Bravery against all odds

This is for those of you out there who were bullied or teased when you were young. And if you are like me, it wasn’t fun.

I was small for my age – which came from my Dad’s side of the family. I was actually 5’ 2” my Junior year in high school, but when I graduated I was 6” 1”. So I spent much of my young life behind the growth curve, and thus, I put up with a fair amount of bullying.

So take a look at this:


A mouse stealing a leopard’s Lunch…. Are you serious?

Seemingly unaware of the beast towering over it, the tiny rodent grabbed at scraps of meat thrown into the African Leopard’s enclosure. But instead of pouncing on the tiny intruder, the 12-year-old leopard Sheena kept her distance.  After a few minutes she tried to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the determined little guy kept chewing away until he was full.


Sheena batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away from her food. But the determined little thing took no notice and just carried on.

The mouse continued to eat the leopard’s lunch and showed the leopard who was boss.

Bravery comes in all forms. I wonder if this mouse even knew how much danger he/she was in. Or perhaps he weighed his odds in whatever way a mouse does such things and said, “What the heck,” that’s a good looking free meal out there.”

When I look back over my life, I realize that I have been extraordinarily brave throughout. No, I didn’t beat up people who treated me badly, or strike back at them in underhanded ways, or get into major confrontations because of their boorish behavior (even though there were many times I wished I had) I did other brave things:

I stood up for what I believed in.

I went against rules and regulations that were beyond stupid.

I challenged the powers that be to do things that were right.

  • I was always willing to stick my neck out in outrageous ways to get a point across to my students.

I can think of many ways that I was brave in life – willing to dare to take a better road for myself and for others.

Bullying is a hard thing to take when it happens, and a hard thing to live with thereafter because there is typically a good bit of anger as a result. It’s hard to get past such deep feelings of anger, hurt, guilt, and shame too. However, perhaps it has taught us to be brave in better ways.

I’ll be willing to bet that there are a good many people like me out there – those who had to put up with alot in life, but who have fought the good fight instead of fighting in general. I imagine you have been far braver in your life than those bullies you faced.

LIFE is what we make of it, and it is very much about the choices we make. I think I’m going to continue to be brave my way. I don’t need to stoop to the methods of egoists and bullies. Neither do you.


Joe Koob

P.S. Yeah, they’re still out there. We just call them by different names, some of which I can’t print here. But you can tell – they’re the ones who act just the way they did as kids.


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