Looking back on the many talks I have given to kids on “Bully Prevention”, I realize the information given is just a sliver of the big picture. Here are some new and further evolved thoughts on the ever existent subject of bullying.
Treat people like they are humans. Adults, lead by example.
First and foremost, we all need to adopt more of a mindset of respect and love. We are all humans. Gentle, loving, gifted, fragile, caring humans. We are all in this together. We are all on the same team.
Parents and adults, it starts with us. We must lead by example. Our kids are watching us and learn how to be a Human Being from our actions. On a minute to minute basis, be kind and compassionate to those who you interact with. Remember that “they too are fighting a hard battle.”
Kids want to be cool
For kids, life is all about being cool, making friends and feeling like you belong. Well kids, I encourage you to think hard about what it really is to be “cool”. Are you scoring cool points and making friends by putting someone down? By gossiping about someone? I wouldn’t want to be friends with you if that’s how you treat people? That’s not cool.
My friend Jonathan
I had a best friend in elementary and middle school named Jonathan. Jonathan and I started to grow apart as we grew older and went to high school. Everyone loved Jonathan. He was friends with the computer kids, he was friends with the football kids, he was liked by the teachers and even the girls like him. I remember thinking, “Man, this guy and I were on the same level last year in middle school and now his life and popularity is taking off as I am struggling to even build one good relationship. Why is he so cool!?”
Looking back, it is because of how people felt while they were around Jonathan. Jonathan wouldn’t gossip, he wasn’t exclusive, he didn’t make you feel bad about yourself. He loved people and treated them like they are humans. And people loved him back. Jonathan was the realcool by treating people as humans should.
Sticking up for others
You aren’t being the bully. You are not being bullied. Life is great, right? Wrong. We are on Team Human and if our teammates are being hurt we are being hurt.
If you witness bullying, you need to take a stand and speak up. BOTH of the Humans need your help. Obviously you will be helping the victim of the attacks by giving them strength in numbers and confidence to stop the attacks, but there is also a chance to have a greater impact. By speaking up to the bully and helping them learn their actions are not cool and they are not making friends this way, 2 results can come about.
- The bully rectifies their behavior and you have prevented God knows how many future attacks and victims from being hurt.
- The bully’s life does not escalate down the wrong path, leading them to drugs, gangs and a bigger picture trouble. You have just changed the course of this person’s next 70 years of life.
Speaking up to an adult
If you witness bullying, not only should we speak up to the bully, but we must get adults involved.
Kids are often concerned about being a taddle tale or if I speak up then I will be made fun of. The unfortunate news is that it is WAY too common that people take their own lives from the effects of bullying. So really? You are going to use the lame excuse of “i don’t want to be a taddle or I don’t want to be made fun of” when you could be saving someone’s life.
YOU could be a HERO in someone’s life. Don’t let any thought stop you from doing the right things and speaking up to an adult about what is going on.
There is power in numbers and when you step up and speak up, that is going to send a ripple effect into multiple people’s lives. Other people will take note and follow your leadership in doing the right thing. You could have a WAY bigger impact on the world than you ever imagined.
It is not personal, you are perfect and complete.
I believe that bullying happens to most every person. And when you think about it like that, it helps decrease the negative feelings you get if you are bullied because you can see it really isn’t about you. There is nothing wrong with you. You are an absolutely, 100% perfect and complete human being.
Bullying sucks. It is not right. But to sit here and try to tell you that it will go away just like one day there will be world peace I think is unrealistic. From the time Cain killed Abel, there are bad and mean people in this world.
But that does not have to mean that you are broken, stupid, ugly. It means that there are mean people out there. And their path will most likely cross with our path.
If we can learn to love our self, believe that we are whole and complete and worthy, then we can become resilient. And being resilient is the ultimate antidote to the effects of bullying.
Talk to someone about what is going on.
By knowing that it happens to many others and not just us, that should give us comfort to be able to speak with someone and let them know that you are being bullied. By talking with your parents or a friend or a mentor, they can show you just how awesome you are. And that the bullying has nothing to do with you.
If you are having thoughts of taking your life, think about all of your loved ones. The pain that you are feeling from being bullied will be felt 100x more for each and every person that you love. You do not want to hurt the people that you love so dearly, do you? Speak with someone. A trustful adviser in your life will help show you that your current issue in perspective to your whole life is a small thing.
Always remember that no matter how bad something is, it will pass. It will not always be that way.