When it’s three in the morning and I can’t sleep, the sins of my past rocket through my brain raking away peace of mind with thoughts screaming shame, shame, shame.
Over the years I have acknowledged, apologised and tried to make amends, yet the hot shame is still there waiting to haunt the dark hours.
At six or seven years of age I was a big farm kid without any friends desperate to be noticed. In the school yard one morning, as the bell rang and we took our place in line to enter the school room, a girl ran past me. I stuck my foot out and tripped her. She fell head-long. Her dress went over her head. The other kids laughed.
All I was doing was showing off. Only after did I realize I’d hurt someone. And the shame of that moment has stayed with me all my life. The only positive outcome has been to teach me never to publicly humiliate anyone ever again.
Recently there has been much news coverage of schoolyard bullying, cyber bullying and more. Nasty, vicious words have been circulated on cell-phones. At the age when children are most sensitive to peer approval, they have become a sad joke. On-line photos have humiliated teenagers to the point they have taken their own lives.
So what will become of these bullies? Do they feel shame for the pain they’ve caused? Will they grow up to regret their thoughtless actions? I wonder.