When is it OK to Bully? NEVER.

This is NOT a political post.  It is not about who won the presidential election. It is not about political parties or which side is right or which side is wrong. This is a post that is in some regards about survival and sadly, about life and death for some. BULLYING. 

While this is NOT a political post, I was deeply saddened at the racist, pro-trump graffiti that showed up in a school’s bathroom in Maple Grove this week. It was yet another reminder that racism and bullying is alive and well regardless of where we live and I grieve for anyone that is subjected to it or is a victim of these inexcusable acts.

Bullying is a CHOICE. Period. It is NEVER ok to hate, spread evil or bully and there is NEVER a time when it is justified. Yet, we find ourselves living in a world that is subjected to bullying in every corner of the globe.  It is like a poison that is seeping into our country, our cities, our towns and our schools. It is in our own backyards and it cannot be ignored.

It is NOT ok to bully for any reason yet people are picked on for every reason imaginable. Kids are bullied because of the color of their skin. Kids are bullied because they are poor. Kids are picked on because they are too tall, too short, too skinny, too big or too small. Kids are bullied because they wear glasses, have acne, look “different” or don’t wear the “right” kind of clothes. Kids are picked on because they are too smart or not smart enough or have interests that don’t fit in with what society tells us is acceptable or “in”. Bullying targets race, culture, economic status, religious beliefs, age, gender and sexual preferences of ALL ages. Where does it end and god help any one of us that is a bit different or if we do not quite fit in a box that is labeled normal.  I must ask, what is the definition of normal and where did it come from?

I will say it again. To bully for any reason is a choice that people make and it is a choice that people of all ages can choose not to do.  So what can we do to help fight the war against bullying? I don’t have all of the answers but I believe that together we can fight hard against what has become an epidemic and battle that is burning out of control.

  1. While there is no way to control what others do, I believe that each and every one of us can make a difference and stand up against bullying. We need to be accountable and we as adults need to teach our children at every age that bullying is unacceptable and NOT ok.
  2. So much of what kids learn and what kids do begins at home. We need to pay attention, listen and be aware of what our kids are doing and how our children treat others.
  3. We as adults need to watch what we say and how we act. How can we expect our children to be kind if we ourselves are judging or bullying others. Sometimes even the smallest thing can make another person feel bad. Perhaps it was unintentional but the result can be the same. Be aware.
  4. Parents, teachers, family and friends need to stand up against bullying. There needs to be a ZERO tolerance policy without exception.
  5. People of all ages need to be courageous enough and strong enough as individuals to be “that one person” whom is not afraid to step in or to say something if they observe any type of bullying. I know this can be difficult to do and especially for kids, but it is so important. We need to be brave and to be the voice for the victims that are too vulnerable or tired to fight back.
  6. It is imperative that we teach our children to be kind, compassionate, accepting human beings. PERIOD.

Bullying is an epidemic that we all need to worry about and pay attention to. It is something we can no longer tolerate or accept under any circumstances. What if it was your son or daughter that was getting picked on? What if your child, your brother, your sister, your cousin, your best friend or co-worker died because of it? Yes, people are dying because of bullying. People are choosing to take their own lives because they sink so low, feel so bad, are so afraid and are so desperate to make the pain stop that they believe the only way to make it stop is to no longer live. I don’t know about you, but that makes me incredibly sad and mad. Hate breeds hate and where does the vicious cycle of insanity end?

I recognize that like so many issues in this world, there are no easy answers and it pains me to recognize that there is no way to completely end the bullying that happens in this world but we have to start somewhere and the only way to fight back is to do just that…start somewhere. So, make a commitment to yourself, to your kids, to your community and to this planet to start somewhere…..

  • Listen to your kids and spend time with them. They may have something important to say.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and what is going on at home and around you.
  • Be aware of your own actions and remember that children learn from older kids and the adults they spend time with.
  • Teach your children to love, to be compassionate, to respect others and to be kind.
  • Accept others for who they are and stop judging. It is impossible to know or understand what another is going through without first walking in their shoes.
  • Forgive. An inability to forgive fuels hate and anger standing in the way of peace and living our best lives.
  • Practice compassion. Life is hard and we ALL need to have empathy for others offering to help when we can.
  • Stop blaming and take responsibility for your own actions. Blame and making excuses is a one way street leading nowhere.
  • Be brave and have a voice. You are strong and CAN make a difference. Zero tolerance.
  • Love others. Love others. Love others.
  • Be KIND. It costs nothing and can change or save someone’s life.

It breaks my heart to know that as I write this someone is, at this very moment, the target of a bully. Please, join the fight and believe that we as individuals, and in unity, CAN do something about it. Remember, without love, hope, compassion and kindness we have nothing. I’m not ready to surrender to the hate in this world. How about you?

In peace and with love-

Michele

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