Though the rains and cool weather stubbornly refuse to loosen their inhospitable grip on the North Country, in the end they will acquiesce to the warm, still days of a welcoming summer, the summer of 2011.
As summer arrives, the school year will come to an end and students will bust out the school doors to that sublime feeling of no school tomorrow.
As the school year ended when I was a kid, my friends and I could scarcely contain ourselves, our teachers reigned us in on occasion and reminded us that school was still in session, sunshine or no sunshine.
For some, summer would mean rushing out the door early in the morning to mount a bike, wet with night's dew, and a quick ride to meet up with friends. For others, it was off to the beach at the lake or to a secret swimming or fishing hole along the river. For some, summer would spell the beginning of work, a job mowing or raking lawns or on an area farm in the hayfield. Now those days seem so rich with freedom and self determination when compared to the experience of today's youth.
One thing that has not changed since then is the existence of bullies and bullying. Unlike years ago, today bullying can be accomplished from behind the cowardly protection of a computer keyboard or a cell phone. Years ago, if you talked badly enough about enough people for long enough, you would experience a day of reckoning at some point. The profile of the bully has also changed, many bullies today are popular, intelligent and have social currency to spend in the community and at school.
By contrast, the bully of yesterday was much easier to manage. Bullies were often pushed to the margins of school and eventually in the community. The victims of bullying are largely unchanged, somehow they are just a little different, too thin, too fat, too smart, not smart enough and so on.