When I think about school and the things that I have continued to use in order for me to be the person that I am today, there is one thing that stands out amongst everything else and has led me to be the coach that I am today.
When I was around 8 or 9 years of age I had a ‘girlfriend’ in my class (when I say girlfriend I mean we would hold hands in the playground).
One day she was being teased and bullied by some of the boys in the class, probably three or four of them were pushing her around and calling her names.
She was very upset and crying and she looked at me with pleading eyes to do something to help her.
Being a not very confident child and those bullies were also my ‘friends’, I found myself in a very emotionally torn situation.
Was I to stand up for her or go against my friends, not knowing where this would leave me? A multitude of thoughts and emotions ran through me. But the ones that have remained are shame for my own behaviour, empathy for the pain of another and the powerlessness I allowed myself to experience.
Because, I did nothing the pain in her eyes has stayed with me ever since. That is one of the reasons why I think I have always been in a helping profession and will not stand by when I see someone being bullied or pushed around and will never engage in a conversation when someone is just basically being cruel, spiteful or negative about someone else.
The value of standing with someone who desperately needs help is something I will never lose because of that one moment 40 years ago.