Oct 14, 2010

Bullying


A friend posted a link today on FB - a call to stop bullying. That got me thinking about bullying. That unpleasant aspect of childhood is actually something that we will be dealing with all our lives. Bullying is not just a part of the growing up but something that we will continue to experience (or dish out) for the rest of our lives.
It maybe not as pronounced or violent as childhood bullying (hopefully), but it will be there.

We will be bullied by our employers, by people in the position of authority (real or imagined), even by our family and friends. I think the way we learn to deal with bullies in school, or deal with actually BEING the bully is going to equip us to deal with it as grown ups.

Have you ever been bullied? Have you bullied someone when you were a child or as the adult?

I have actually done both. I now have a 3 year old son growing up, and the thought of him being the victim of bullies terrifies me. As a mother, I cannot fathom someone being not nice to my boy. But then I look back at the time when I was little, and I was the bully - would I prefer my son to be the victim, or the bully himself? I regret being the bully far more than being "victimized". But as a mother, I gotta be honest - if there were only two choices, Id rather him be on the "giving side". Of course, my hope and prayers are to have enough wisdom and obedience to the Lord to teach him that he doesn't have to be either.

I recall a bunch of times when I was bullied, and I must say I am not proud of how I handled it as a child. I'm not counting the daily life while growing up in an abusive household (that is a whole new level of bully). I won't speak about the times I was a bully, because, well - it's between me and the Lord. I've made my peace with that. But I will share this one time.

I was about 8 or 9 when I got a call to our house late in the evening. I was home alone. The call was from an unknown person,and they sounded like kid or a teenager, but I did not recognize them. This was before the time when you could see who is calling you, by the way. The voice said:"Tomorrow after school, we are going to kill you." What a horrible thing to say, right?
I was frightened, very frightened. I was never threatened like this before, and frankly could not fathom what I did to deserve that. I spent the next few hours sharpening and fashioning a...shiv out of a piece of metal I found in our tool closet. I carried that thing in the pocket of my coat for a week straight. No one approached me the next day or ever - it was just a cruel joke.

I don't know how to stop bullying, as there are so many reasons for it. Violence at home, environment and the culture the kids grow up in. Also - the way the adults either close their eyes to it or stand up against.
But I think it also depends on the person. Some (most?) people need to feel more powerful, better, smarter, faster, richer, more successful than others. The kids and the adults alike. Competitiveness is in our nature, so I don't think that we will ever get rid of this painful yet such an important part of ourselves. Establishing who we are - the alpha-wolf or not? Can we stand up to the stronger animal? Can we learn to resolve a difficult situation on our own?

I, personally, admire people that have never bullied, or even felt the need to bully another human being in any way. It's so rare, and so precious.

Here are some links for more information:

Stop Bullying now!
Dealing with Bullying
Families & Bullying
Recognizing Bullying behavior

I'd love to hear some of the experiences with bullies or being the bully if you would like to share some.

1 comment:

Kim Foo said...

it makes me so sad that someone would have said that to you. oh my goodness.

and after spending a weekend with a more grown up Fish - I dont think you have to worry about him being a bully. such a sweeet sweet boy. "were friends" hehe.

and hey if anyone bullies you - you just let me know and I will have words with them - in a non bullying way of course. but girl - I so have your back!

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