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March 23, 2005

Comments

Hi! Andy! I'm very interested in your story, and after I read your story, I wondered how you felt when you bullied other people? Did you also feel scared? Why did you change your mind?

Nice to meet you, Andy! In most situations, bullies bother students who have a handicap, a disability, or are different in some way. In your case, who did you bully?

Hi~ Andy! Glad to meet you. After reading your story, I have some questions. I think you have solved a lot of bullying problems. Among them, what's the most memorable one, and how did you solve it? What's the chance of successfully becoming a recovering bully? Is it easy?

Hi Andy, it's really interesting to talk to people like you. These are my questions:
How did you turn from bullying to be an anti-bullying supporter? What especially made you stop bullying? Do you ever run into some of your old victims? If so, how do you feel then? Have you gotten to apologize to any of them?

Hi, Andy! Nice to talk with you. I am very interested in your experience. Would you please answer some small questions for me? I read some news about violence caused by victims of bullying, school shooting for instance. I deeply believe that even bullies don't want these terrible results. I want to know, when you were a bully, did you ever think about these violent reactions or suicide of victims? I know it is very difficult to change one's personality, charactor and behavior. Was it difficult for you to change from a bully to a nice person. What obstacles did you overcome? Thanks so much!

Hi Andy, my name is Sung Hwi Chung. I have a question, some victims kill themselves because of bullying. Should the bullies who caused their death have to go to court? What do you think Andy?

Andy,
I am shocked to learn that bullying in the US is so serious. I wonder what causes it? Could it have been a change in the educational philosophy or the failures of schools to teach morals or the effect of increased media violence?
Andy, what do you think?

Glad to meet to you, Andy. Thank you for joining us. OK, I have a question. Since I have been thinking about bullying and exploring ways to stop bullying in schools, I have noticed that bullying takes place wherever there are students--on the school bus, in the cafeteria, and even online. That makes me so sad. I think we need to find not only solutions for each situation, but also fundamental solutions. What do you think is the best way to solve root causes of bullying?

Nice to meet you! I'm very happy to talk with you. Could you more tell me your experiences and ideas about bullying? I think bullying incidents wound not only victims but also bullies.

You said that you were a bully. How do you feel about that? Are you sorry for the victims? What do you do for them now?

How did you become a professional speaker who often goes to school to talk about bullying? What do you tell students?


Hi Andy. My name is Yong Jin Lee and I am glad to hear that you join our blog. Since I know there are many cases in which young students commit suicide because of bullying, I am curious to know if you think it's very high? How serious is it?
You told us you were once a bully. Have you ever met a students who you had bullied? How did that person react to you?

Nice to meet you, Andy even though we meet on the blog. Can I ask some personal questions? When you were a bully, did your parents know about that? And what was the turning point that made you stop bullying? If your son became a bully what would you do? Thank you for your comments.

Hi Lee Eun Hyun,
I was just a scared kid looking for control in my life when I was a bully. I felt that everything that happened to me happened due to an outside influence and that I was blown which ever way the wind went ... I felt I had no control. So when I bullied others and forced them to do as I demanded, I felt some sense of "control" in my life.

It took me years to learn the lessons I now teach about being responsible, compassionate and having pride in what you do ... it took me years to become part of the solution, but it was certainly worth the hard work.

Hello Mi Hye Ahn,
Most students get picked on because they are different somehow, maybe they physically look different, have a handicap or some outstanding feature, now the trends seems to be becoming one where if you are too popular you get bullied, too good looking, too smart, etc. In other words anyone who doesn't fit the "normal" is likely to become bullied.

When I was a bully I picked on anyone who I thought I could get away with or someone who had something that I wanted or could use. I used to have some kids do my homework for me because they were smarter than me ... it was probably apparent at the time, but I seem to have gotten away with it.

Hello Lim Ju Hee,
Thanks for you kind words about solving the problems of bullying! The chances of becoming a "recovering bully" are extremely good! One only needs to never stop becoming! There is an old saying which states, "when you're green you grow, after your ripe, you begin to rot". This is why continuing education is so important ... keep growing.

The greatest difficulty in bullying is helping the bully realize they are responsible for their actions...in my talks I make a blanket statement that "bullies do not accept responsibility", nothing that happens is ever their fault they feel. There is always an outside influence that causes thing to occur.

Until we understand and accept that we are indeed control of our actions and reactions, until we accept that it is our choices that lead to our situations, we will continue to spiral in the same winds of turmoil we already are in.

Hey Demba,
Wow, how did I turn from a bully into a "non-violence" speaker? Years of heart-ache and pain and finally realizing that there's a better way to live your life. When I was a bully, I was scared...I wasn't being my true self, I was lonely and felt out of control and turned to hurting others so I could feel some control in my life.

There was no one specific incident which caused me to change, rather maturing and character development and coming to the realization that I was indeed in control and could become anyone I choose, were the determining factors.

I am truly one of the fortunate ones, studies indicate that of kids who are identified as bullies 60% will have a criminal record by the age of 24!

To the best of my knowledge I haven't run into anyone I bullied, but I suppose that day will come. When the occasion arrises, I will certainly ask for their forgiveness and express my deep remorse over having hurt them.

Hello Yan,
School shootings seem to be the latest crisis that has arisen out of bullying. Even the meekest house cat will become violent when it feels cornered with no alternative. When a victim of bullying has reached their full and feels that there is no alternative for them to vent, they too often turn to extreme violence.

Can this be prevented? I think so, and not just by ending bullying, that would be nice. We need to listen to our children, really speak with them and give them the honor of being listened to, involve yourself in their lives, know what goes on in their world...it's very complex and frightening to a maturing youngster.

I truly believe that bullies do not think of the consequences of their actions and therefore never give thought to the violence they may cause in retaliation. When bullying results in suicide the bully will never acknowledge responsibility for having been part of the cause ... they (bullies) don't accept responsibility, it wasn't anything they did, the other person was just "weak", besides, in most cases, the bully would claim, "I was just kidding around".

There were numerous obstacles which I had to overcome to become who I am now, too many to go into detail about. Suffice it to say that when I learned to be responsible my life began to change.

Hi Sung Hwi Chung,
When a victim of bullying takes their own life it is called "bullycide". If bullying can be identified as the underlying cause, very often difficult to prove, I deeply feel that the bully should be put on trial for murder! It is time that we realize that bullying is not a right of passage, not a kids will be kids thing, but the equivalent of having a terrorist in our midst!

Hello Sun Ah Lim,
Another great question as they all have been. Thanks to everyone for their input! I think that the desensitizing of America is to blame for the violence we now experience. Movies, music, video games all forms of "entertainment" are violent and presented in shocking detail! The video games we allow our children to play are too graphic as are the movies and the music they listen to are about sex money and power, much of todays music puts women down and teaches our young we don't need to respect those who are different!

Is it any wonder we are heading the wrong way on a one way street? We, as responsible adults need to take affirmative action and force the entertainment industry to stop putting out this garbage that numbs the minds of todays youth.

Hey Sujeong Hong,
What's the best way to correct one of the root problems of bullying? Acceptance! Kids get bullied and picked on because they are different ... taller, shorter, heavier, slimmer, smarter, better looking and so on. We must remember it is diversity which made this country great and it is diversity which keeps our world going around. When we can learn to embrace and celebrate diversity, recognizing others not for their differences, but for their potential contributions to the good of mankind, we will have come a long way to ending bullying.

Seo, InJi writes asking if bullies get injured too? Yes, they do. Although they may not recognize it as being hurt, I believe that everything we do, our every thought and intention go out into the Universe and return to us ten fold...the positive and the negative. Now knowing this I conscioulsy choose to expend good positive energy so that I will have the same returned to me. This is one of the things which I tell students in my assemblies.

Yes, in fact when I present any talk on bullying, I always dress in black from shoes to shirt and explain that I do so because I am in mourning for the people I have damaged, the dreams I have toppled, the hearts I have broken and the promises I never kept. I apologize to everyone who has ever been bullied on behalf of the bullies who hurt them. It is quite a humbling experience when done with humility...I have found one of the greatest and most difficult things to do as a public speaker is to allow myself to become vulnerable. To let others peek into my life, wounds and all, to show that we are indeed all alike on some level.

Without giving away my entire program I will share with you these two key points from my talks: Being bullied is never your fault, you have done nothing wrong and do not deserve to be bullied. Bullying hurts, no one deserves to live in pain!

Then to the victims of bullying I suggest that "they do not have to become someone else's opinion of them!" Remember William Hong from American Idol? He had a dream of becoming a rock star, but admittedly couldn't sing well. Simon almost laughed him off the stage, well, William chose not to become someone else's opinion of him. He had a dream, to become a rock star, and he ignored what others said and kept his focus on his dream and realized it!

In my opinion, these are two of the most powerful things kids can hear. We need to empower our youth with dreams of grandeur...let them dream of becoming modern day heroes and heroines, within each of us lies a seed of greatness. I tell the kids that it is my job to make them aware of this seed within, it is their job to nurture it and help it grow ... to realize their greatness.

Hey Yong Jin Lee,
No so far I haven't run into anyone I've bullied, but that moment will surely come in the future.

Suicide due to bullying is refered to as "Bullycide". The problem is growing rapidly, the suicide rate of the youth in North America is staggering. Dr Dan Olweus began studying the cause of a rash of suicides in his native country and discovered that bullying was at the root of it. (I believe he is Scandanavian?) He began the modern day movement fo study onto bullying.

There is no doubt that it is a problem of immense proportions. When one person is treated so badly that they feel ending their life is the only way out, there is a problem, and it is not with them, it is with a society that allows this type of treatment to happen. I often receive e-mails from kids who talk about suicide, I always reply immediately, often they say they won't be missed because no one likes them. I always tell them to ask someone if they would be missed...they certainly will be! I encourage them to seek immediate help and if possible I notify authorities in the area they are from about this potential problem.

Hi Eunjin Kim,
Did my parents know I was a bully? I don't think so, they were busy with other things...my dad suffered from a terrible yet very curable disease called alcoholism! My entire family was dysfunctional ... we all tend to grow into our environment; mine was violence, name calling and putting others down.

One of the things of which I am most proud is that of becoming a mold breaker...I broke the mold of my family, after generations of alcoholism I broke the chain. I have always hugged my kids and told them I love them...even now that they are grown and made us grandparents we still do the same. I have taught them love, compassion, understanding and acceptance, things I had to learn on my own. I taught them the meaning and importance of family, I think I have served well as a parent and my children have proved it by becoming better adults than me and hopefully my grandchildren will become even better.

To answer your last question about what would I do if I discovered one of my kids was a bully? I would teach them to accept responsibility for their actions ... we always have a choice, even not choosing is a choice. Choose wisely because there are repurcussions to everything we do. I would cause them to think before they acted and ingrain the "Golden Rule" into their minds.

Hello Everyone
Thank you for letting me be part of your blog on bullying! Your questions and comments have given me things to think about and new ideas too! I think you have all done an excellent job and I applaud you for your hard work.

I hope my replies answer your questions, if not feel free to contact me via my website: www.youbigbully.com and I will be glad to help if I am able.

Sandy, I want to thank you in particular for allowing me to partake in this learning experience, it has been an honor for me to get to know all you a little. I hope you have gotten to know me and have learned that we continually grow and change ... we just need to check we are heading in the right direction every now and then.

At the end of all my talks I always say the same thing and I think it would be appropriate to end this the same way: "From my heart to yours...I Bid You Peace, where you live." Thanks everyone!

Thank you for your answer, Andy. Your answer was little shocking to me because I didn't know about your father's problem. I'm sorry about that. It made me realize how important family involvement is to stop bullying. I wish that everyone realized how bad bullying is and hope your efforts help a lot of students. Goodbye, Andy.

Andy, I really enjoyed reading your answer. I strongly agree with you when you said you were not yourself when you were bullying because nobody is mean. People just bully because they are scared or they are suffering. The challenge for bullies is how to overcome their problems, and I'm glad you did Andy.

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