He was a funny looking kid, no doubt.

Tommie’s brown hair stood like a scrub brush, pointing to all of the cardinal directions. He wore clothes that always had patches.

When he walked, his thin legs appeared to pull his ematicated body along as if they controlled him.

The other kids loved to make fun of him, to insult him, to try to make him fell bad.

He wondered so often, why did they insult him?

Big Jim would say, “You look stupid!”

Lori stated plenty of times, “Honestly, it looks like your clothes come out of the garbage.”

A mother refused to allow him to date her daughter stating, “You are a stupid Christian and from the wrong side of the tracks!”

Much later in life, in Basic Training, a recruit walked up to pick a fight with him, because, “You are a Cracker!”

Tommie never understood why he was a target, as he tried to be kind. Rather than insult people, invariably he found something true about the other to compliment.

Having said all of this, it is important to note, Tommie was never a sheep. When the situation called for it, he would defend himself or others that were under attack.

He understood that most people that spoke with insults were ignorant, sometimes jealous, but never better than he. And, he understood that all had a different view of life and naturally saw things apart or different as odd.

As he grew and the insults piled on, he learned something very valuable.

He would hear an insult, but then park it or bookmark in a special place in his memory, never to react to it in the heat of the moment.

There it would sit for a while wherein he would process it, and decide how to react to it.

This simple technique took power away from the insulting bullies and put it into his hands. He would decide how to react to it, what to do about.

Now, when someone says he looks stupid he usually said, “Aww, but I am just like a duck, calm on the surface but paddling like hell below!”

Or, if someone ever says, “You are a stupid Christian!” he would probably respond, “Not as stupid as some, but what I believe is my choice, not your!”

Tommie still takes insults, daily, but takes the power for himself. Some might say he has a thick skin. Some might say he is too stupid to know when he has been insulted.

But Tommie is proud of his life, in spite of the bullies, the ignorant, the prejudiced and simply chooses to say good things about people.

So, can you become less defensive? Can you survive the insults of the ignorant?

Perhaps, you can learn to bookmark an abusive tone and react to it later, when you have the power, and the bully loses power.