Some stories just need to be told. Like the one about a boy who was bullied and ended up on a mission to change the world.
It began 40 years ago. He was small for his age and not particularly athletic. Parks and playground were a constant source of torment. He was picked on, made fun of, and beaten up by kids bigger and stronger. It’s “just teasing” teachers would say when it was brought to their attention. “That’s what kids do”. So “what kids do” – continued – for years.
Turning Pain Into Inspiration
There are unintended consequences to every action. Children that are bullied often become bullies themselves. But there are those who consciously choose to end the cycle of violence and make a stand for something better. Instead of succumbing to the pain, the boy used it as a source of inspiration.
There are unintended consequences to every action. Children that are bullied often become bullies themselves.
Eventually the boy grew into a man. Things weren’t easy but he worked hard. They say living well is the best revenge and by all accounts he was. But despite his outward trappings of success, he was still haunted by those terrifying days on the playground. He vividly remembered the feelings of fear, embarrassment and loneliness as he was picked on and made fun of.
Bullying is a Global Crisis
Bullying isn’t just limited to schoolyards. It’s everywhere. People are bullied and disrespected because they are different. Because their skin is a different colour. Or they worship a different ideal. People are afraid to admit who they love for fear of being discriminated against – or worse, being physically assaulted for their choices. Even in so-called enlightened societies that promote the ideals of free will and individuality – hate, fear, intimidation and violence are always present. And in some cases are on the rise.
The antidote to bullying is respect.
Ending the Cycle
He was determined to make a greater impact in the world so people wouldn’t have to live through what he did. He wanted to provide opportunities for people to get stronger – both physically and mentally by building a community that respects and supports individualism. Helping people overcome adversity no matter what personal challenges they faced.
Change is Coming
It’s still early in the journey, but the message of hope is taking hold. Change is coming. The boy who was bruised and bullied all those years ago is committed to building a movement to make the world a better place. Where tolerance, diversity and kindness trump fear, hate and prejudice.
The boy if you’re curious, was Marcello Leone.
His message is Respect Your Universe.