I sat at our campsite in the campground where we had camped for over 20-years and remembered my kids and reminisced from fifteen years ago when we were camping and was having fun. Our kids ranged in ages from 10-13 and were old enough to ride bikes and go to the playground by themselves now. They made friends easily and it seemed our campsite was always the focal spot for all the kids and I was glad since I was an overprotective parent. The kids came in one day all talking of a kid and her friends that was being mean to them and making fun because we were tent camping and they were in a nice camper. We didn’t have much, but we always had fun and the kids loved the campground. As we sat around the fire that night the kids talked nonstop of the girls and her friends and of the things they said and done.
It was mean, spiteful, and snobbish the things they did. Of course, being the mother hen that I was, I couldn’t sleep that night thinking how my kids were being made fun of by these other kids. The next morning, they left to got to the playground and I was grateful I could see it from our site. They were there about ten minutes when I saw the small group of mean kids approach the playground. I decided to walk down to see if my kids were exaggerating or if the others were that mean. As I approached I watched my kids and their friends walk away from the mean kids, but the mean kids kept following them. By the time I got to the playground my kids and their friends looked so upset I was ready to cry for them. I heard the ring leader, a cute little blond-haired brat, make the comment of how they needed to go back up to their tent and slum it with the poor people.
I was furious. My kids looked up to see the look on my face and the relief of knowing they weren’t alone showed. She looked around at me and actually tried her bullying on me. She made the comment of, “this has to be mama bear” and started laughing. I looked over at my kids and looked at her and instead of being mad I felt nothing but pity for her. How could a cute little girl be so miserable inside at this young age. Instead of ripping her head off like I wanted to in the beginning, I looked back at my kids and winked. I asked her if she would like to join my kids and their friends at the fire tonight. I don’t know whose mouth dropped the farthest hers or my kids. She smarted off and said, “I don’t think so.” I said if she changed her mind she and her friends were welcome to come.
I told my kids and their friends that the water balloon toss was ready to take place and they all needed to help me get the balloons ready. I always tried to do at least one activity to keep them busy each day. They all started running towards the campsite and as I walked away I invited the bully and her group to join also. I heard one of her friends say, man that sounds like fun and she said it was boring to do things like that. That evening we had about ten kids at the campfire and I noticed one of the kids that was hanging with the bully. The kids were laughing and having a great time. Another one of the kids from the bully group wandered in and by dark all was there, but the bully. She came strolling by about ten minutes after the last of her group came in and called one of them off to the side. I overheard the kid tell the bully that she was mean, and they were having fun with these nice people.
The girl stormed off. The next day all the kids were playing together, but the girl. She sat by herself on the playground while the other kids were having a blast. I pulled my oldest to the side and told her that the right thing to do was to be nice and invite her to play also. When she was asked you could she the smile trying not to creep through. The rest of the week they all were inseparable. About that time, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked around to see a young mom with her toddler. She wrapped her arms around my neck and said she was hopping to see me here. I was confused for a second and then it dawned on me that it was the little girl that had been the bully I was just reminiscing about.
She sat, and we chatted for awhile and she informed me thanks to my family being kind she changed her ways, went on to be a nurse, got married and was a mom herself. After awhile she got up to leave and said she better get back to her campsite. As she said it she pointed to the spot where a tent was set up and said, “Camping in a tent makes you a great person and I want my child growing up to be like someone I remember when I was a brat and they changed my life.” The moral to this story is sometimes kindness can work better than being mean like the one is being mean to you. Try kindness, it can change a life.