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by Susan Kramer
While the twins were walking to the market they saw ahead of them a couple of kids from school. They knew that Tommy was younger than them, but Jack was bigger. They thought he was probably older. But you never know. As they got closer they could hear Jack chiding Tommy that he couldn't do as many pullups on the bars at school as he could.
At first Tommy turned and looked away from Jack, pretending that he didn't hear him. But Jack did not want to be ignored. He walked right around Tommy so they were face to face. Jack could see a look of sadness on Tommy's face, but that didn't stop his badgering. He had no compassion or understanding of how his words hurt Tommy's feelings.
It was then that both Anneke and Hans felt compelled to step in between the two to stop the negative action.
Hans wasn't sure if Jack was just bragging, or if he really felt nasty toward Tommy. Either way, Jack was bullying Tommy.
Hans and Anneke stayed right by Tommy's side.
Hans pointed out to Jack that just because he was bigger and stronger, did not give him the right to put down another person. He had probably lost the possibility of Tommy being his friend. And maybe he had lost the twins' friendship, too, because they had witnessed his negative words, and aggressive stance facing Tommy head on.
At this point Jack gave in, turned and walked away from the others. The twins could see that Tommy was still upset, because he was quiet and didn't move while Jack walked away. Anneke told Tommy that Jack's bragging and assertion that he was weaker didn't really mean it was true. She said that Jack was trying to make himself look like a better boy. But, Anneke said that all he succeeded in doing was showing his negative rather than his positive self.
She suggested that if someone bullied him again he could choose to walk away, or even run away if he felt he was in danger. And that he could tell an older friend or a trusted adult what had happened.
This was her suggestion because adults know that bullying is unacceptable behavior. A couple of trusted adults would have private talks with Jack and maybe with his parents.
They would tell Jack that being positive and supportive was the way to win friends and put himself in a good light. That bullying was always negative and wrong. Then the twins invited Tommy to walk with them to the market and come home with them for a snack of ginger cookies and chocolate milk.
Since Tommy wasn't expected home for another hour, he joined the twins while they bought their items. Then he walked to their home with them, enjoyed the cookies, and finally headed around the corner to his own home.
Tommy was feeling better when he left for home, and resolved that if he felt threatened in the future he would tell his mom or a teacher.
Tommy could see that Jack had used negative behavior, and hoped that he would become more positive with the good influences of Anneke and Hans.
Key points: bullying; negative behavior; positive behavior
Excerpted from Anneke and Hans in 30 Short Stories from North Holland http://www.susankramer.com/annekeandhans.html
The Bully and artwork copyright © 2018-2019 Susan Helene Kramer