October is Bully Preventon Month so I wanted to briefly share my story about a little Asian boy growing up in Morris County NJ
Posted: October 04, 2017
I want to take a few minutes out of your busy day to talk about bullying. We all have stories and I want to share mine with all of you. I was the only Asian kid growing-up in a small town in Morris County - Roxbury Township. I attended Jefferson Elementary School. Myself and another student Will - I can’t believe I remember his name after all these years – an African American were the only two students that were minorities in the entire school. I was constantly harassed and bullied during those days. I was overweight and would bring ethnic foods to school for lunch – rice, kimchi, and dried seaweed. Yes, imagine an overweight Asian kid that ate dried seaweed and smelled like kimchi walking to and from school each day was a recipe for bullying. A lot of those that have been bullied display signs of depression, anxiety, and sadness. They are angry, have nightmares and fewer friends, and have poor eating habits. As time goes on there is a drop-in grades, low self-esteem, and feelings of being helpless, and many turn to drugs and alcohol. In extreme cases there are suicidal ideation thoughts. During my time being bullied I learned to adapt and overcome.
MY FAMILY AND TAE KWON DO HAD BEEN MY SAVING GRACE!
I took my training more serious and as a result I became physically and mentally stronger and tougher. I lost weight and I had more self-confidence and self-esteem. I can truly laugh at those times in my life now because I overcame the bullying and adversity and have 3 awesome kids, a heavenly wife and a successful business. I became comfortable in my own skin. I remember asking myself why can’t I be someone else, why are these kids bullying me, and I am I the only kid in the school walking home by myself whereas all the other kids were with their friends laughing and having a great time There is a reality to all of this - these thoughts entered my mind every minute of every day. I was unable to escape these thoughts. I remember groups of boys and girls would look at me at the same time and start yelling “Ching Chang, Wang Ping Fing Fong.” They would say the most ridiculous statements to tease me, hurt me, and destroy who I am. I was called yellow, Chinese boy, chinc, and gook. What was particularly bothersome is when the kids would purposely slant their eyes and call me names. I was emotionally tortured daily. I learned quickly to block out the noise and like a sparring match I came up with a plan and decided to make some small changes in my life.
These strategies worked and by the way one girl who was making fun of me would later become my first girlfriend, her name was Andrea ;)
Next, I told my mom I want to buy lunch, all the cool kids bought lunch. No more smelling like kimchi and dried seaweed for me! I am literally laughing as I write this because I remember these moments in my life as if it were yesterday. Next, I found myself becoming really good at dodgeball, actually crushing kids in dodgeball!!! I realized I loved gym class. That was the only time I felt like I had an even playing field as I was athletic and strong. I was a good athlete and I was doing physical and mental drills in martial arts that helped me with my speed, agility, focus, intensity, and most of all self-wroth and self-confidence. Suddenly, when it came time to pick teams in gym, I moved to the front of the line and eventually was chosen first to play dodgeball. This was truly a glorious victory for me and I was on top of the world! Quickly these little victories had huge dividends. Fast forward through elementary, middle school and into my senior year. I was on the Student Council as the Public Relations officer, ran the largest blood drive in the school to this day, was Vice-President of the FBLA, and was voted most popular, and received a Leadership Scholarship for college.
What a turn of events! From the lonely Asian kid eating lunch and walking home alone to the most popular!
Our children are back to school and I want to help them. I want to share the tools I have learned due to my life’s experiences and my experiences in Martial Arts to have a positive impact on their lives. I was able to overcome the bullying and all that comes from such through Family and the Martial Arts.
WE ARE FAMILY IN THE MARTIAL ARTS AND THROUGH FRIENDSHIP.
This is an issue that is dear to me. There could be some emotions that you are experiencing right now as you’ve read my story and are thinking about your own life’s experiences. Parents, Master Parks want to help your children develop life skills so they don’t become victims of bullying. We want to be a part of your children’s journey in life and help them develop self-worth and self-confidence using the Martial Arts. I have attached an article I wrote a couple months ago. Please take a few minutes out of your bust schedule to read it.
If we plan together and train together we can all put an END to Bullying.
If anyone of your children display signs of bullying I am always available to help.
~Master Sunny Park