Bullying is never OK. Which is why 8-year-old Nicolas Neesley stepped in when he saw his friend getting picked on during recess earlier this month by confronting the bully.
What Nicolas did instinctively is surprisingly mature: He asked if the fight was worth it. The bully, unfortunately, called him a name and spit on him. Still, Nicolas walked away with a compassionate attitude, stating in TODAY:
“It feels good to do the right thing. I’ve been called names many times and I just tell them I’m not going to pay attention because I’m not that name and then I walk away.”
He took the entire weekend to digest what happened that day on the playground, returning to school the following Monday, which ironically, was anti-bullying day at his school. In order to celebrate the day, students and teachers were supposed to dress in blue, but Nicolas noticed his bully was instead wearing black.
So what’s a third grader to do? Write a letter. His mom, Shamayne Neesley, said she often tries to encourage compassion, and for Nicolas to learn from mistakes, stating:
“I always encourage him to do what’s good in his heart and if it fails, then we learn from those failures. I read it and was overwhelmed with pride.”
When he brought the letter to school the next day, he showed it to his teachers, who then decided it should be read over the loudspeaker. The letter read as follows:
“You don’t have to bully. If you don’t have any friends, just make a friend—it’s very simple. But you already have a friend—us. We will help you. We will be respectful, responsible and caring to you.”
It’s hard not to tear up a little, not just because Nicolas is kind enough to forgive his bully, but because he wants to be friends with him. For me, especially, I can’t stress enough how this reaction should be fostered in homes, and taught in schools. As someone who was formerly bullied in elementary school, I know only too well how the affects of bullying can last for years. And how educating children on how to deal with bullies and bullying can literally change lives.
Why did he write the letter, when he could have just moved on? Nicolas said, “I just wanted to touch the bully’s heart and teach him a lesson so he wouldn’t do the same thing to other people.”
Now if only everyone took a leaf out of Nicolas’ book, the world would be a much happier place.