We had an interesting conversation at the dinner table the other night.
There’s this kid in the neighborhood who seems smart and polite to me, but my kids say he’s a bully. From what I know about him and his family, he’s going to have some serious challenges in his life.
In the conversation with the kids about loving people and being friends with those that are hard to be nice to, it confirmed to me something that the Lord has been dealing with me about: the careless words that have come out of my mouth.
There are many things I regret as I think back about my childhood.
Maybe it was my need to fit in, maybe it was just that I thought I was better, but regardless, I found all of these people annoying to the point that I said mean things to them. The things that I said were downright hateful, rude, and absolutely insensitive.
If I could go back and change it I would.
So here I am sitting with my kids saying thank-you for the opportunity hinder history from repeating itself — a generation later.
None of these people will probably ever read these words, but I’d like to say: I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
Part of Stephanie’s face was disfigured. She had a big scar on her neck. Everyone teased her — including me.
Mike smarted off to everyone. He was the biggest wuss. We all picked on him. He seemed to bring it all on himself. He was whiny as all-get-out. I know he just wanted a friend. I had plenty of opportunities, but couldn’t bring myself to offer.
James didn’t do very well in school. I teased him all the time because I was in the “advanced” math class and he wasn’t. He had enough in gym class one day and punched me in the mouth. He got suspended. I didn’t but should have.
Shawn was my nemesis. An atheist, a Mac lover, and a member of the debate team — three things I hated. Three things I hated because he liked them. He was a good student, but he just annoyed the heck out of me. Full-throttle antagonist all the time. I said some pretty mean things to his face and to others when he wasn’t around.
If there was anyone who I’d label “least likely to succeed,” it would be Paul. He was a jerk to everyone. He was not a good student. He was constantly getting in fights and getting suspended. As he got older, he got bigger and tougher. I always thought he was so dumb that he’d never amount to anything. The deck was stacked against him in more ways than one. I hope life has been better for him.
Melissa rode my bus and went to the special-ed classes. I cleverly came up with a nickname for her on my own. This is one that I regret the most.
Todd hated me. I’m not really sure why. No one messed with him because he could knock you out. I wanted to knock him out but knew I couldn’t. I met Todd again a few years ago. I wondered if he remembered grabbing me by the hair holding me underwater at swim practice. I could only muster a “how’s it going?”
Matt’s dad was pompous and arrogant and his son was a chip off the old block. Matt was all that and “proficient” with the ladies. I privately sneered at him for being such a heathen and a jerk.
I’ve known Jeff and Matt my whole life. They used to tease me about being younger than they were. I always resented it. It seems like a pretty lame thing to be bitter about as I look at it in hindsight.
We had this bald and buck-toothed bus driver named Butch. Us kids on the bus were relentlessly mean to him. He took it. He didn’t deserve it.
John was the one kid in high school that got teased more than anyone else. It was absolutely vicious. The “lead teaser” was a kid from my church, which made it that much worse. I doubt John will ever be known as anyone other than “that guy”. I hope he’s shaken it.