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Trying to remember that there is always a reason, always something that makes you smile during the day- recognizing the event, person or situation that made you smile will make your day seem that much better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A step out of the "normal" posts

 "I don't care what they do/say to you...you are worthy of love.  They are afraid of your light...because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light...and darkness is all they know."

Listening to the news and facebook and radio shows and other blogs and pretty much any other media source over the last few weeks, you hear stories about bullying.  The quote above is one that was referenced on another blog that I read from someone who I went to college with.  I love the quote and honestly don't know who to attribute the quote to.  ANYWAY...
Even though we have heard about bullying lately over and over, it is not something new, it is not being done to one group of people.  Kids get picked on for a variety of different reasons, because they have glasses, because they are not part of the cool crowd, they are in that awkward stage of life, because they are wearing the wrong color clothes that day.  Bullying is nothing new...bullying has been part of schools, work places, etc for years.  The question needs to be asked, how does a child learn that it is okay to make someone else feel like they are superior to another person, is something that they are learning at home?  Is the media feeding this belief? The internet?  Kids have been suffering from bullying for many, many years.  I wonder why the outrage now?  It is certainly sad that individuals are feeling so hopeless that they need to go to extremes...but why do these kids get to set off the media alarms.  Where was the media when a child was beaten to death because they were from the wrong country and in a high school where the other students didn't know how to appreciate diversity?  Where were the celebrities when a child, of only 11 years old, killed herself because she was being harassed by a boy in her class?  Where was the outrage then?   Where was the outrage when a fifteen year old was so desperate that she hung herself from a stairwell in the high school with a note saying I finally did it and when her locker was opened, over 100 notes were found saying that she was useless and fat, stupid and a geek.  Where was Ellen or Oprah or Tim Gunn saying that it was okay and that there was help out there?
Bullying is an epidemic in our country.  Hatred from children in our schools, adults in our workplaces run rampant. Whose responsibility is it to teach our children that they shouldn't hate.  I believe that it is the responsibility of a parent to teach children that you shouldn't hate someone because they are different.  I don't believe that the responsibility lies on the teachers, social workers, or other adults.  The responsibility lies with a parent.  Unfortunately, there are many prejudices in this country that are perpetuated from one generation to another.  
The question was asked today on facebook if you could champion both tolerance and freedom.  I am not sure if it is possible.  If you champion freedom, then you have to be able to accept that some individuals can't tolerate other individuals and will use their freedom to spew hate for others.  If you champion tolerance, you have to accept the fact that you will need to take away some freedom from individuals to feel the way they want to/have been taught to feel about other people.  
Yes, I want everyone to hold hands and sing kumbaya- that's my goal for this world.  I don't believe that will ever happen, but as I interact with children in this world, and hopefully someday bring some of my own onto the planet, I will do my best to teach that everyone is worthy of love, everyone deserves to be celebrated for their differences, and just because someone wears glasses, kisses a man or a woman, likes to read, likes to play video games, may be a little socially awkward, or hang out with a different group of people, that doesn't mean that they deserve hatred.  Embrace the differences, learn from them and accept them and the world would be a better place.


  1. Great posting. Yep we all know or were someone that was picked on during those really hard adolescent years.
    When I was 13, I swore that I would never forget what it was like to be a kid. The bitter part of being a kid. I never have. That's why I went on to be an educator of adolescents. That and the fact I am nutz. Kids are just ugly to each other. No celebrity is going to change that. No teacher is going to change years of hearing "bad talk" at home.
    You are right. The problem is that home....the place where we all should be taught right from wrong has handed that duty over to someone else in so many cases. My granddaughter who is pretty normal except that she is related to me had a hell of a 4th grade year because of one little girl who hated everyone and everything. No amount of counselor sessions, no amount of trying to find the answer helped. She was just mean. Poor little critter. We are just fortunate that she moved. Better year and yet there are still bullying issues because they all learned how from that little girl....Sad, really sad.

  2. Pooldad and I had this same discussion not too long ago - and we were trying to pinpoint exactly why these kids are bullies and where they get it from. It ALL goes back to the HOME. Whomever these kids are living with [parents, fosters, family members] these adults are teaching the kids that it is okay to pick on someone different or [perceived] weaker than them. It is so wrong and drives me nuts. I think the parents ought to be as responsible as their kid when [IF] punishments are handed down to these mean kids.

    My kids weren't raised like this. They absolutely know we have no tolerance for cruelness towards anyone or thing. It is all about respect - and if they don't show it they are going to know pretty darn quick that it is unacceptable.

    Forget blaming the media or the internet - as you said bullying has been around for eons. It all starts at home colenic. I agree.

    [Thanks for the post - sorry my comment is so long]

  3. Great post. I agree that kids need to be taught how to respect others BUT I also believe that kids need to be taught how to ignore them and be proud of who they are. There will always be a bully. It's how one deals with it that makes the situation a crisis. I'm not saying parents need to raise a self-centered, conceited brat but to teach kids that people like this exist and you are better than they are.

  4. Barb- I agree that kids need to be taught self confidence as well, but that again goes back to what they are taught at home.
    Skippy- Reading for as long as I have, I know that your kids are raised with compassion for everyone...I just think it's sad the way the media is portraying this like it's a new idea.
    Linda- I worked with adolescent girls in the foster care system who were picked on incessantly and it was very hard to teach them that they were so much better than what everyone thought of them...I like to think that i helped them develop into the young adults they are today who are compassionate and give everyone a chance...very sad about the bullying at your granddaughters school....must have been a tough year for her...

  5. I have been MIA for a few days and missed this one!
    Great post, and I agree that it is nothing new.
    Maybe it's being noticed more because of the media/internet. The news spreads more quickly now, especially about suicides...
    Also, kids can be hurt a lot more now I think... it's one thing for someone to convince some of the kids at school to tease someone... but now kids can convince people ALL OVER to hate someone and make their lives hell (via facebook , posting web videos, or whatever) definitely different than when I was in school...
    It is sad, no matter what the bullying is about, and it's pathetic that people raise their kids to treat people this way.