Stephanie Pearce: Are you a bully?
He hears the taunts from the kids circling him. They pass the ball to everyone but him on the playground. The ball makes a snapping sound as it hits the hands of the next person and seems to accentuate with each pass. The other boys’ laughter grows until he hears nothing else as they make sure he knows he’s not good enough to play with them. They hurl insults at him that seem to come out of their mouths as easily as the air they breathe. No one came to his defense. No one. It just seemed as if the more kids heard, the more would join in. He can’t take it anymore and started yelling like a crazy person. He yelled over and over “I hate you!” as tears streamed down his eyes.
The little girl was shy. She was so shy that any one on one math “game” in class made her freeze. She lost every time. Because the girl didn’t even attempt to answer a question in these “games,” the teacher called the girl in front of the class. She quizzed her in math problems in front of everyone. The little girl’s eyes started to fill with tears and she began to shake as the teacher asked problem after problem. Easy ones that the little girl knew, but she just couldn’t get it out. She was so nervous, it just wouldn’t come. Frustration brought the girl to her knees and she sat in her desk and wept.
The church choir leader approached the woman after church. The woman had just sung with her mother that morning as a special. The woman cherished that Sunday because she loved singing with her mother and hearing her mother lift her voice as a gift to the Lord. The choir leader asked the woman if she would be interested in performing in the Christmas concert the church was putting on. The woman said “Yes! I would be happy to!” The choir leader then explains to her that she would rather the woman didn’t say anything to her mother because they only wanted good singers in the concert.
Bullying comes in all forms. It’s most commonly found at schools among young people. It can be on the playground, but as children grow, so do the bullying tactics. It can be found online, in texts and in person. Even though many tragedies have come from school bullying including shootings and suicide, bullying never seems to go away. It seems as if the high people get from bullying is much more valuable than making it stop.
The worst offenders are adults. Whether in a position of trust over a child or just in everyday interactions with other adults, bullying by adults or ignored by adults can be some of the worst. Mostly because sometimes it is hard to differentiate intention with adults; you want to believe they aren’t bullying.
It is so important for us to understand that bullying in any form is wrong. Words, actions and intent are so important. It’s imperative we make it stop when we see it. Make it a habit to reach out and lift people up. Make it a habit to teach your kids to lift one another up. Remember the old phrase “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Remember it. Use it. Think before you speak. Think before you do. Just think.