The boys in my family develop early and quickly and big. When I entered my first year of junior high, I could easily pass as a high school student. My older brother was a high school senior, and could easily pass for an NFL lineman!
So anyway, I thought I would try asserting my size on my fellow students. In other words, I would become a bully. There were five guys in particular I used to pick on. They were too ashamed to report it, except for one. His parents came by our house to speak to my parents about it. Mom and Dad were not so sure the stories were true. They said I was not raised that way. My brother overheard what was being said, and then entered the room telling all that he had heard the stories and they appear to be true. He then told Mom and Dad that he would handle the problem.
So the next day, after school, I felt like having a bit of fund at the expense of a kid named Jerry. I met him outside and “accidentally” bumped into him causing him to drop his books. Then after giving the books a few kicks, I began to push Jerry around. Then I heard a voice, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I turn around. It’s my older brother.
Brother grabs me by the collar and throws me to the ground. “I asked you a question,” he yells. I answer nothin’. “It doesn’t look like nothin’ to me! What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I say nothing, but I try to stand up. My brother hurls me to the ground again. “Did I tell you to get up?” No. “Then you stay down there until I tell you to get up!” He tells me to apologize to Jerry as I laid on the ground. I say I’m sorry in a quiet voice. “That’s not good enough! Say it like you mean it!” I try again. “And?” I don’t know what to say. “Tell him you will never bully him again!” I mumble my response. “What the hell did you just say? No one can understand you! Speak louder!” I promised I would never bully Jerry again.
My brother continues, “Do you think picking on kids who are weaker than you makes you a man?” No response. “Answer me, shithead!” No. “No what?” No it does not make me a man. “It makes you a wimp!” Silence. “Say it! It makes you a wimp!” I repeat what my brother said. He tells me to get up and go home. I walk off with everyone smirking at me. I feel totally humiliated.
That night at home, my brother comes into my room. He is talking in a calm voice now. He sits down next to me. “How did I make you feel this afternoon? I really humiliated you, didn’t I? How did it feel?” Bad, I answered. “How do you think it makes the guys you bully feel? Do you think that’s right to make someone feel bad like that?” I don’t answer. My brother continues, “You’re my little brother and I love you. I want what’s best for you. And that means I want you to get along with people and for others to like you. Do you think anyone in your class likes you right now?” I guess not.
I tell my brother I learned my lesson and will not bully anyone again. He tells me that is not enough. “What you have to do now is even tougher than what happened this afternoon. You have to go to all the kids you bullied and apologize.” And that’s what I did. It was hard and humiliating, but I apologized to all. The kids I bullied were willing to forgive me. Eventually I became friends with them, and very, very good friends with two of them. I was much happier the rest of the school year. I can never repay my brother for scaring me straight.