Thursday, May 21, 2015

An Ashamed Man

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                           

I am a grown man who has carried around with him the burden of not jumping to the defense of a girl in my class when I was in high school. She was being ridiculed, bullied and I suspect worse tormenting.

I was too embarrassed to say anything because the guys bullying her were friends of mine. I was afraid they would think I was a wimp if I spoke up for her because I was already shy.

The girl being humiliated and hurt was in some of my classes. She was always very kind and beautiful inside and out. I still remember the pain in her eyes because I didn’t stick up for her. She probably thought of me as her friend because I did sit and talk with her in one of my classes.

I can’t shake that feeling that I should have, would have and so on. I’m still sorry that I wasn’t man enough to step up to the plate. It’s been about a dozen years since then. I just don’t know how to get rid of these thoughts.

Now I have a daughter and I would never want her to be harmed like that and not have someone help her out.
What can I do?
Ashamed Man

Dear Ashamed Man,

Thank you for maturing into a “stand-up” man. You have helped to start healing many hearts today, just by telling girls everywhere that you are truly sorry.

Your apology will also give many girls and women hope—hope that boys who do not stand up for them now, might stand up for them when they are grown and good men. You give optimism to girls that guys may mature enough to take responsibility for their actions or inactions. 

Boys need to be taught to be gentlemen just as much as girls need to be taught to be ladies. This creates a civil society, something our world is sorely missing today.

Your remorse will start the process of forgiving yourself. How wonderful to be on the path of finding personal peace! You are also on the path of being a good example for your daughter.
You can start your daughter on our Triangle of Triumph™, which is preventing or restoring her from Victim to Survivor to Leader.

All of our girls need to learn how to be less vulnerable to bullying. Teach her that if she becomes a victim, she does not have to remain one. Start a dialogue with her and help her learn to define herself and then become an assertive, but not aggressive, leader.

Teach her that if she becomes a victim, it is not her fault. Most victims of bullying feel unwarranted shame. 

Let her know you are there to protect her and that is your job as her parent. Tell her she is a daughter of God and has great worth. Tell her to never fear telling an adult she is being bullied or someone she knows is bullied. If that adult doesn’t do anything to help her, tell her to keep telling adults until someone does something and not to give up. Tell her to reject “just ignore them and it will stop” messages that don’t work.

Put her in classes that develop her sense of well being. Have her identify and define her talents; such as compassion, or a sport or something artistic.

One last effort you could make, if you know the name of the girl that has been haunting you, find her and tell her you are sorry. She may or may not be receptive but that isn’t the point. It could help heal her and you.

Congratulations for being conscientious! Now, forgive yourself and help anti-bully endeavors in any way you can.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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