Nick Vujicic on the Evils of Bullying
- Thursday, April 04, 2013
Some of my older friends offered to beat him up, but I didn’t want to hurt this yahoo; I just wanted to shut him up. Finally I decided to confront him. I took the energy from my anger and fear and used it to power my wheelchair right up to him one day in the hallway after he’d shouted out his usual insult and embarrassed me once again. Andrew looked even bigger at close range. This was one of those times that I wished my wheelchair was equipped with a battering ram, or at least a power hose. Still, I could see that he was surprised at my gutsy move.
“Why do you do that?” I asked.
“Do what?” he replied.
“Why do you tease me and say that?” I asked.
“Does it offend you?”
“Yeah, it hurts me every time you say it.”
“I didn’t realize that, man. I was just kidding around. I’m sorry.”
His apology seemed genuine, so I accepted and we shook hands.
In truth, I did say, “I forgive you,” and that seemed to surprise him. He never bothered me again. I’m sure Andrew didn’t think of himself as a bully. Often, bullies don’t. They think they are just kidding or teasing or trying to be funny. Sometimes people don’t realize their words are hurtful.
But when they are being hurtful, they need to stop or be stopped.
Andrew may have been one of those people who finds it difficult relating to someone with a disability. Maybe he tried to bridge the perceived gap between normal (him) and different (me) by teasing me. Whatever his reason, Andrew was hurting me and ruining my school days with his thoughtless remarks.
Those old feelings came back and caused an ache like old wounds reopened when Daniel’s parents told me that he was being bullied in grade school. He and I are so much alike, not just physically, but temperamentally too. Daniel is a gregarious, fun-loving lad, and I knew that being bullied would steal his joy and trigger insecurities just as it had done to me.
So I offered to come to his school and talk to the students about the dangers and cruelty of bullying. The school officials rallied around the idea. They had me speak to all the classes from kindergarten through the fifth grade, and I was pleased to hear that the school staffers were doing whatever they could to help. They had Daniel speak to all the students about what he can and cannot do, how he does certain tasks, and what his life is like without arms or legs.
Daniel Day was a slam dunk. I made it clear to everyone at his school that I was Daniel’s good friend and biggest booster and that I would take it personally if anyone ever bullied him again. I told them to be cool, not cruel. Beyond that, I spoke about the dangers and cruelty of bullying from my perspective and from a global view. I also talked about the impact of bullying on the victims and ways to recognize when someone is being bullied, and I encouraged all the students to speak out and act out to stop bullying in their communities.
Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.
Publication date: April 4, 2013
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