My dad’s advice handling bullies, it wasn’t for me

The factory manager pushed his luck

I was new to the job and the factory manager assigned me to spot weld meter boxes all day long. While learning new skills, the manager approached me and decided to share an inappropriate joke about Jesus.

I was eighteen years old and new to the Christian Faith and the factory manager found out about it.

The factory manager knew he offended and said “Would you like to hit me?” I responded like a gentleman “Would you like me to?” He then enjoyed that moment of power and said “No, but if you do I’ll get you sacked”

Later that night I talked to my dad about the incident which wasn’t a good idea. Dad was a war vet and a total gangster. His response was typical, encouraging me to settle the score even though my dad hated my new faith (he saw it as weak). Dad just didn’t allow anyone to intimidate him and would go completely violent in a moment.

Going back to work I decided to deal with this bully and put my faith to the test. I started being kind to him and even bought him lunch from time to time which offended him.

There were times when he took things to an extreme, continually trying to offend me. One time he decided to bring a Satanic Bible, writings of Anton LaVey to work. I’d go down the park at lunch time and read my Bible quietly and he’d join me and read from his out loud just to get under my skin.

Even back then then I knew I had him on the ropes. It wasn’t long before he started enquiring about my beliefs and he ended up becoming a Christian.

God bless my dad, he meant well but I’m glad I didn’t take his advice. I learnt a different art of fighting and it proved very powerful.

I’ve come across plenty of bullies throughout my forty year career and my approach is the same. I pity the bully and give them very little room to encroach on my core values.

The last bully I dealt with was a Construction Manager who tried to intimidate me. I politely put my arm around him and shared a story of a Spartan’s attitude towards a fellow Spartan. My commitment to this fellow human being was to do what I could to serve him and protect him, I placed my metaphoric shield in front of him to illustrate I’d become vulnerable. He looked at me and didn’t quite know how to handle me. We had no other incidents of his attempts to bully me from that day.

My advice to anyone that is being bullied, never stoop down to their level of reasoning, you are better than that. Learn the art of self love and empathy which gives you the right parameters to give without being exploited.

My son created the Spartan helmet logo for his business some years ago with the motto, ‘Create wealth – Serve people’ which is difficult to do in a toxic bullying environment.

Leaders rise above bullies and slowly weed out such unexceptionable behaviour.

My transformed bully manager and I became close friends and the last time I saw him was at my mums funeral as he paid his respects decades later.