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“Bully” Movie Makes Me So Mad and Upset I Couldn’t Sleep…

Stop Bullying NowOver the weekend, I finally had a chance to sit alone (in peace and quiet – Mama-san was out for girls night and Sweet Pea was asleep) and watch the documentary film, "Bully" in its entirety.

I had seen the trailer for the film, as well as bits and pieces here and there, but never the full film from start to finish. I was excited that I had a chance to see the whole thing by myself; I really wanted to be able to focus and get into the stories in the film.

Now I wish I hadn't.

I say that because I got so upset, angry and then pi@#ed off by the end of the film that I had a hard time sleeping that night.

The opening sequence of the film is like a gut shot to a parent like me. A father, whose eyes reveal a broken heart, tells the camera the story of his boy growing up and being bullied and while he is talking, there is footage edited in of the boy crawling, then walking in diapers, followed by more footage showing the boy growing up. The father then goes on to tell you how he walked into his boy's room, didn't see him, turned toward his closet – and saw his boy hanging there.

From then on, Harvey Weinstein and Lee Hirsch – the producer and director of the film – go on to tell you more stories of parents and kids hurt by bullying, each one as powerful and disturbing as the next. From a boy that is teased, punched, strangled and called, "Fishface", to a teen lesbian who cuts herself, to a girl who pulled a gun on bullies on a bus because she felt, "like she had no choice", faced 45 felony counts and was sentenced to juvenile hall and more, the stories really touched my heart – and made me MAD.

Mad because I could see my child being bullied. Mad because if it was my child in one of the circumstances in the film, I would have blown a gasket on the teachers, schools, principles, bus drivers and anyone else. I was also mad because in a way, I felt helpless. Let me explain…

I felt helpless because to me, there were obvious things the parents could do to help their kids – but they didn't do them; not out of lack of caring or love, but because they simply DID NOT KNOW what to do or how to do it. At one point, I was watching the film and literally screaming at the television as in one scene, the Dad was talking to the boy called Fishface and the Dad was trying to give his son a pep talk, "toughen him up" and get the boy to understand that he had to do something about the bullying, not only for himself but for his little sister. While the Dad's heart was in the right place, he HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY botched the conversation, obviously making his son feel worse in the process, and WORSE, he didn't explain or show his son HOW to stand up for himself!

To top it off, for this one child (Fishface), the parents had obviously NOT talked to the boy about grooming, or dress or being squared away physically because he dressed like a slob, had no discernible hairstyle or grooming and looked skinny and weak. When the boy walked around, he walked around looking down at the ground as if he was afraid of his shadow. My heart broke for this kid because he had no clue what to do or how to do it.

I was so steamed by the end of the movie, I couldn't calm down. I took five (5) pages of notes, all on things that I saw were done wrong, handled wrong, could have been fixed and more. I noted the problems with the schools, how the parents approached the schools incorrectly, and on and on and on. I am getting mad again just sharing this with you.

I am sharing this with you today for several reasons. The first is to HIGHLY RECOMMEND that if you are an adult that has been exposed to bullying or a parent of child that is a bully or has been bullied – watch the movie, "Bully". I cannot recommend this strongly enough. You simply must see and feel what kids go through when they are targeted and the circumstances around the bullying to start to understand what it is like for kids now.

Secondly, I was stunned – STUNNED – at the viciousness of the bullies. It was almost as if there was no parenting going on in these kids' lives. Their lack of empathy, respect and decency for other human beings was disgusting.

Third, I was surprised at the lack of people that stood up for people being bullied. My parents taught me to do the right thing, help those in need, be a good person. I was taught, first as a U.S. Marine and then as a martial artist, that I have a duty to help those in need or those who can't stand up for themselves, are under attack or weak. With all the bullying prevention programs in schools and in the press, I was sure that there would be more people standing up to help someone being bullied. At least in this film, not so.

Lastly, while one kid who took his own life because of bullying did know martial arts, he didn't use it to stand up to the bullies. The rest of the kids in the film didn't know martial arts or how to stand up for themselves – and never did. The one girl who DID finally stand up for herself did NOT know how to do it properly, so she pulled a gun on the bus and threatened the bullies. She was lucky she didn't end up in prison for the rest of her young life. There was ONE boy who was interviewed that had been bullied that said the bullying STOPPED – when he stood up for himself.

We MUST teach our kids to stand up for themselves. WE are the answer. Kids must have the tools to take care of themselves and to be able to stand up for themselves. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. I know I cover this in the book, "Bullies Suck" and in the Ultimate Bullying Solution Society newsletter, but after seeing that movie, I have to do more – and I will.

I will keep you posted on what's coming up – and I have something very soon; in the meantime, if you haven't done so yet, get your copy of "Bullies Suck" and start working on yourself and with your family.

Once you see the movie, "Bully", you will understand.

Stay Strong,


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