Many times in our lives we are faced with decisions to take a stand. This might have been in the
form of stepping up and speaking your mind or you may have had the opportunity to save someone
from injury but could not act quickly enough. There will be times in our lives that we wish we could go back in time and save a loved one or Mae a better choice. Given that we can't go back and fix the mistakes of the past, it becomes necessary to change the way we view ourselves and try to right the wrongs in the present. In my life, I hade the opportunity to voice my opinion and protect an individual from ridicule but, I choose to stand by and watch.
I was raised to be a person who respects others and protect my family name. My father often told me, "the only thing that you can take with you when you leave this earthly existence, is your good name." I have kept those words imbedded in my mind and have tried to honor my father and my mother. Now that I have a family of my own, I try to teach my children the same principles of respect and honor. It is important to always walk out of your home uprightly and, return the same way. I often recount to my family the decisions (both good and bad), that I have made in my life, that have molded me into the man I am today. My children are taught to respect authority and their elders as well as treating their peers with dignity and class. Although my wish is that my children will always choose the right path, I know that they will face opposition and will make mistakes. Those choices are theirs to make freely, for they will be the choices that will mold them into honorable men and women.
While I was a junior in high school, I was faced with a lot of peer pressure to do what other kids where doing. It was hard for me to fit in and I was the victim of bullying by some. Kids would do mean things, whether it meant hurting someone's pride or teasing an unsuspecting individual for the pleasure of others. One such occasion stands out in my mind to this day and I regret not taking a stand to protect an innocent person from ridicule. There was a young man in my school (we'll call him Mark), who was mentally challenged and loved to talk and wave to everyone. He was often found wondering the hallways before school and during breaks. Some students found it odd that he would look down while he walked, and stop to pick things off of the ground. One of my fellow classmates noticed that Mark was picking up coins that had been discarded. After that discovery, several of my classmates would throw coins at Mark as he walked by, and watch as Mark ran after the coins to snatch them up and put them in his pockets. We would stand back and laugh at Mark, and watch as other kids would throw their coins at him. I've always felt guilty for not stepping in and stopping this teasing from continuing but, I felt that if I did, I would become the new Mark. Mark didn't return to school the following year and I never had the opportunity to apologize to him for my actions. I would venture to say that Mark must have collected a hundred dollars or more, as the year went on.
We may never know the outcome of the decisions we make but, it is important to make a decision. Even if we choose not to, we still have made a choice. My only resolve was to change the way I view people and to protect others from the same torment. Now I choose to stand up for the rights of others and express my feelings. I have had many discussions with school officials and law enforcement about the acts of bullying in schools as my children have also been the victims. It is my hope that others would take the time to think through their decisions before acting upon them because you can't change the outcome once it is completed. We must check our moral compass from time to time in order to stay on the right course. My final words of advice are, just because there are several people are doing it, doesn't make it right.