We have been establishing a basis for helping children who are being bullied. Bullying is a highly emotive term – with as many heads as a `Many Headed Hydra.’ You will recall that the Hydra had nine heads and if you cut one off it grew two more.
(The resultant eleven plus question: `How long will it take a Hydra to grow eighteen heads?’ Answers on a post card please to: Etc DA11 0DL. Please mark your post card with: the word Hydra and your answer.)
I can still remember at school a boy from the boarding house dormitory where I was a pupil’ He quite simply had a stutter. He stuttered because he kept repeating words or parts of words. He did not stammer, which is the inability to offer any words. He stuttered. He did not like one of the boarding house masters who took the roll call when we were all lined up waiting to go into the meal. We lined up in rows, starting with the youngest dormitory.
The whole hostel waited with bated breath for the boy’s name to be called. All he had to say was `present’. When the master (Mr Geoff) read his name he started to stammer. Mr Geoff made the entire hostel wait until the boy had said the full word. We wanted our food. Mr Geoff wanted vengeance. He wanted power. Sometimes we waited in silence. Sometimes someone tried to help by answering on the boy’s behalf.
The saving grace for this boy was the undoubted ability and ferociousness he displayed on the rugby field. He would tackle anything and anyone. The boys in the hostel respected him for this bravery and courage. Most were tolerant and supportive – especially during the rugby season.
Sometimes a very bright eleven plus child may experience bullying from less able children. Bullying does not have to be physical – mental bullying can be worse!
“Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”