In the cast of characters we have the bully himself, his henchmen and an array of bystanders. The bully does his share of the emotional and physical infliction of hurt, and encourages his henchmen to also engage in his dirty deeds. The henchmen oblige because they have a need to be accepted by the person whom they feel has a strange power over them.
Then we have the bystanders. Some cheer as though they are at a sporting event. Others may be uncomfortable with the situation and react in a variety of ways, but do nothing to stop the bullies. It takes one person to say “stop.” One person having the courage to do the right thing and say this simple little four-letter word is contagious. There is strength in numbers, and we should never compromise our integrity. Each and every one of us has the power to change the course of an event that may have permanent and damaging consequences.
My wish for this holiday season is that each of us takes that step out of our comfort zones instead of standing by. We are all worth it.
[June Havas-Lombardi is an educator living in the Town of Bethel, NY.]