Saturday, April 3, 2010
BULLYING: NO KINDNESS IN SIGHT
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
~ George Washington Carver
In the headlines/news lately there seems to be a new wave of kids committing suicide as an answer to the bullying treatment they have been enduring. Suicide is so shocking and devastating to those left behind. Families sometimes never truly recover from the loss of a loved one through this frantic solution. What is even more shocking is that sometimes after the death of a young person, peers are texting each other with congratulatory "Job well done" messages. How sick are some people?
Growing up as a child with "issues at home" I was an easy target for the mean, hateful talk delivered by the popular girls. Fortunately, this was before cell phones, texting, email and all the other quick communication devices. It was bad enough to endure the looks, sneers, giggles behind hands and the occasional passed note in class.
What did I do to deserve the wrath of the bullies, you might wonder? Well, I didn't have the latest clothes; my last name was different from my mom's; and my mom cleaned their families homes. So, essentially, there was nothing I could change in order to not be a target. I did find that as long as I had a few close friends and I didn't allow the taunts to register on my face, the girls would eventually ignore me. Not existing in their sphere of popular girls was much better than ever being in their vicious spotlight.
Graduating from high school and going away to college was the solution for the small town, inbred, hoity-toity girls who tried to make my life miserable. Amazingly, some of those mean, popular girls are now on their second marriages. Wonder how they felt when their children were teased because the last names in the family didn't match? Of course, in this day and time, last names not matching in the family is almost expected.
So, when I read of a child who has been bullied to death and then comments that say to fight back or this is a nation of wussiness I realize that our society truly hasn't come very far, after all. There will always be the weaker (by society's standards) but that doesn't give anyone the right to pick, pick, pick until the bully feels superior.
Kindness is the only way that we can change this mindset from destructive into constructive. How difficult is it to teach children to be kind? Maybe we should start with commentors on The Victoria Advocate who pick, attack, retreat, repeat, etc.