It seems as though the word bullying and stories about the tragic results of bullying are everywhere lately. As I see more and more "cures" and "tips" for bully prevention and deterrents I can't help but shake my head just a little. Of course I don't agree with bullying. I don't condone bullying. I breath a sigh of relief because we homeschool and so we don't deal with bullying on a daily basis.
My soft sigh is directed towards the top ten lists and the "expert" advice that I keep seeing in magazines, online, and on television. See we tell each other (ALL THE TIME) that children will do what we do. They won't listen to what we say, they will imitate our behavior. And then when the discussion of bullying comes up we all shake our head and say tsk, tsk and then give all the reasons why OUR child would NEVER be a bully. But if we're all tsking then where are these bullies coming from?
My point is this (now that I've wondered around a bit) WE bully. Grown ups bully all the time. We have entire magazines and cable stations dedicated to picking apart celebrities and those in the public eye. We call it humor when we talk badly about one another. We say it's for the sake of fashion when we critique someone from the tips of their toes to the hairs on their head. We call it politics when we delve into someone's personal life and scoff at all their shortcomings. What is that if not bullying?
We expect actors and actresses to be perfect all the time. We encourage photographers to follow them around and harass them and their families all for the sake of entertainment. If they are having a bad day, make a mistake, or pick sweatpants to run to the store then they are the news story of the week. Granted actors and actresses have willingly gone to work in an industry that they know will put them in glass houses but should they really be unable to hit Starbucks for a coffee without a tribe of photogs following them? What is that if not bullying?
We sit around with our friends and bash the choices of friends and neighbors that take a different approach to life then we do. We take it upon ourselves to decide what is best for everyone around us and then we shun them if they don't follow our advice. We stick our noses in the air and scoff at those that moms that work or those moms that stay at home, at those that send their kids to public school or private school or those that homeschool, at those that breastfeed or at those that don't, at those that co-sleep or allow their babies to belly sleep or those that let their babies cry it out. What is that if not bullying?
So I don't think many of those bully prevention tips are going to help. I don't think teaching your kids to fight or travel in packs or make friends with the bully is the solution. I think kids are following our example. I think the only way we can combat the bullying problem is to stop showing them how to bully.
We need to reinstate the golden rule. We need to teach our kids to treat others with love and respect. And that begins with us and the way we treat others. We need to STOP bullying each other. We need to stop bashing and judging and criticizing one another. We need to stop supporting the shows and magazines and stations that bully others. We need to support one another instead.
Brother Ray told us today that his dad used to say you can't judge someone else unless you've spent a whole day being them. Amen to that! Unless you've walked in someone else's shoes then you don't know where they are coming from or where they are going.
Stop bullying. It begins with you. And me. And every other grown up around.
(This is a free, convoluted message from the musings of me. You're welcome.)