This week was marked as "Bullying Awareness Week" in the United States .  It brought to mind an article and book review written for our website, WholeFamily.com, more than ten years ago by a boy who was not yet bar mitzvah-ed. Koby was murdered by Arab terrorists in 2001, more than a year after he wrote this. In Koby's memory, and in order to note the importance of this issue, I'd like to share his thoughts. 

Taking the Bully by the Horns

By Koby Mandell (2000)

I was once bullied by a jerk who wanted to show off in front of his friends. He took a chair from me during school when I was sitting down and I fell on the floor. I said to my friends, "That guy's an idiot" and he heard me. He started to hit and kick me and then walked away. I didn't hit him back because he was bigger and older than me.

The book Taking the Bully by the Horns, by Kathy Noll, explains why bullies bully. Now I understand that he bothered me because he felt really small inside and I was an easy target because I was new in the school. People used to make fun of him because of his grades and he probably felt bad about himself and decided to take it out on other people.

A bully picks on somebody so that he can take his anger about feeling bad about himself out on somebody else. He picks somebody smaller than him without too many friends. Somebody he thinks won't tell anybody.

I liked this book because it explains the bully cycle: When somebody gets bullied, after a while he tries to act tough and then even he begins to bully others when he is feeling very small inside and lacks respect for himself.

It also teaches you how to take care of bullies. You confront him with the problem and then he'll understand that he's doing something wrong and try to reform. If he doesn't, just ignore him.

In my class, kids are still bullying other kids but I'm not getting bullied because they know that it will not do them any good to bother me. If I see somebody bullying I try to stop him. When a big person is pushing a little person in line to go to the water fountain, I tell him to stop, for example.

It also tells how to know if you're a victim or not. If you feel bad and you don't know why, if you have dreams that you're a Ninja fighter , if you dream of revenge, if you avoid passing people's houses, then you're a victim.

You've got to confront the bully.

If he ignores your confrontation and continues to bully you, then you've got to get help from an adult.
 

Toby Klein Greenwald is the editor of WholeFamily.

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