the golden rule

Rachel - Woodbine, Maryland
Entered on June 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: golden rule

This I Believe: The Golden Rule

I always felt that it was easy to act with a dominate attitude, forcing everyone around me to wilt under pressure. I spent my youth growing up in Baltimore, where attitude was everything. I believed that a person’s strength was determined by how much they were in control. I also felt that it was considered weak to not exert some type of stance on a position. Little did I know that my beliefs were biased and corrupt.

Even at a young age, I always liked being in power, even if that meant hurting the one’s around. Although it was only second grade, I liked to show my peers how powerful I actually was. I recall a time when my classmates and I were sitting at the lunch table when a particular girl was really bothering me. This girl was a little younger than me and she was also quite a bit smaller. I then decided to take it upon myself to expose her weakness to the entire table. I verbally attacked her with insults and mean comments until I reduced her to tears. Unfortunately, seeing her cry did not affect the way I felt about the situation. I believed that nothing would change my thoughts about power.

I saw the rest of my classmates trying to comfort her as I sat there in disgust. I did not think twice about my actions. I did not believe that I was wrong, nor did I think that I should apologize. I felt that I took control of a situation. It wasn’t until I was faced with a similar situation that I knew I had been wrong. Closer to the last days of school, I made a new friend during recess. We played every kind of game there was. We played hand games, I gave her piggy back rides, and we played on the jungle gym. She had an older sister who seemed a bit jealous of our friendship, so she told their mother that I was bullying her sister (which was not at all true). I didn’t know why she had done that, until I realized that she knew it would break us apart.

A few days after I heard that she told her mother about me, I received a strange visit. One day after school, I was waiting by the stop sign in front of my school. All of the sudden I saw my new friend come up to me, except she had an adult with her. This adult turned out to be her mother. All I remember was that her mother yelled at me for bullying her child. I felt very helpless. To make matters worse, my sister pulled besides me in her car to pick me up. She witnessed all of this, and I was absolutely humiliated. All I could do was stand there, be put down in front of others, and take this verbal attack by someone who was clearly three times the size of me. I couldn’t help myself, and I began to cry. All of the sudden it snapped.

I realized how outweighed I felt when this older, bigger person was coming at me. I also saw how unfair it was for anyone to take advantage of someone smaller than them, just to satisfy their own self esteem. It may not have been the intention of the parent to make me feel uneasy or overpowered; however, it delivered the same effect. I found out how no one has the right to take away someone’s dignity and make them small. Most important, I learned that I had no right to crush the confidence of anyone else. I did not know exactly how much I was hurting the people that I tried to take control of. We learn how our actions towards others have a greater impact then expected only after we have the same or similar actions bestowed upon us; this I believe.