Always obey your parents, when they are present. This is the best policy in the long run, because if you don't, they will make you. Most parents think they know better than you do, and you can generally make more by humoring that superstition than you can by acting on your own better judgment.
Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any, also to strangers, and sometimes to others. If a person offends you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. That will be sufficient. If you shall find that he had not intended any offense, come out frankly and confess yourself in the wrong when you struck him; acknowledge it like a man and say you didn't mean to. Yes, always avoid violence; in this age of charity and kindliness, the time has gone by for such things. Leave dynamite to the low and unrefined.
Go to bed early, get up early- this is wise. Some authorities say get up with the sun; some say get up with one thing, others with another. But a lark is really the best thing to get up with. It gives you a splendid reputation with everybody to know that you get up with the lark; and if you get the right kind of lark, and work at him right, you can easily train him to get up at half past nine, every time—it's no trick at all.
Now as to the matter of lying, you want to be very careful about lying; otherwise you are nearly sure to get caught. Once caught, you can never again be in the eyes to the good and the pure, what you were before. Many a young person has injured himself permanently through a single clumsy and ill finished lie, the result of carelessness born of incomplete training. Some authorities hold that the young out not to lie at all. That of course, is putting it rather stronger than necessary; still while I cannot go quite so far as that, I do maintain, and I believe I am right, that the young ought to be temperate in the use of this great art until practice and experience shall give them that confidence, elegance, and precision which alone can make the accomplishment graceful and profitable. Patience, diligence, painstaking attention to detail—these are requirements; these in time, will make the student perfect; upon these only, may he rely as the sure foundation for future eminence. Think what tedious years of study, thought, practice, experience, went to the equipment of that peerless old master who was able to impose upon the whole world the lofty and sounding maxim that "Truth is mighty and will prevail"—the most majestic compound fracture of fact which any of woman born has yet achieved. For the history of our race, and each inpidual's experience, are sewn thick with evidences that a truth is not hard to kill, and that a lie well told is immortal. There is in Boston a monument of the man who discovered anesthesia; many people are aware, in these latter days, that that man didn't discover it at all, but stole the discovery from another man. Is this truth mighty, and will it prevail? Ah no, my hearers, the monument is made of hardy material, but the lie it tells will outlast it a million years. An awkward, feeble, leaky lie is a thing which you ought to make it your unceasing study to avoid; such a lie as that has no more real permanence than an average truth. Why, you might as well tell the truth at once and be done with it. A feeble, stupid, preposterous lie will not live two years—except it be a slander upon somebody. It is indestructible, then of course, but that is no merit of yours. A final word: begin your practice of this gracious and beautiful art early—begin now. If I had begun earlier, I could have learned how.
An old problem is getting new attention in the United States: bullying. Recent cases included the tragic case of a fifteen-year-old girl whose family moved from Ireland.
Phoebe PrincePhoebe Prince hanged herself in Massachusetts in January following months of bullying. Her parents criticized her school for failing to protect her. Officials have brought criminal charges against several teenagers.
Judy Kuczynski is president of an anti-bullying group called Bully Police USA. Her daughter Tina was the victim of severe bullying starting in middle school in the state of Minnesota.
JUDY KUCZYNSKI: "Our daughter was a very outgoing child. She was a bubbly personality, very involved in all kinds of things, had lots of friends. And over a period of time her grades fell completely. She started having health issues. She couldn't sleep. She wasn't eating. She had terrible stomach pains. She started clenching her jaw and grinding her teeth at night. Didn't want to go to school."
Bullying is defined as negative behavior repeated over time against the same person. It can involve physical violence. Or it can be verbal -- for example, insults or threats.
Spreading lies about someone or excluding a person from a group is known as social or relational bullying.
And now there is cyberbullying, which uses the Internet, e-mail or text messages. It has easy appeal for the bully because it does not involve face-to-face contact and it can be done at any time.
The first serious research studies into bullying were done in Norway in the late nineteen seventies. The latest government study in the United States was released last year. It found that about one-third of students age twelve to eighteen were bullied at school.
Examples included being made fun of, pushed, spit on, threatened or excluded from activities. Some students had their property damaged. About four percent reported being the victims of cyberbullying. The study took place in two thousand seven.
Susan Swearer is a psychologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and co-director of the Bullying Research Network. She says schools should treat bullying as a mental health problem to get bullies and victims the help they need. She says bullying is connected to depression, anxiety and anti-social behavior, and bullies are often victims themselves.
What can be done to prevent bullying? That will be our subject next week.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. You can find this story and post comments at voaspecialenglish.com and at the VOA Learning English page on Facebook. I'm Steve Ember.