This is an excerpt from N. Awakening
The Boy and the Bully
…….“Let’s stay in, it’s going to rain.” She approached the “Declaration of Principles” plaque and said, “Will you show me some of your writings?” She had read all of his published books and understood most of it, she thought, yet, there is something about having the author share them with you. There is something authentic about that, something timeless.
“First thing’s first. What issue would write your representative affecting our world today?” Mitchell awaited brilliance; his first mistake.
“What’s the point of writing your representative?” She appeared perplexed, “Grandpa, six kids in my class were inspired to write our Representative and received no response.” She lowered her head and revealed her feelings, “Me included.”
Mitchell was quick with a long reply. He felt that by passing much time through thoughtful words that he might be able to convince Nasha that voicing her opinions remains an integral part of the American republic. He thought that at the very least, by professing a prodigious polemic, he could derail her depressingly honest remark. “Sometimes it is enough to tell people who you are. By expressing your viewpoints, you form a certain symbolic statistic. You become a member of the greater community of people participating in politics. In time, your voice might be the loudest. Remember, we live in a republic, not a democracy. A democracy is when everyone participates in each and every decision. The only time we young, mindful people engage in a democracy is through referendums. For example, do you remember the new Olympic pool that was built at your school the last four years?”
“That pool was built because the local citizens approved a mill increase to pay for the expenses. That is democracy! That is also why we live in a republic, because citizens elect officials to represent them on national issues but we do not vote on those laws.”
Mitchell noticed that these words had created new thought in Nasha and so he continued the polemic. “We must tell our public representatives what we stand for. It is like the story of ‘The Boy and the Bully.’” Mitchell looked over at Nasha. She was interested and glad he was the one with a spoonful of information.
“What’s the story?” Nasha curiously inquired.
“A boy walks to school on the first day with money for lunch. Halfway there and halfway from home he is stopped by a bully. The bully demands the boy’s money and unless the money is given, the boy will get a beating. What is the boy to do?”
Nasha thought and answered, “Give him the money.”
Mitchell remained serious, “Why?” He asked.
“I would rather be broke than have a broken face,” she jokingly smiled.
Mitchell listened to his surroundings, became more somber and then questioned her, “What do you do after the bully has left?” Nasha thought terribly hard and found no witty response. “Walk to school a different way the next day,” she said. Mitchell thought about the consequences of her reply. He thought deeply about how this response paralleled what she might decide in future public policy decisions. He continued the parable.
“The boy does give the bully his money and when he arrives at school he calls his mom and tells her about the incident. The mother calls the boy’s father, who then calls the police and they all sit down in the principal’s office. They listen to the boy’s story. The principal reimburses the boy. The following day the police officer (known as Uncle Nathan) confronts the bully as he again attempts to rob the boy’s money and the police officer explains the consequences of the bully’s actions. The police officer also explains to the bully before he departs that he will take him to jail if the boy doesn’t have his lunch money. Nasha, what is the message of the boy and the bully?”
Nasha spoke plainly, “If we don’t speak up about things that affect us negatively then that negative abuse will continue or get worse. That if we confront our ‘bully’ with the help of others then we can, with the help of others, resolve our problem.” Mitchell was satisfied. He was pleased to hear that Nasha recognized that it was a community of people who solved the boy’s problem with the bully.
He asked her, “What would have happened to the boy if he simply went to school another way?”
Nasha looked down, then up and retorted, “The bully probably would have found the boy and taken his money again and maybe asked for more. The abuse would have continued—indefinitely. Right?”
“Right.” Mitchell kept control of the conversation, “And much more injustice would have taken place, Nasha. For example, had the boy not told his mother and had he continued to be subdued by the bully, he would have gone hungry—indefinitely. Yet, we are missing another grain of truth in this parable which is the truth about the adverse effects the boy could have endured. Let’s imagine the boy kept his mouth shut and daily gave the bully his money. Isn’t it true then that the boy would begin to dread walking to school? Wouldn’t he abhor submitting to the bully and giving him his lunch money?”
“Yes, you could say that.” Nasha said.
“And isn’t it also true that the boy would be hungry in the afternoons? And then, because of this hunger, he might ask his classmates for food and instead of being just another kid at the lunch table, now isn’t he becoming a beggar? And wouldn’t the boy begin to dread this too?”
“I never thought of those ramifications, but I can see that happening,” Nasha replied.
“Wouldn’t the classmates then begin to exclude the boy from their activities since it is he who takes from them? And wouldn’t the boy begin to hate this too?”
Nasha answered, “Most likely.”
“Isn’t it true that soon enough the boy would begin to not only hate the walk to school, but hate school itself? And wouldn’t this regretfully affect his learning attitude and cooperative citizenship, I mean, school participation?”
Nasha replied, “Yes grandpa, yes it would.”
“Now that we know how the boy’s decision that day affected his social and academic future, let us continue to observe another truth within the parable. Isn’t it also true that because the boy was present with his mother, father, school principal and police officer that he became a part of a positive solution?” Mitchell asked.
“Without a doubt,” Nasha answered.
“Then would not the boy, a few days later, appreciate the principal for giving him lunch money which enabled him to eat and be full?”
“And would not the boy apprize the police officer’s actions regarding the bully? Wouldn’t the boy recognize that his safety was restored when walking to school because of the police officer?”
“Yes grandpa,” Nasha replied.
Mitchell gave weight to his following words, “So when we allow negative situations to continue, because we do not speak up, then like the boy, we begin to incur all the ramifications of that negative event.”
Nasha’s eyes widened.
“Thus, if we speak up and tell our representatives about our political, social, economic, et cetera injustices, as the boy had, then won’t the negative ramifications of that event possibly cease? Moreover, if we speak up and our elected politicians solve our social, political and economic problems, then won’t you have an excellent attitude towards participating in our government?”
“Yes!” Nasha answered erect in her seat. “Yes, I would participate in our government!”
Mitchell stopped speaking and again appreciated his surroundings. He let silence usurp the conversation. He really didn’t want to hear her state the logical conclusion of the parable; which was that since her friends received no reply and no action was taken on their behalf, then isn’t that equivalent to the boy telling the wall his problem?
Lightning scattered throughout the free air and enlivened the dark sky. Certain flashes seemed to create daylight. Thunder sounded at almost every second, sometimes with a crack or with a crash; sometimes like a ripple, at other times like a rip. Rain poured down. The roof sounded like an audience applauding the arrival of some Nobel Peace Prize recipient, or perhaps, it had the diligence of an appreciative crowd after a moving musical.
American Strides came to Nasha:
- I am screaming prodigiously
- To awaken your mind before me!
- Drop your fear. Open your eyes—bully!
- Drop propaganda’s weight and stand—Free!
Andreea cuddled up next to Mitchell. She softly kissed him on the forehead. She felt secure and protected. She loved the story of the boy and the bully. She opened a book of poems while Nasha thought about the many ramifications of this simple yet profound parable. She thought to herself, “Who is the boy…Who is the bully in our times?”Lightning illuminated the lake—and her mind.
 Rare. All too rare.
 Especially whistle-blowers. They must be fully protected.
 What if the bully is the boy without lunch money? Would that be robbing from the middle class to give to the poor? Can that be justified? Is there a comparison—say, our government taxes us to provide for the poor? Could taxes be our bully?