On bullying

Maybe I’m late to this realization. Early this morning as I was reading about the latest school shooting, and how the shooter was possibly tormented by classmates, I had a thought. We would never say to a person who had been verbally or physically abused by their spouse, “oh, this is just part of life. It will make you stronger one day.” Why then, can we justify teasing, name calling and physical violence perpetrated by one child onto another with this rationale?  I realize that yes, bullying can make one stronger IF they can muster through.  But sometimes, bullying does exactly what it’s intended to do.  It can make a child feel worthless, sad, depressed, angry, alone.  It’s the last one that breaks my heart the most. Alone.

I recognize there are some problems with my thought process. In the case of kids, they are both kids. The perpetrator can not see the potential for lasting effects. That’s where it’s our job as moms and dads and grandparents, aunties, uncles, teachers, pastors, friends to instill kindness. Instill empathy. Instill compassion. Instill a sense of right.

I can’t say I never said ugly things about people. I’d be a liar if I did. This fact makes me sad. I wish I could take back some of the hurt I probably caused some poor child in middle school. I wish I’d had the courage to stand up for the weird, the quiet, the chunky, the one with glasses, or the one who just didn’t quite fit in. I am teaching my children this, I hope.

I’m not saying shooting your bully is ever an okay option. It’s not. But the human brain has a breaking point. A child’s breaking point may be lower than yours or mine now that we are grownups…

As I see schools trying to combat bullying with zero tolerance policies and participating in Rachel’s Challenge, I still see lots of hate oozing from children. What’s the culprit? What can we do? What can I do? Am I perfect?  Heck no!  Do I judge people?  Sure.  Do I say things I shouldn’t or wish that I hadn’t.  Yep.  I do try and stop and realize what I’ve said and think about it. Recognize it. Own it. Hopefully, learn from it. I don’t think we are a family of bullies. We try to live our lives in a way that makes us proud of ourselves and each other.  So, I am saddened. I will begin looking, scouring for a way to make it stop.

With peace and love in my heart,

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