by Izzy Kalman (June 2002)
People often ask me if I created Bullies2Buddies.com because I was a victim of teasing and bullying as a kid. This is a very good question. In fact, if you read the introductions to books on bullying, you will find that just about every single author had been a victim of teasing and bullying in their younger years. That is what motivated them when they grew up to help others tackle the problem.
The answer to the question, though, is “No.” I was not a victim of relentless teasing and bullying by my peers. Sure, I was teased a little by my friends, but it never upset me and it was never a problem. (My friends and family still take every opportunity to make fun of me). I was beat up a few times throughout my childhood and adolescence — twice quite seriously — for being a Jew (the yarmulka, or Jewish skull cap, I wore in those days made me easily identifiable), but this was not a frequent problem. I just accepted it as part of the historical role of the Jew, the world’s favorite scapegoat.
Why, then, did I become so active in the cause of teasing and bullying? Not because I suffered from the problem, but because I happened to come up with a solution.
There is one major difference between my approach and those of other authors. Because I was not a constant victim, I never grew up with the intense hatred that the other authors had towards bullies. I didn’t spend years burning with desire to see bullies torn apart by wild horses, bombed to smithereens, or slowly roasted over bonfires. I don’t have years of resentment to work through. It is therefore easy for me to maintain a non-judgmental view of bullies and victims and develop what I believe to be a truly objective approach to the problem of aggression between people.