I have a strong concept of right and wrong. Perhaps that’s why I write fiction. That way I can ensure the bad guys get their comeuppance and that’s where I prefer to keep my conflict. It’s reality that troubles me at times; I see no happy ending for this dilemma.
Recently, I listened to a public service announcement from a president of a teacher’s association talk about how bullying can/must be prevented in schools and that adults have the power to stop it. While on the surface, this sounds wonderful and part of a perfect world, I find the statement disingenuous. Why? Because in my opinion adults are the culprits behind, and, in fact, are the ones responsible for bullying.
I’m amazed when adults are shocked that a child has been bullied. Really? Have you turned on the television lately? Have you been on Facebook and Twitter? What some call passionate and their First Amendment right—a rose by any other name, folks—is actually bullying.
Maybe you’ve seen the Vonage commercial about bundling (TV, phone, Internet) where a Stepford-like couple approaches their new neighbors, and says, “But we all bundle.” I submit in one form or another, “We all bully.”
The political ads, the downright and dirty attacks on both sides of the political spectrum have little to do with passion. This is all out war to get their candidate elected. There’s money to be made in these attack ads, and the ugly truth is conflict and gossip sell. Take a look at the reality shows. For some reason, many are drawn to watching fellow human beings experience pain and suffering. If they weren’t, the ratings wouldn’t be through the roof, and the shows would be cancelled.
If a child is bullied at home, chances are that child is going to bully at school. If a child is treated with kindness and respect, chances are he will carry on that learned behavior at school. There are leaders and followers in this world, and children who don’t want to be bullied and haven’t learned how to stand up for themselves–well, unfortunately, they get behind the bully. I speak of generalities, of course. There are psychological components that muddy my argument.
My point is please, don’t tell me that adults have the power to stop anything, when, number one, their actions prove they don’t want to, and, two, they propagate the problem.
Want to stop bullying? Don’t turn a blind eye to what your children are doing in school. Like it or not, your child has more than one teacher— and you are number one in his social education.
Teaching children that ganging up on others is unacceptable—that much of the public service announcement is correct. But our society and our social media tell us bullying is acceptable. Perhaps the best way to stop bullying is to look in the mirror. And the next time you “like” a divisive message or retweet an ugly sentiment, consider the ramifications. Are you passionate about the topic? Or are you getting behind a bully.
“We all bully.” What’s more, our children are watching . . . and learning.