The following is a guest post from Phil Stevens from GetYerPhil. Bullying has been in the news a lot lately, and Phil shares about his experiences and video.
I was bullied as a kid. Frankly, who wasn’t in some form or fashion? It’s a horrible feeling. You are stuck with very little defense after the first moment you cower to a bully. You shut down. You give up. You just want it to stop. You’ll do anything to NOT be in ‘that’ moment.
I sat on this idea for a year before I knuckled down and began to produce it. The catalyst was that my 11-year-old son, the hero in the movie, was bullied in the spring, 3 months before we made the film. When I heard about it I did what any dad would do, I got angry. I raced out of the house, grabbed him and his friend, Katie who agreed to show me where the bully lived. My son was terrified that I was going to make it worse, that the bullying would increase because he snitched. I grabbed his little shoulders, looked him square in the eyes, and said, “Do you trust me son?” He replied, “Yes, I do.” So, we met the bully face to face and guess what? He wasn’t a monster. His name was Eric. He had a name. He was a broken, young boy without a father. I assume a boy who hadn’t heard in a long time, or ever, “Son, you have what it takes. Be someone special.” His mom worked long hours and he just needed a father figure, someone to look up to. I gave him a good ole’ manly handshake and shoulder hug (the way manly men do) and became his friend. From that day forward, this young man made it his mission on the bus to protect and defend my son. Wow.
This short film was my first attempt at drama. Everything I made previously was comedy. Needless to say, Satan tried to get me in a corner and tell me I didn’t have what it takes to make a film like this. Really? Satan would’ve loved for the thousands of children and adults that watched this for it to have never happened. Too bad! I’m feisty!
These kids made me so proud! The reality of bullying is that it is very cruel. It damages kids emotionally and physically. In a recent study done by Martial Arts for Peace stated that 77% of the students said they had been bullied. And 14% of those who were bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse. I would love, if anything, that from this short film parents and leaders would sit down with their children and have a crucial conversation about the act. It might be that your child is being bullied right now or maybe as a victim they are still feeling the effects of a previous bully. Maybe they are witnessing it at school, on the playground, neighborhood, bus and are afraid to step in and help or tell someone. Maybe they are the bully? The stakes are high and it’s worth the discussion. I hope you are blessed by this film as much as I have been.