To Stop Bullying, Stand up Straight

By | January 18, 2022

[January 18, 2022]  In the iconic holiday movie, A Christmas Story (1983), a young boy named Ralphie is harassed by local bully Scut Farkus and his toadie Grover Dill.  Spoiler alert, Ralphie figures out how to stop bullying and live his life as an innocent kid, having fun with friends and loving his family.

The more serious topic of stopping bullying is talked about in every school.  Teachers are on the prowl to identify and stop bullying, newspapers report on it daily (it seems), programs are created, and volumes of books and articles are written on the subject.  Every mom’s worry is about the bully in the schoolyard harassing their kid.  And, this is not confined to kids on playgrounds.  Workplaces now have anti-bullying efforts.

Like so many, this movie reminds me of growing up in the 1950s and explains why it is one of my favorites.  Just like me, Ralphie wanted a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas.  We both got one.  His mom’s fear?  He’d shoot his eye out.  Fear!  Well, that goes with life.

How do you stop bullying?  There are many methods, and I’m sure they work, at least tactically to some degree.  However, there is a strategy often unrecognized.

“Rule #1.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back.” – Jordan B. Peterson, in 12 Rules for Life (2018)

Dr. Peterson tells us that bullies don’t lack self-esteem.  That is a false perception.  Bullies have plenty of self-esteem.  To deter the bully, pull yourself up, hold your shoulders back, look forward into the eyes of those around you; that is the first step of freeing yourself.  Never forget this.

You might lose your next encounter.  You might get beat up.  But you have made the first step of many important steps toward liberating yourself from the bully.

After a long history of being bullied by Scut Farkus, Ralphie “snaps” and proceeds to punch Scut in an epic takedown.  Friends had to pull Ralphie off Scut to prevent a total beatdown.  Ralphie stood up for himself and gained a little confidence that day.  In the movie, the bully no longer harasses Ralphie.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

27 thoughts on “To Stop Bullying, Stand up Straight

  1. Melissa Jackson

    Who didn’t like this movie? Explains a lot about those who are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s today.

    Reply
    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Yep, thinking the same thing here, Melissa. Too bad we can’t trust one another more like in the “old days.” Why not? There is no punishment for deviant behavior. In fact, deviancy is rewarded and looked up to.

      Reply
  2. Steve Dade

    Excellent blog post that gives us the main effort to stop bullying. Bullying works only when we allow it to happen. Stand up to the bully.

    Reply
  3. Anya B.

    I would like to read more about bullying from Gen. Satterfield and the linkage to good leadership and the decline of bullying.

    Reply
    1. American Girl

      Yes, Anya. I agree. This is an important topic and complex. One short article doesn’t cut it.

      Reply
    2. Melissa Jackson

      Hmmmmm, bullying has now gone cyber. Harder to thwart it that way and the reason it is spreading on-line. How do you stop that?

      Reply
  4. MrJohn22

    Another excellent article from the bowels of Southern New Jersey. Gen. Satterfield, once again, delivers. Thank you sir for a great website.

    Reply
  5. Desert Cactus

    A Christmas Story …… movie I watch with my family every Christmas. Reminds me of my childhood, the struggles and triumphs, disappointments and great joy. All those things make up human; take the good with the bad.

    Reply
    1. Oakie from OK

      My favorite movie too. Ralphie was played by a really good child actor but the “bully” kid did a great job too. I like the toadie. The toadie reminds me of my kid brother growing up.

      Reply
      1. Greg Heyman

        Reminded me of my next door neighbor until we had a fight and he lost.

        Reply
      2. ZB22

        Reminds me of those things that Gen. Satterfield has told us over the years. thanks to those who write in this forum. It has helped me alot.

        Reply
  6. Lady Hawk

    Good article, Gen. Satterfield. I see you are trending onto small-scale leadership issues. Keep it up! Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Big Al

    If you want to stop bullying, at least put a dent into it, stop the victimhood culture support. As long as we reward people for having problems, they will have problems. Have kids go out and play ….. outside. Don’t hang around the house and I don’t care if it’s snowing or raining out. Go outside!

    Reply
    1. Edward G.

      Yes, big al. Stop rewarding folks for having problems. The Babylon Bee segment on this is funny but spot-on.

      Reply
  8. Wild Bill

    Bullies pray on the weak. If schools want to stop bullying or at least lesson its impact, then teachers must be observant of the school playgrounds and lunchroom areas and stop bullying when it happens. You don’t have to punish the kid doing the bullying but just stop the bullying.

    Reply
    1. Willie Strumburger

      You can help the weak kids (weak mentally, physical strength has only a little to do with it). Make them mentally stronger by having them practice standing up straight and looking people in the eyes.

      Reply
  9. Harold M. Smith II

    We wouldn’t want to stop POC bullying, that would be “RACIST.” Wow, crazy gone wild.

    Reply
    1. JT Patterson

      Gone stupid. Just join the nutty liberals in NYC or LA or anywhere else they hang out, while trading “I’m a victim” card. Maybe I should start a company up making these victim cards so people can trade them. You could wear them on your jacket while walking out in town. That way folks could come up to you and say how sorry they are for you and give you a hug or money. Hahahhahhhhahhahahah

      Reply
  10. Mikka Solarno

    “Rule #1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.” – Jordan B. Peterson, in 12 Rules for Life (2018)
    Now that is something the victims of the world will resist. Imagine, just imagine, you actually standing up for yourself. Would that make a difference for a snowflake living in his parent’s basement? Probably yes.

    Reply
  11. Georgie B.

    Go figure, advice most kids don’t know and will not know, given our PC climate that focuses on victimhood. It’s like, if you are normal and have nothing wrong with you, then you are some sort of outcast.

    Reply
    1. Pooch T.

      Good one, Georgie. Yeah, “normal” people are somehow the cause of all the problems in the world. George Orwell, here we come.

      Reply

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