The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Kiana Parker, Third Place
Grade 8, Coastal Christian
Teacher: Mrs. Brown
Specks of dust flittered down from the reflection of sunlight beaming in through the class window. Every tick of the clock sounded in my ears. Each student held their breath, as we all anxiously anticipated the big hand reaching 2:30. There was only one more minute left in the school year then our long awaited summer vacation.
My mind flashed to this same moment last year. I was so relieved that day to have everything over with. That was the worst year I ever had. I was one of those unfortunate girls who was mocked by other students. I was bullied. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…” was wrong. Words will hurt you. To me words hurt more than a physical beating. They cut deep into the soul.
Every day I would go through the same process of being ridiculed and judged. I pretended not to notice or care, but on the inside every cruel word echoed inside my head. They would sometimes call me: ugly, stupid, a loser, and many unrepeatable things. I was too scared to tell anyone about my struggles. I was insulted by many people with strong opinions, when really they knew nothing about me.
Some days I would come home with my eyes red from the hot tears pouring down my cheeks. Those were the days I let the taunting get to me. Those were also the days I did not account for The 4-Way Test of Things We Think, Say, or Do. The 4-Way Test consists of four things, hence the name. They are: Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships, will it be beneficial to all concerned.
Is it the truth? This was a question I asked myself the most when people would bully me. I knew what they said was never the truth. While others may think of me as ugly, looks are never forever. They will all fade with time, but my glorious creator will always think of me as beautiful. When they would call me stupid, I would just open my binder and look at any paper inside and see the big red A. When I was called a loser, I would think of the accomplishments and goals I’ve reached. The truth was always a soft pillow to rest my head on after a long restless day.
Is it fair to all concerned? This question I didn’t even have to ask myself. Everyone, including my provocateurs, knew tormenting me was not fair. They understood good and well their thoughts and words were not right. While they thought of it as fun and no big deal, they failed to consider how their actions made me feel. They overlooked their conscience having no remorse. They were each more concerned about their social status than a broken heart of another human being.
Will it build good will and better friendships? That year I had hardly any friends. No one wanted to hang out with the outcast. The girls that belittled me never thought twice about where that would put me, I had no friends. There was no good will or friendships for me that year.
Will it be beneficial to all concerned? At that point nothing seemed beneficial to me. It was hard to stay rooted in what I believed to be the truth, when I was constantly pounded with lies. Everything they said seemed to tear me down. I knew how their mocking and ridiculing me made them feel. They felt power because their words had such an effect on me. They didn’t care if their words cut me to pieces, as long as they still remained on their throne. They never thought twice about my emotions.
On those hard days, when it seemed like everyone was tearing me down and no one wanted to build me up I would think about The 4-Way Test. How each question gave me an escape from the pain. The 4- Way Test reminded me what was true, what was fair, who cared about my goodwill and friendships, and what benefit I could receive.
About ten percent of kids in the United States are bullied. Studies show that around 180,000 kids stay home from school every day to avoid being bullied. My own opinion in helping kids that are bullied is encouragement and introducing them to The 4-Way Test. When children understand their value it changes the whole aspect of things, they just have to realize it. To children that are bullied grasping their importance and purpose in life is a challenge. The 4-Way Test is a great guidance for everyone, especially children that are bullied to have a reference of what is right. Bullying is a constant thing and will most likely never go away, but that doesn’t mean we should not do our part to help people understand the effect they have on others and the consequences for their actions. We may not be able to completely end bullying, but we can do our part to build up more self-esteem and decrease bullying as much as possible.