I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
As far back as I can remember, I was bullied. Not just by one, but by numerous classmates. This began as far back as I can remember and continued throughout high school. Despite the fact I forgave and eventually confronted my tormentors, this is not something I will ever forget.
Bullying also occurred within my home. I have three siblings and all three ganged up and had their fair share of verbal attacks. "Put some butter on them rolls," they would say about my extra weight which circled my midsection. Many other memories cross my mind yet still creep up once in a while when I'm not feeling my best.
Despite this behavior, there was never a time when I felt the need to end my life or the life of another. I had outlets. Friends, reading, writing, music,movies and a few other favorites. My escape came in the form of the belief that there was something greater out there, that one day, I would have my own world filled with love, peace and happiness.
That time is still in the works, being developed as I type. Every single day I read devastating choices made by those who have been bullied. Suicide, home, work and school shootings have peppered the news. Children walking into their own schools, taking the lives of childhood classmates. Adults, walking into a workplace while still employed, taking the lives of coworkers. Teens, beating one another on video, posting to social networking sites. What was once dealt with in a quiet manner has now taken a whole new meaning.
As much as we would love to blame bullying, volitile behaviors of individuals run deep. If bullying were the issue, mankind would cease to exist. This very behavior has been around since the beginning of time. From the bible to World Wars, within different cultures around the world, evil exists. People are mean, adults behave badly and children as young as two push and take from one another.
As easy as it is to blame social networking, we do have the ability to turn things off, cease accounts and put parental locks on the internet. Allowing children the ability to have full access to the internet, cell phones and computers within school is a warfare in and of itself.
Notoriety. Film a video, the more shocking the better, and put it on youtube. Young people understand the attention and a sort of respect from their peers which pours forth when exposed in such a manner.
How do we, well, those of us who care, begin to change a culture which is so hell bent on the shock factor?
First and foremost, we must begin at home. Bullying and negative behaviors are learned and mimicked. Adults are just as much to blame. Within my own family, I have been the target of bullying. Adults who feel they have the right to talk about, degrade and gossip. This behavior is observed by children as young as 8, 9 and 10 years old. How do we expect children to behave any different if the adults mentioned within don't have enough common sense?
Suicide and mass shootings are outside the norm. I believe there is a much deeper issue. Being called names, teased and "bullied" are a part of human nature. I am not whatsoever defending such but it is something which is a norm within our culture. It is not going away anytime soon. As long as we have good, will we fight the bad.
We see adults fight over parking spaces, waiting in line, killing one another on Black Friday and so forth. Need I say more?
How does society begin to deal with and change the mindset of those who are on the brink? A couple of thoughts come to mind.
First and foremost, look within your own home. Do the adults in your household fight like cats and dogs or do they exhibit compassion, love and correct ways to communicate? How about the children? I know the old saying, "Kids must be kids", but in all honesty, parents must allow each child the right to their own personal safety. Having established rules and boundaries are the first step to health and welfare.
Second, when viewing bullying videos on the internet and such, there are always bystanders. I for one, would never stand by if one person was degrading or harming another. Children must be taught skills to intervene. There must be a safety net for them within their schools in order to "tell" on perpetrators.
Last but not least, why do bus drivers, teachers, and other adults in charge not step in and do something? I know it's tough to keep your eyes on 30 children, yet there are always one to five which wreak havoc on a few smaller and weaker. How hard can it be to stop a fight or call for backup?
Bullying occurs because individuals are too afraid, too busy or too worried about being a target to get involved. Because certain parents are unable or not willing to make changes, a curriculum must be established. When we incorporate esteem building skills into every single school, we will begin to see less bullying and more compassion. We will see children secure enough to say no and stand up to bullying, in and outside of their homes. We will see adults secure enough to talk and confront instead of ending the life of themselves and others.
We may not be able to change the world, but if you are capable of making a few simple changes in your own life and the life of your family, you too will begin to experience peace.