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Carol Perkins: Owning Your Own Truth

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By Carol Perkins

Some statements cause me to raise an eyebrow. The phrase, "I own my own truth" annoys me. Who else owns it? What about, "I accept full responsibility." Really? If you're telling it, isn't it your "own" truth? Maybe it's your "own" lie? Whatever it is, you will "accept full responsibility." Right?

After reading PJ Martin's article (Herald News last week) about bullying, I wonder if years after graduation, a school bully (whose face never goes away) would "accept full responsibility" for his/her actions? I doubt it. Would the bully "tell his own truth" about his behavior? I doubt it.

Parents of bullied children find themselves in a quandary as to what to do; so, they sometimes consider a "bullying lawsuit" that hold parents and school districts liable. That's an interesting concept. What if a bully's parents (who often have no clue) are held "accountable" for their child's harassment of a peer, infliction of pain and suffering, or the creation of lingering mental health issues that arise? With this threat hanging over them, parents might have deep conversations with their children before school starts about what could happen. (They never think their child would bully anyone.) Consequently, the idea of a lawsuit might eliminate bullying when parents "are held accountable."

When insensitive adults say, "That's just part of growing up," I want to scream. Who wrote that rule? No matter how many years go by, a bullied person never forgets the suffering, embarrassment, and regret of "allowing" themselves to be bullied. There is deep-seated anger and the need for payback. We've seen this play out on TV.

Bullying should never be part of "growing up." I wasn't bullied, but I know those who were. Some were my students and others were relatives. Some were bullied by their peers and some by teachers. They have one main thing in common; they all remember "their" bully.

I wonder if a bully is ashamed, especially when he/she is old and gray? Does she remember the ugly notes left in lockers, the under-her-breath digs as she passed her victim in the hallway, the stolen clothes, the snubbing, the name-calling, or the social media attacks? Do bully teachers regret calling a kid "fat" "dumb" or "stupid?"

It's never too late for a bully to "own his own truth" and to "accept full responsibility" for what he did. If remorseful enough, a former bully might consider apologizing. Writing a note. Making a phone call. Texting or messaging. This would be "owning your own truth" and "accepting full responsibility" for inflicting pain on a classmate. I would wager that this will never happen because an old bully wants to forget. Can he? (Thanks to PJ for the article. Herald News, No Place for Bullying, Page 4, August 24, 2022 print edition)

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2022-08-26 08:31:06
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