Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)
TITLE: The Unmaking of a Bully
By Cheryl von Drehle
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My Dad taught me a lot. He says the measure of a man is the size of his fists. Dad has big fists. He’s always into measuring himself against other people. He can usually come out ahead on that, no matter what he has to do to gain the advantage. That’s what he taught me.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming my dad for how I am. I made my own choices early in life. No one was going to get one up on me. I usually didn’t take on the bigger guys, but I was champ over the little runts. If you are going to measure your life against someone else’s you need to be smart about who you pick.
End of last school year I finally picked on the wrong kid. That’s how I ended up in this place. At first I thought this was some kind of jail, or juvie place the judge was sending me to. When the bus pulled up I was surprised to see no fences or wires. I was also a little wary about how many guys were bigger than me. It was going to be tough to find my place in this pecking order.
But what surprised me most were the teachers. I thought they would seriously bust my chops. Instead, they’ve turned out to be kinda cool. I’m still getting used to being called Mister Johnson instead of just Billy. And they say some pretty confusing things sometimes, like stuff they quote from this Jesus guy.
I had never heard of Jesus before. Well, my Dad says Jesus Christ when he’s mad, but that’s a different guy he’s talking about. I like the way Jesus stood up to bullies, like that story about throwing them out of the temple. Some of the other things I don’t get at all, like being gentle and turning the other cheek; and being strong without using your fists.
‘Course I’m figuring out some of that too. The thing I like doing best here is riding horses. And you have to be both strong and gentle around them. That’s one thing I’m learning; and one other thing: my name is William, and I am starting to learn the true measure of man.
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