Tag Archives: good

BULLYING – WHAT IS ONE TO DO?

I grew up in a Christian family and always tried to do the “right” thing, but these two Bible verses diametrically oppose each other. The two verses cause a bit of a dilemma as to what one should do when faced with a difficult situation such as bullying.

Leviticus 24:19-20 (NIV)

Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Matthew 5:38-39 (NIV)

 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

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This is a true story of a bullying experience I had in my youth. In your opinion, which Bible verse is appropriate to follow in the bullying example presented in this article? Did I do the right thing? Did I overreact? Would you have handled it differently? I invite you to share your thoughts.

Bullying is not a new activity; it has been around for eons. The difference between bullying during my childhood and that of today seems to be about numbers—bullies tend to operate in “packs” today as opposed to the lone-wolf bullies during my youth. Add to that the “you can’t discipline a child” attitude that exists in today’s world and you have an environment that actually promotes bully behavior.

Bullying1BW

When I was a young boy, my father was never shy about the discipline thing; I’m grateful he wasn’t. I was also fortunate to have a father who drew a line in the sand between good and bad behavior. I always knew which side I was supposed to walk on. Unfortunately, many kids today don’t have a father figure to draw the line for them. Heck, many kids don’t even know who their father is.

Dad taught me to treat others respectfully, especially girls. He told me there would be times when others would not do the same to me. His advice to me was, “Son, never pick a fight, but never run from one either. Try to be the bigger man and walk away when possible. However, if it’s not practical to walk away, stand your ground and protect your friends and yourself.”

Well, there was a time in life when I was in the eighth grade. I was shy, soft-spoken, and pretty much a loner. The few friends I had were more like acquaintances rather than bosom-buddies. There was a guy (let’s call him Bob) in my class that had been held back a few years, so he was about two-years older. He was the class bully and made life miserable for many of my classmates. Everyone feared him.

I was walking down the stairs to my next class one day, as were many other students. Bob was on his way up. When he got beside me, he shoved me against the wall sending my books flying all over the place. The other students backed away fearing he’d do the same to them. I gave him the “Tatum” evil eye, but proceeded to pick up my books. He approached me and did it again. I told him he had better not do it again or he would regret it. The “turn the other cheek” thing was boiling within me, but the “eye for eye” thing started dancing in my mind. However, I contained myself.

Bullying2BW2

Bob laughed and mocked me. “What ya gonna do little boy?” as he proceeded to do it again. That’s when the “eye for eye” of Leviticus took control. Without saying another word, I pushed him against the wall. He lost his balance and rolled down a few steps. My reaction enraged him because no one had ever stood up to him before, at least not in front of a group of fellow students. He jumped up quickly and charged at me again. That’s when I placed him in a headlock and landed two quick punches to his midsection. He fell to his knees gasping for air. I shouted, “I told you not to do it again!”

I calmly gathered my books and headed to my next class as if nothing had happened. The other students started cheering as I walked away, but they didn’t hang around very long—fear of what Bob would do to them returned, so they scattered quickly.

Was I pleased with what I did? No! Did I do the right thing? You tell me?!? I tried to walk away as Dad told me to do, but Bob persisted—he was an obnoxious bully. I did not pick the fight, but again, I did as Dad told me to do—I stood my ground and protected myself.

The interesting thing that came out of this was Bob never bullied me or any other student after that day. He ceased his bullying antics and blended in with the rest of us. I guess Bob just needed someone to stand up to him—someone to show him the light. For that, I’m proud. I even picked up a couple new friends after the incident. However, the question remains—did I do the Christian thing?

I never talked to Bob after our encounter, nor do I know what happened to him as he moved on with his life. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he became a minister and started serving the Lord. That comes from Dad telling me I should always look for the good in others, but in Bob’s case, the preacher thing may be taking it a bit too far.

Bullying annoys me and I even devoted a chapter to “pack” bullying in my novel On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream. It involves the bullying of a young, fatherless boy. Please check it out and let me know what you think about that situation also.

ON GREEN DIAMONDS FRONT

Be blessed, respect others, don’t pick fights, but stand your ground when necessary. One more thing—always remember to help your friends in bully situations too. You might even help tame a bully by doing so.

Did someone bully you when you were a child? Do you know someone who has or is currently being bullied? Have you ever been a bully? What is the best way to handle bullying?

Simply comment on this post or send a private email to ongreendiamonds@gmail.com if you prefer. Either way, I’d like to hear about your personal experiences.

Peace,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

YOUR FOLDER

A vision came to a man during the night as he lay sleeping. He travelled a great distance through the darkness to a place he did not know. Breaking through the darkness, he saw a building bathed in bright light and came to rest before a man standing in front of a huge door.

Upon his arrival, the man greeted him and said, “Welcome to Heaven’s Repository. I’m glad you accepted my invitation to visit with me today. I have much to share with you,” as he opened the door to a long hallway containing rows of file cabinets.

HeavensRepository

“What invitation? Who are you? Where am I? Why am I here?” questioned the confused man.

“My son, you have many questions, so allow me to answer each one. My name is Zack; I’m an angel who watches over you. This is a time in life when we review all good deeds you have done for others. We must see if you are worthy of a room in God’s house of many mansions. Consider this a status check on the life you’ve lived to this moment.”

“Zack… Zack, I don’t understand—a status check?” the man asked with a wrinkled brow.

“My son, this place contains files for every person on earth,” as he extended his arm in the direction of a long corridor lined with cabinets. “When a person’s “Good Deeds” folder contains too few entries, an alarm is sounded to alert the angels who operate the repository. It is then we invite the person to visit us for a consultation of sorts. However, I must warn you—this is the only opportunity you will have to make necessary adjustments before your days on earth are no more. I suggest you heed this warning and take appropriate actions to bring about satisfactory changes in your life. You would be wise to do so.”

“What? You mean I’m here because my Good Deeds folder has too few entries? My file set off an alarm in heaven!?! But Zack, I’ve been a good person all my life. I go to church, read the Bible, love my family, work hard, I…”

Tapping his index finger on his lips in a gesture requesting silence, Zack interrupted saying, “Enough of your declarations regarding the good things you do. Indeed, you do many good things, but they do not represent good deeds. Good deeds are things done from your heart. The ones that matter most are those performed secretly, for God’s eyes only, while not seeking praise and honor from those around you. Let us look at your folder and we shall see all your good deeds,” as he motioned for the man to follow him.

Walking past many cabinets, Zack finally stopped in front of one at the far end of the hall. The drawer marked “Ben Taylor” had a bright-red light flashing beside the name.

FileCabineBenTaylor

Ben’s heart began beating rapidly with anticipation as Zack slowly pulled the drawer open and retrieved a manila folder labelled “Good Deeds of Ben Taylor.” Zack opened the folder, removed a single sheet of paper, and placed it in Ben’s hands. He then told Ben to read the entries listed on the page.

FileFolderBenTaylor

“Zack, this page is blank—I see only my name at the top! Surely, you have more papers in the folder for me to see. Please show me all the good deeds I’ve done for others!”

“Ben, there is only one page in your folder at present; it cites all the good deeds you have done for others. Thus the reason for the alarm I mentioned to you earlier.”

Ben’s shoulders slumped as he quickly tried to remember all the good deeds he had performed. The core of his being started aching when nothing came to mind. “Zack, I see another folder in my drawer also marked ‘Good Deeds.’ That folder is very thick and appears to contain numerous papers. Surely, my good deeds appear in that folder! Zack, I don’t wish to sound rude, but I think you selected the wrong folder. Please show me the second folder.”

“My son, I will gladly show you all the papers in the second folder, but they are the deeds done FOR you and NOT BY you. Your friends, family, and strangers performed many of these good deeds for you, but most came to you from your Father in heaven. They represent all the times God blessed you and forgave you for your many sins. God loves you and His grace is more than you can ever imagine. He wants you to love and do unto others in the same way He loves and does unto you.”

Ben fell to his knees and began weeping a river of tears. Sadness filled his heart as reality shined its bright light upon his life. “The good deeds in my life came TO me from others and not from me doing good deeds FOR others,” he thought while hiding his face from Zack.

Placing his hands on Ben’s shoulders, Zack spoke softly saying, “Rise, my son. I see that you are truly sorry for your past actions—the opportunities when you failed to act. Therefore, I’ll give you a chance to change your ways if you choose to do so. Return to your world with a renewed heart and start serving your Lord the way He would have you do. Spread His love by doing good deeds for others and be a blessing to them, for if you do these things and truly believe in Him, you will have a place for all eternity in God’s house of many mansions.”

When Ben awakened the next morning, his mind was clear and his heart felt warmed by the light from above. He kneeled beside his bed and started praying aloud, “Lord, today I wish to start anew. I have many things yet to do and no time to waste. From this day forward, I will serve You. I will follow the path You have placed before me, and I will gladly help others I encounter along my journey. I will not seek praise and honor from others, only You. By Your grace, I have another chance and with Your help, I will not falter. Amen.”

What does your “Good Deeds of Your Name” folder contain? Is there more than one sheet of paper in your folder? Is the folder thick with many entries? I hope your folder already contains many pages. If not, what are your plans for the future? Do you want to make any changes? Are you going to start making changes now or wait for the alarms in heaven to summon you?

FileFolderGoodDeedsYour

It’s all up to you. Don’t wait to receive that call for a consultation with your angel. Be blessed by helping others encountered along your journey in faith. You can start by flashing a warm smile to a stranger, offering encouraging words to someone who is down, providing aid to those who are less fortunate, and so many other opportunities too numerous to name. For each good deed you do, you have another entry placed in the “Good Deeds” folder bearing your name. Fill it up…

Bible

James 2:14-17 (NIV)

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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YOUTH AND ROLE MODELS

YouthRoleModels

A child comes into this world without knowledge of love, hate, prejudice, greed, good or evil. They learn these things by observing the actions and words of others—role models.

Role models definitely play an integral “role” in shaping the behavior of young people. As children age, they want to “be like” and “act like” their role models; they start emulating things these individuals say and do. It’s great when those actions and words are what we want for our youth, but that’s not always the case.

When I think of role models, the first that come to mind are famous people—athletes, movie stars, singers, etc. Folks like Rickie, Jordon, Tiger, Denzel, George, Julia, Carrie, and you. Who? That’s right, even YOU!

The good news is you don’t have to be famous to be one. In many ways, we are all role models because we influence the actions, behavior, and character of children. That’s a bit scary isn’t it!

Here’s the bad news—YOU ARE a role model for youth in some way, shape, or form. Think about that for a moment. Young folks observe your actions, reactions, and listen to things you say, even when you don’t realize they are doing it. Yep, they’re always watching and listening! Your actions and words often influence (good or bad) their young-impressionable minds. For some of them, YOU may be the most important person in their lives. As a parent, grandparent, relative, friend, coach, or teacher you may spend a lot of time with them. Enjoy the time with them, but try to be a good influence also.

Unfortunately, you are not always at your best. That applies to everyone! There are times in life when you have bad days; it happens! Your frustrations mount as one small thing after another builds pressure within you until you can’t take anymore. You burst like a pinpricked balloon, releasing a volley of gestures or words that are not always representative of good behavior. You react in ways you would never want young minds to witness or emulate.

I think I’ve seen the full spectrum of role-model behavior in my lifetime. For instance, as I watch my grandchildren performing in various events, typically sports, I’m sometimes shocked how some adults act around young folks. Saying it politely, I think some fans and coaches bring their pinpricked-balloon attitudes to the ballpark. They are not exactly the role models I want in the lives of my grandchildren, but they do serve a practical purpose—how NOT to act. More often than not, everyone acts civil, which is good and healthy for the character development of youth.

Just for fun, look at the short list below and select one individual from each line who you think would be the best role model for the young folks you know.

  1. Miley Cyrus                 Carrie Underwood
  2. Al Sharpton                  Dr. Ben Carson
  3. Tim Tebow                   Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner
  4. Tiger Woods                 Jordan Spieth
  5. President Bush             President Obama
  6. Michelle Obama          Condoleezza Rice
  7. YOURSELF                Uncle Joe/Aunt Sue

I’m sure you get the picture. YOU are the best role model for the young folks in your corner of the world. Congratulations! There are probably days when you would choose Uncle Joe or Aunt Sue over yourself—especially on your burst-balloon days. Hang in there because you CAN make a big difference!

So, what are your actions and words teaching children in your sphere of influence? Do you need to do some minor tweaking to your efforts? I certainly do!

Be a good role model… the world could use another one!

 Your certificate: print, date, and sign it—go forth and make a difference!

CertificateRecognition

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor   LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum