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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: The Unmaking of a Bully
By Cheryl von Drehle


My name is Billy and I Ďm a bully. Get it? Ha ha... BillyÖ bully. Well, maybe that isnít funny. My Dad thinks it is. My mom always calls me William, but my Dad says thatís a sissy name.

My Dad taught me a lot. He says the measure of a man is the size of his fists. Dad has big fists. Heís 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. Thatís what he taught me.

But donít get me wrong. Iím 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 didnít take on the bigger guys, but I was champ over the little runts. If you are going to measure your life against someone elseís you need to be smart about who you pick.

End of last school year I finally picked on the wrong kid. Thatís 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, theyíve turned out to be kinda cool. Iím 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 heís mad, but thatís a different guy heís 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 donít get at all, like being gentle and turning the other cheek; and being strong without using your fists.

ĎCourse Iím 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. Thatís one thing Iím learning; and one other thing: my name is William, and I am starting to learn the true measure of man.

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This article has been read 353 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dannie Hawley 01/17/13
Well done! This would make a terrific article in a YA publication. Also, sounds like a great start to a "William" book series?
Bonnie Bowden 01/18/13
Well written story. I am glad Billy is finally realizing what a strong man looks like.
Laura Hawbaker01/18/13
Well written. Good job portraying the MC--you really put yourself in his place. Like the way the name Billy/William showed how the MC's thinking was changing in his new surroundings. Good job.
Linda Goergen01/19/13
Sadly there are many real children out there, never being taught right or ever shone the love of Christ. How sad that in reality many children never hear the name of Jesus in their homes, except as swear words. Praise God for all those who reach out to these children. This was very well written and a reminder how very important it is to be good examples for our children. Enjoyed the read!
Lynda Lee Schab 01/20/13
This is so sad! Well written, but sad. Makes my heart break for all the kids who learn "unspoken" lessons like this. Then again, the father was a kid once, too, and he probably learned it from his dad. The cycle continues... :-(

The piece itself was well done. One tiny thing: it seemed like the word "measure" jumped out a couple too many times in the beginning, like you were trying to include the topic name. I think using it only once or twice would have had the same effect. But that's just me. :-)

Overall, nicely written story on topic.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Wonderful writing on a difficult subject. This was presented with clarity and sensitivity. Breaks my heart to think of those going through abuse at this very moment.

God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/23/13
This is a powerful piece. I could feel the pain of the MC in each word near the beginning. It left a tight feeling in my heart because I know there are too many bully Billies in the world.

As I read on I could feel my heart get lighter and it filled with hope and joy. The only red ink I have is I don't think you needed the last line. To me, it felt like it was wrapped up too neatly and as a way to make sure the readers saw the topic.

For me it wasn't necessary as I thought it was on topic from the beginning. I also saw Billy as a work in progress, not totally healed yet, but taking the right road to reach that healing spot. You did a grand job with a hard subject. It was a delight to read and opened my eyes to a new sense of hope.
Noel Mitaxa 01/24/13
I love how you have built this without going in to salacious detail, and left the ending open for more growth to occur in his life.