A boy tells the bus driver he’s going to kill himself today before leaving the bus. A four-year-old go unsupervised to the swimming pool and drowns. A seven-year-old boy is on a sled, on top of a grassy hill, directly aimed at the fence instead of the tires (the safe spot).
What do you do? If we were to do nothing to intervene and something bad happened, would it be your fault?
What does your inactivity show about your true character?
This is one dilemma I’ve been facing for a few weeks. Because I’ve ever experienced times when I was unaware that my character and my morals were being tested. I was unaware that I play any significant part in the lives of other people.
Sometimes, I still experience times when I’m unaware and oftentimes, it’s too late to catch myself before something bad happens.
The truth is, I feel bad, even guilty that these things happened on my watch. Let’s be a bit specific and zone into one example: The seven-year-old boy in a sled on top of a grassy hill. He clearly was not aiming for the tires where he’d be safe. As a result of his stupidity and also mine, he hit the fence, resulting in a deep gash on his eyebrow.
I know what any good-hearted adult might be thinking; You should feel guilty. You shouldn’t be anywhere near kids if you’re not going to supervise them.
But does this incident truly show my true character? I’d like to think that I’m kind, caring and actually good with kids. This incident doesn’t exactly show my ideal values and character traits.
Am I, therefore, someone who shouldn’t be anywhere near kids? Am I heartless to have not stopped the kid before he had gained momentum on the sled?
Is it my imagination, or did I really just watch what happened while rubbing my hands together in evil glee? Like I wanted to see what would happen. Like I wanted him hurt so that he’d learn the lesson. I mean, that’s worse than tough love. That’s just cruel. Right?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m moping. Maybe if I were a more experienced leader I’d had known without a doubt what to do regardless of my own life. I say that because frankly running down the steep hill means facing a whole heap of fears, heights being one of them.
Or maybe I should’ve known. Deep down, I knew and I could’ve prevented the disaster that followed.
This then makes me think of spectator bullies and why they exist.
Spectator bullies are people who know that a person is a victim of bullying but they don’t do anything about it. This is usually out of fear of becoming a victim themselves but it can also be to do with, stubbornness, laziness, and not caring about someone who’s not in their inner circle of friends.
Maybe the reason why I didn’t help the boy wasn’t that I wanted to see him hurt and get stitches. But maybe it was because of my own fears and insecurities. Even though I value kindness and helping others, when it came down to these values being tested, my doubts and fears inhibited me and stopped me from what I believed would be a futile cause. After all, it’s not like the boy would’ve listened to me, right? I guess I’ll never know.
I think for this one, even though it was a horrific experience, I need to forgive myself. But for next time, I need to be more secure in myself and my abilities to lead so that I can better supervise and in turn, keep the children that are in my care, safe and happy.
I think I might start doing more “your turn” things. I’d like you to reflect on this post and on your own life. Have there ever been times when you were a spectator bully or even just a spectator when you should’ve taken the main role? A time when what you did or didn’t do, did not align with who you really are or at least, who you want to be?