost every day for the first half of the school year. She had a difficult transition, since she was not in a full time school prior to kindergarten. My son (apparently) helped her every day, not just once. He told her things like "it's okay, don't cry." He told her "chicken" jokes and sang her silly made-up songs. I know this because the 6-year old girl told me herself. The mother was tearing up while telling me how my son was so good to her daughter. Of course, I start tearing up as my mind was blown away. As she is talking to me and we are getting to know our kids a little more, I witness the unique bond between the two of them. I see two little peas in a pod giggling and acting silly. It must have been my proudest moment thus far. She explained to me that in the course of the year she volunteered in the classroom and could tell that their bond was special, like cousins. The teacher told us that these two will be lifetime friends.

My son has single handedly changed the course of a little girls kindergarten experience for the better through simple acts of kindness. My son helped someone through a hard time. My son gave altruistically and compassionately with no motive, but kindness. My son created a true friendship at the young age of 6. Wether it lasts a lifetime or not, I think this little girl will always remember the little boy who helped her overcome a tough transition.

I remember my kindergarten experience where I came home crying often. Three little girls made fun of me because English wasn't my first language. I remember they were the opposite of kind. I can only now begin to imagine (thanks to my son) what my childhood experience would have been like if I had a little Mathew in my class by my side. This kid is amazing!

Remember, the antonym of bullying is kindness. Spread the love. Pay it forward.

"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."


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