The Today Show is talking about bullying this morning. I guess, unfortunately, bullying has been around since the beginning of mankind. Was Jesus bullied? Well, yes....by those who eventually put him to death. He was bullied and mocked all the way to Golgatha where he was crucified. So is it human nature to be cruel to those 'we don't like'?
Maybe it is a natural response at the most basal level of human nature but once a person has any level of real enlightenment, or awareness, it is not a part of their nature.
Children live what they learn. Never a truer statement has been written...most of the time. Hey, we human beings are not black or white. We all have a little grey...and isn't that a good thing. Except when it comes to bullying.
I hear repeatedly that schools 'do nothing' to stop bullying. That schools 'allow' bullying to take place. It does make good fodder for talk shows and political debates but, not true, according to me. More like "Zero Tolerance"! You know...just like for weapons. The difference is you can see a gun. It is tangible. If anyone reports the presence of a gun in a school, it is immediately the first priority of the administration. Bullying,, however, IF it even gets reported, is intangible. You can't always see it or hear it. Sometimes you can chase down a text but can you imagine the losing battle you are fighting with a thousand cell phones in a school?
Much bullying goes unreported for fear that it will get worse "if I tell". We've all felt that way before in some way, shape or form. What to do?
Teach your child to tell. To tell his teacher, his counselor, you. Let the child handle it first on his own if it is age appropriate. It builds his esteem and power to handle it if he can. Have I had to handle this as a teacher? You bet I have. Once a student actually bullied ME! His teacher! Once. After explaining to him in no uncertain terms that he was breaking the law and I could charge him in a heartbeat, and I would, he cowered away.
When I was a very young teacher, I saw bullying one time and I let it go. It stills haunts me. I apologized later to the student and tried to restore his dignity. That was 30 years ago. Teachers were untrained in how to handle bullying back then. Now the training is intense. I am glad to say that I've conducted those trainings myself...to atone for my lack of backbone way back when. And to make sure my peer teachers knew what to do.
Don't blame the schools. Support them. Your words are powerful. Not just when bullying but when spouting off to a neighbor about your neighborhood school or writing a letter to the editor. Let your words be supportive, not destructive.