Beating Down Bullying

What is bullying?

When I was a boy, we used to play a game called King of the Hill. One person would start out on top of the hill. In order to win the game and become King of the Hill, you had to push others aside, knock others down, and fight to get to the top. The person who was the strongest, the most aggressive, or who cared the least about hurting other people or about how his or her actions affected other people usually won.

This is a picture of bullying.

Everybody wants to be the King or Queen of some hill because everyone wants to be known and respected for something, everyone wants to be noticed for something, everyone wants to be valued and honored for something. The question is what will you do to climb your hill? When there are no limits as to what you will do to conquer your hill there is a good chance that you are a bully.

Let me stop here to define what I mean by bullying.

There is Physical bullying – physical threats or actions;

There is Emotional bullying – name-calling, teasing, insulting;

There is Relationship bullying – silent treatment, isolation/shunning, spreading lies or rumors about someone.

Bullying takes place in our homes, jobs, and schools. Bullying is done by children and adults, co-workers and bosses, spouses and friends. Bullying is done face to face and increasingly online via social media. Bullying happens when we fail to have respect for others.

Respect is recognizing and showing appreciation for another person’s worth or value – for who they are and what they do. Disrespect is just the opposite – it’s stepping into someone else’s space and failing to recognize and show appreciation for another person’s worth or value – for who they are and what they do.

When we regularly and intentionally show disrespect to others with the intent to do harm or to get the upper hand, that is called bullying.

One of the keys to stopping bullying is the bystanders. The website,, describes “bystanders” this way:

“Bystanders are very different from either victims or bullies mainly because they make a decision to stay on the outside of the situation. Whereas victims and bullies are directly involved, bystanders think that avoiding the conflict altogether is either the right move or the best thing for them personally. There are several things a person does, or does not do, that can make them a bystander:

  • Purposefully ignoring the event entirely;
  • Witnessing the event and choosing not to take the appropriate actions;
  • Witnessing the event thinking something on the lines of, “at least that person wasn’t me.”

While bystanders play a crucial role in stopping bullying, the potential for personal peril is a strong deterrent for involvement. A recent news story – Former Marine Brutally Beaten While Saving Teen Says It Was All in the Line of Duty – shows, however, that the sense of respect and responsibility for others can override those fears.

I wonder how I would respond if I found myself in this kind of situation. What about you?


Video Capture 3 Men Beating A Man Who Tried To Defend A Bullied Teen