A few months ago, a co-worker and I were talking about child-rearing. Since my children are grown, he asked me, “when is teasing and mocking others a normal part of childhood and when is it bullying?”
My answer, “It’s bullying when it’s your child.”
So, the issue I chose to discuss on Blog Action Day is bullying.
The definition of a bully is “a person who hurts or browbeats those who are weaker.” All of us have encountered these villains at one time or another. There are bullies at work, in the media, and in politics.
I want to speak to the ones, we all have experienced, the school bullies. Several years ago a bully would steal your lunch money, call you names, and make fun of your clothes or family. But today, with the increasing use of social media, cell phones and cameras, bullies can harass and expose weaker ones with unharnessed abandon and lack of consciousness. Countless young people have had their reputations smeared and irreparable damage done to their lives. There are news reports about students who resort to suicide because they have lost hope after verbal, physical, and cyber attacks.
What is the answer? What can we do to stop this madness?
The first thing we do, is speak openly and honestly to our children and grandchildren. Make it real and make it personal. Tell them your own stories, treat your experience as a part of your legacy. Second, we use unspoken communication to train and teach. We model right behavior. We don’t mock others or make fun of people. We tune out radio and television programs that tear others down. Third, we become proactive. Encourage students to report bullying and challenge them to take a stand for those who are being mistreated.
Finally, the golden rule is still relevant today. No matter what your background or religion, it still speaks to men, women, boys, and girls. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” In other words, treat others like you want to be treated.
A culture of honor begins in the heart and at home. Let’s step up, step out, and take a stand today.