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The ABC’s of Standing Up for Yourself

This is a Story in Two Parts.

Part I.

I found the best toys for Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. at Target.  Two huge orange Kong balls that look exactly alike.  It’s hysterical because they keep forgetting there are two that look exactly alike.  Wonderbutt, of course, likes to monopolize the toys, but he has not found a way to fit both of the orange spheres in his mouth (note the care I took in the phrasing of that sentence).  He did, however, momentarily find a way to dribble one ball with his front feet while firmly grasping the other one in his mouth.  He didn’t seem to recognize his own talent, though, and soon lost the ground one to Mrs. P.I.B.

I proudly praised Mrs. P.I.B. for being so assertive, causing Dimples to ask the meaning of that word. I am always trying to get both Mrs. P.I.B. (our female Golden) and Dimples (our 8-year-old daughter) to be more assertive, but I’ve apparently neglected to actually mention that to the human child.  I chose my words carefully, mindful of the people, many of them men, who might define assertive females as being pushy.

“Assertive means to stand up for yourself, to not allow others to push you around.”

At this moment, Wonderbutt head butted the side of Mrs. P.I.B.’s mouth, sending an orange ball across the room.  King of the Turnovers, he chased after it while Mrs. P.I.B. did nothing but direct her perpetually victimized look toward me.

“The opposite of that,” I said, as I made myself refrain from fetching the other neglected ball for Mrs. P.I.B.  Because no one will stand up for themselves if you continue to rescue them, right?

“It’s kind of a hard thing to do,” I said.  “You don’t want anyone to take advantage of you, but you also don’t want people to think you’re a, uh, well, a, uh…”

Dimples looked at me curiously even though it wasn’t obvious at all, I’m certain, that I was trying not to say a “bad” word.

Cap’n Firepants also looked curious (about how I was going to dig myself out of this one), and I finally declared triumphantly, “a bully.”

Dimples had already lost interest and started to walk out of the room.

Part 2.

Apparently there is some comic strip war going on in our local paper as it slowly shrinks, page by page.  I have only been able to read it sporadically lately, and chanced upon an editorial a few days ago regarding the bullies featured in some of the comics.  The letter writer felt that some people might call Lucy from “Peanuts” a bully, but said that others might feel that she is assertive.  I’m not sure, but I think the writer was making a sarcastic jab at self-assured females.

I thought back to my days of reading “Peanuts”.  All of the times that Lucy pulled that football out right when Charlie Brown was about to kick it. It helped me to solidify the line between being assertive and being a bully.

Being Assertive is standing up for yourself despite difficult opposition. Being a Bully is doing what you want with the intent to hurt others.

I would have to describe Wonderbutt as being Dogmatic.

Our Dogmatic Dog

And where would Lucy, female or not, fall in this spectrum?

Hmm.  Let me think of a “C” word for that…

Cruel!  What were you thinking, People?

You need to wash your brains out with soap.

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