My 7-year-old son was bullied at school recently. Fighting off tears, he told me a kid punched him in the stomach “and it really hurt”. He explained further that there were two boys and after the one punched him in the stomach another gave him an Indian burn (twisting one’s arm separate ways, creating a burning sensation). The boys topped it off with a threat of getting a gun from their home, bringing it to school and shooting my son.
Now, I’ve had some experience with bullies in my day and have no tolerance for it. I embraced the opportunity to help my son handle this effectively and immediately got to work developing a plan. I could see comfort replace the pain and fear as I looked him in the eyes and confidently began speaking.
I explained the psychology of a bully. That they are typically cowards who will back down when someone stands up to them. I let him know that it is not okay to be hit like that and he is allowed to protect himself. This whole event caught him by surprise and he didn’t know what to do, so I started there.
Because they mentioned a gun (even though they are first graders) I explained he needs to tell his teacher about the incident, first thing in the AM. Then I explained that he was to find the bully at first opportunity, walk right up to him and say “yesterday you hit me and I’m not okay with it… DON’T do it again”. We rehearsed it several times until he was forceful and confident (a long way from where he started). I then explained that one of two things would happen at this point; 1. the bully would do nothing and cower down like most, or… 2. He would continue to try and bully him and possibly try to attack him again. We then prepared and rehearsed for the latter.
I conveyed that whether he won or lost the fight was not important. I told him that as long as he stood up for what was right, was brave and fought back against the bully that he had my full support and that I would be proud (and that most importantly, he would be proud of himself). I also let him know that the very act of standing up to bullies can prevent them from hurting others in the future…. that he could prevent others from suffering because of his willingness to be brave and do the right thing. He loved that concept.
So, the next day arrived and I couldn’t wait to hear what happened! As soon as he walked in the door I begged for details. (drum roll) He said he walked right up to the bully and said exactly what we rehearsed, the way we rehearsed….. and the bully simply said “okay”. Hahahaha!! I was so proud of my boy and he glowed with a new found confidence in himself. He went on to start an “anti-bully” group and is having a great year.
Now, to the point and reason for this post… Something happened a couple of days later that really stood out to me. A breakthrough for my son of sorts. He walked in after school, looks at me with a sense of urgency and says “I need to get stronger“. This was music to my ears because he has the skinniest little bird frame you could imagine and is not a voracious eater. It’s always a struggle trying to get healthy food down him and my frustration level goes into the red zone frequently from the redundant explanation of how important it is. He talks about being “strong like Dad” so I remind him that a healthy diet is paramount to physical strength during way too many meals. This particular day he vowed to start eating more and better so he could achieve his newfound goals for health and stature. I was elated.
Most of the self-help” greats emphasize physical excursion and general physical health as a recommended source of power and a driver for massive change in many areas beyond just physical strength. There is a mental, emotional and spiritual component to maintaining a physical regiment involving diet awareness correlated with cardiovascular and strength training. It all comes together in that moment of pain and growth we subject ourselves to during a workout. Mental toughness is enhanced and a state of meditation can be induced. I love it and have found it to be instrumental in not only my recovery but so many additional areas of my life. When all else fails me, I default to physical exercise to get me through tough times. I’ve had many breakthroughs in various areas during or after a workout. If you can sit in a sauna or steam room after a workout, do it. Make sure to stay hydrated and replace the minerals you will lose from sweating so much. I like “trace minerals” because they have ALL of our body’s minerals in a form we can fully assimilate. I always include a few drops in my water jug and can assure you it will help with cramping or any other side effects of dehydration/detoxing. You will feel great! There are a lot of other staple health products I take that you can find in this video if you are interested. Supplements are a HUGE factor in getting the results you want in addition to the action itself and diet. I had a hard time putting on muscle in Jr. High and High School, even College but now I understand I lacked in areas of protein and amino acid consumption among some other factors.
I pass this along to you as I will my son. I cannot stress, enough, the importance of physical health in my life. It is an imperative source of balance, strength, and happiness in my life and I strongly encourage anyone who is seeking happiness in their life to explore ways to grow in the physical realm. It will all tie together for you as I have alluded to and you will indeed see that you become “stronger”.