“As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that anyone can offer you. The hot water that softens a carrot will harden an egg.”
― Clayton M. Christensen
I have many pet-peeves, but none greater than gurus and experts that proclaim to have all the answers. Advice is helpful, but people aren’t one size fits all. Often the experts/gurus will forget this fact when they provide advice. Telling people to spend more time with their children is one thing, but telling fathers specifically that they must teach their sons how to catch with a baseball mitt is another.
In order to give accurate advice one needs to know as many of the details as possible.
If your daughter is having a pain in her arm, if you called a doctor and said “My daughter’s arm is in pain”, how accurate do you think the doctor’s diagnosis will be based upon that info?
Yet people seek info from books and experts who don’t know their child, who don’t know the variables, and yet the parents expect the advice to work.
I mention this because I’m going to share a personal story about bullying, but I am not going to mention a lesson from it. For some my story might work for them, but for others it might backfire.
Back when I was in high school, I would return home via the school bus. It was after a long day of school, we were teenage boys, and there was no one supervising us on the bus. This led to absolute chaos some nights.
Nothing was worse than the “pile-on”.
A “pile-on” was when a person was forced to lay down on their seat, other kids would then start laying on top of him until they reached the ceiling. Once the top person went on top, he’d push his feet against the ceiling, adding pressure onto the pile.
I’d say that it hurt to be on the bottom of the “pile-on”, but that would be a massive understatement.
One day I heard the guys conspiring, suddenly they shouted “Pile-On Picker!!”.
I knew what was coming, but I had a plan.
My plan was to put my bag on the floor so that my stuff wouldn’t get broken. I was also going to position myself near the edge of the seat so that I would be able to slither out of the “pile-on”.
But I needed to stall a bit to make sure that I could put my plan into action.
So while I got my plan into action, I said “Yay! ‘Pile-on’ Picker!, Awesome”. I put my bag on the floor and laid down on the edge of the seat, preparing to slither off the seat as the “pile-on” progressed.
But there never was a “pile-on” me. Not then, not afterwards. They all looked at each other dazed and confused.
“We can’t do it to him...he wants it!” was a common theme that I heard.
Bullying isn’t about the actions, it is often about the control and the reaction of others.
Even though it wasn’t my intention, but I was able to show them that I wasn’t someone that they wanted to bully.
Will this work with all other cases of bullying? Absolutely not!
While this saved me from a high school “pile-on”, I highly doubt that the result would have been the same had this occured while I was in the 4th grade.
Nevertheless, I am sharing this story because perhaps it will be the solution for someone else who is having a similar issue.
Share tips, share advice, try to see if it will apply to your situation. Be wary of doctors, gurus and experts who know what ails your daughter’s arm when they don’t know your daughter and they haven’t even examined the arm.
Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.
You can email Yisroel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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