Kelly's Blog

A father’s thoughts on tough guys, bullying, gay sons, and HIV.

Posted in Family, General, Information on Thursday, October 21st, 2010 by Kelly - 1 Comment


“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

Now that quote is old. This guy Benjamin Disraeli lived in the 1800’s in Great Britain. I guess it means that no matter how much we like to say we have grown or evolved, not a whole lot has changed when you are on the receiving end of bullying.

What the hell are you so afraid of?

Now you might think that I am talking to the young gays who have been so affected by the taunts and beat downs. I am not.

I am talking to the bullies. Because if you have to bully someone, you’ve got to be afraid of something big in yourself or something that you don’t understand or you wouldn’t be putting up all that smoke.

The time has come to start finding out what this fear is all about and where it is coming from.  Are we – the parents – transferring our fears to our kids? Fear about what is going to happen to us in this economy? Fear that our government isn’t looking out for the working man? Fear that we are not all we should be?

I have read that it is a lack of empathy, compassion, and kindness that leads to bullying. But from where I sit, it is flat out fear that blocks our ability to see or treat someone different with kindness or compassion.

I come from a background running businesses in the construction and auto industry. We are tough guys that work hard to make a good living. But I learned a long time ago that the real tough guy has courage and fire – he doesn’t need to blow smoke by bullying.

My son is gay and he is HIV positive. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t scare me. I am most afraid of what he will face in his life – not that he didn’t live up to my expectations of what my son was to be. (It seems that pro football career is just not happening.)

It takes courage to step outside our comfort zone. The reason I liked the Disraeli quote so much was because it said courage is fire. We’ve got to burn down the walls of our little comfort zone to face new things and new people. We’ve got to burn down the walls to not be so afraid of what is on the other side.

You just might like what you find, I know I did. When the smoke is blown away, you can usually see the real person or the situation for what it is.

Our whole lives we are going to be facing new things and new people. Are we going to be afraid of everything that comes along and miss out on what life has to offer? I know that I am not going to miss a moment of my son’s life with all of the good times and all of the bad even if his being gay and HIV positive were not in my plans.

If I can become a blogger and advocate for those living with HIV, there may be no limits to what you can do if you face your fears.

So I ask one more time of the bullies (and their parents):

What are you so afraid of????

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