Yesterday one of the girls in the junior youth group looked slightly sad and downtrodden. She told me she was being bullied by some of the other girls. I told her :
You know, when I was your age I was bullied too. It sucks I know. I got my stuff stolen everyday, spit sandwiches and everything in between. It was lonely. But you know what I wish someone had told me then that I want to tell you now?? You need to keep your head up and don’t let that make you lose your confidence. You need to understand that what they are doing has nothing to do with you. Don’t lose sense of who you are. And here’s an important lesson : Love them, love them because they are created by God but that doesn’t mean don’t be just to yourself. You have to learn to keep a distance and don’t let what they do affect you.
The problem with how we deal with bullying today is that we tend to pigeonhole people into the victim and the abuser. A typical response towards a bully is to reprimand him and tell him that his behavior is bad. If this worked, then we wouldn’t have an insane amount of bullying. If anything , bullying has increased as social media is accessible to everyone.
No, the problem is moral relativism, the fragmentation of our lives and what kids are learning from the society as a whole . IF we foster competitive environments why are we surprised when they pick on the ” weak”? If we have families who are violent and abusive why are we surprised that this pours out in their behavior? If we teach intolerance and are over indulgent why are we thinking it won’t result in abuse?
There are so many factors to sum up in each individual case, that it is seemingly impossible to deal with. But, the teacher is already overworked with little support from the system. Counselors are rarely available. The parents typically will blame the teacher for not ” controlling” the class. The victims will demand justice…
I’ve seen where these ” bullies” end up and frankly, it’s pretty sad. I have seen all kinds of ” bullies” Poor Bullies, gypsy bullies, rich Salvadoran bullies, spanish bullies, Etc, etc, etc. It seems like everyone discarded them and decided they are No Good. They have a tough tie believing that anyone cares about them. All they understand is violence. They perpetuate the worst facets of society to the t. They are known as A Bully and they begin to perpetuate this identity.
On the same coin, the ” victim” is taught that they are a victim and cannot possibly empower themselves. If they do, they are taught to stand up for themselves, or seek revenge. Think of all those movies where the former victim gets revenge. Isn’t that becoming the very thing they were running away from? That’s because we seem to have a notion of power which means forced strength. It also typically shows the person now rich and better off. In no way does the person in these movies show that they are in any way helping others , they just perpetuate the temple of self interest.
No, I believe that working together and trying to find ways to erase those labels might be the answer. In understanding where people are coming from. In working with prevention of these labels by redefining them.