Thursday, March 17, 2011

Teach.... your children well....

 The One you just called fat? She has been starving herself & has lost over 30 pounds. The One you just called stupid? She has a learning disability & studies over 4hrs a night. The One you just called ugly? She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her. The One you just tripped? She is abused enough at home. There's a lot more to people than you think. (This is the post being passed around facebook the last few days).

Working with children over the years I've noticed bullies come in all shapes and sizes. The rise in bullying concerns me. Parents, don't assume your child is immune. One sweet girl confessed, "This girl in my class won't stop making fun of me." This one really gets me... "He was throwing rocks at me and hitting me in the back all during recess." How about, "He pulled my shirt up in front of the class and slapped my stomach." Think this is confined to school? Sunday school had this happen, "They made fun of her because she stuttered until she cried."

Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever been afraid to go to school or hang out with your friends because you KNOW what was coming?

I was bullied in school. More than once. Dead fish in my locker. Hit in the back with the basketball for laughs. The list goes on. I don't even know what I did to the girls that didn't like me. Did they just open the yearbook and decide it was my day? I used to be afraid of girls that would walk behind me saying all the horrible things they were going to do to me. One almost succeeded. Had it not been for a guy friend of mine that stepped in as the punch was coming, I would have been destroyed in front of a crowd of my peers. His comment still rings in my head, "You punch her. I punch you." That chick actually thought about it, pulled her fist back to pummel me, and he pulled his fist back ready to take his shot. She stopped, realizing he was serious and a wonderful teacher intervened and drug her to the office. Whew! Now, Mom... I know you're reading this. Relax!

I only stood up to one bully. She followed me into the restroom and she had me alone. She told me all she was going to do to me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream for help, but something in me snapped that day. I stood with my back to her visibly shaking. She knew I was afraid, so she continued the verbal torture. Then I turned and looked her in the eyes. I thought about when we were little and she used to play on the playground with me. We used to sit together in the library. She used to be my friend. All at once, I didn't care anymore. I didn't care if she hit me. I told her if she was going to do beat me up to get on with it, and if all she was going to do was talk about it and scare me all the time, then to just shut up! I've never seen fire shoot from nostrils, but at that moment I thought it was possible. Her eyes filled with anger and she stepped closer. I could feel my heart beating in my temples! Then..... it was as if she saw me. Me. The me she once knew. She stepped back, looked down at the floor and told me to go. I wanted to go throw up, but I walked by her with my head up. We never spoke about that day, but things changed. I'd like to say we became friends and she stopped being a bully. No, she just moved on to the next victim. But, I changed. I decided to not be afraid anymore. Things still happened, but it didn't get to me. I didn't allow someone who behaved so small to take away who I knew I was.

All of this to simply say, talk to your children. Ask them how their day was. Ask them if there are bullies in their classes. Ask them do they feel safe. Ask them do they know what to do or who to talk to if someone threatens them. Ask them do they know how special they are. Ask them do they know how much you love them.

Mean kids are out there. However, we can raise our children to be the source of compassion for others. Be the one that befriends the lonely. Teach them to give of their hearts and allow others to see hope in them. Teach them to believe they are worth so much more than what a bully thinks of them. Teach them to laugh. Teach them to love their friends and pray for their enemies. Teach them it's a great big world out there, and it's time that the good guys win. Teach them acceptance.

Does the local school where you live have an anti-bullying campaign? Would you be willing to start one and give children hope?

Below, two schools came together to create a message about acceptance. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to the stupid bullying thing.

    Bullies stink.

    I'll say no more.