The school system where I grew up has a brand new campaign that is trying to raise awareness of bullying. People are putting signs up in their yards and attending meetings and the fear of kids dying by the hundreds. In fact, it appears to be a worse fear then that of those people who are worried about the opposition party voting for a bill that will kill 8100 more people from pollution. (How Babs knows it will be exactly 8100 is the question for another day).
Foolishly, I entered a question on Facebook where the announcement about signs was being spread:
Q: “Has bullying changed so much since the late sixties that kids are compelled to kill themselves or has society made it harder for them to cope? I remember being hit in the chest and books being knocked out of my hands. I remember guys on the bus who were both verbally and physically abusive. I went on to be a decorated Naval Officer and now business owner. Surviving taught me skills in overcoming barriers. What do you think has changed that suicide is a better option?”
A: “I believe a part of the problem is not only are they being bullied at school they are also being bullied on the internet. They can not get away from it. Yes, there always was bullying and I blame it on the parents that say " kids will be kids" It is our job as parents to teach our children that it is inappropriate to treat people like this. I also feel that if teachers and other adults know about bullying it is our job to make it known to the powers that be so these kids can pay the consequences for their actions.”
1. All good points and I hope it works out. My time in school was at a much earlier time and I have some theories. First and foremost, I can’t think of any reason a child in school needs a cell phone. We managed quite well without one and frankly it would take a lot of burdens off the kids and the staff if they were gone. Second, who buys the computer and cell phones? The parents. Instead of saying they can’t get away from the internet, why don’t we monitor their use of the tools we have given them. How many parents let their kids have computers in a room with a door closed?
2. The other differences in ages are the moral codes we were exposed to on a regular basis. We had prayer, we went to Church, we learned the difference between good and bad, and we belonged to moral building groups like the scouts (boy and girl). No, they weren’t perfect and over time they too became morally eroded but at least a conscious effort was made to be proactive in how to live on the same block with people who were different than you.
3. The biggest influencer in most kids lives are the entertainment industry. The music, video games and even television numb them and condition them to be open to many more forms of moral decay than at any time in history. They are glued to their IPods and IPhones which fill them with all kinds of ideas about what is right and wrong. Just listen to a few Katy Perry songs and any Rap artist if you have doubts. TV is filled with all kinds of alternative families… I have two daddies, divorced Dad and Swinging next door neighbor, innuendos that would have made a sailor blush back in the day and that’s just on one network.
4. I too blame it on the parents. The ones who use electronic babysitters. The ones who don’t drag their kids to church. The ones who don’t talk about morals, honor, courage , and honor codes. The ones who don’t watch what the kids are watching and buy them all the toys they want without thinking of the pressure they are adding to the kids life. It is the parents job to keep their kids on the right path by being proactive and not reactive. If and when that ever happens, we might keep bullying in its place. But until then, we are doomed to forever clean up the broken glass resulting from another out of control kid throwing a rock.
Needless to say, I did not get much of a response. I don’t imagine I will be offered a speaking gig at the next PTO meeting either.
So what is a bully in your opinion? How would you recognize one in this day of mass communications?
One thing that might give you a clue. A real bully might encourage all his friends to get in your face if you disagree with him. He might use all kinds of evil and hateful names about you if you are of a different mindset.
And of course, he would ask all your friends and associates to give him your email. Then he would target you with junk email, threats, trinkets and trash you never asked for.
Normally, I would suggest that the best way to deal with a bully is to hold his parents or relatives responsible if he is not of an age or maturity to understand his actions. In this case, I understand that both parents are no longer with us. Does anyone have an address for the Kenyan embassy?