Unite Against Bullying
We have become a country of “Awareness.” Certain months are dedicated “Awareness Months.” October is no exception. Along with (in alphabetical order) Aids, Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence, Down Syndrome, Lupus and Vegetarian Awareness, it is also Bullying Prevention Month. Since October 9th is Unity Day, let’s Unite Against Bullying.
I don’t want to minimized the other Awareness groups – well, maybe except the Veggie awareness folks. But I want to give focus to Bullying Prevention, mainly because most of the victims of bullying are kids who don’t know how to cope or defend themselves. And because frankly, the bullies are kids, too; they’re vilified and half of them have no idea what they’re doing until it’s too late. (Let’s remember, human’s brains aren’t fully cooked until we’re well over 21 years of age!)
Bullying has reached epidemic proportions. If you don’t know that, you’ve been living under a rock. Complaining about it or ignoring it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
While I’m strongly recommending it’s time for everyone to take a stand and intervene, as a Christian, I’m calling on everyone reading this who is also Christian to take this as a particular challenge – yes, you – don’t walk away from this.
We all need to take a stand in three ways – and one of the ways I’m going to suggest is probably not going to be very popular (see #1b).
We tend to focus on the victims. We tend to ask our kids to invite victims to in, to include them. I agree. We need to do that so victims are not isolated. But we also need to begin to focus on the bullies.
#1a – If you’re a parent, talk to your kids. Convince them to be courageous. Ask them to stand up to a bully. Ask them to use their voices. Ask them to yell, “STOP!” Good and loud. More than once. Because if they yell, someone else will yell, too.
#1b – Additionally, get serious about letting your kids know that you expect them to never, ever tease or make fun of anyone for any reason. Let your kids know it’s not okay – ever – to call anyone names. Make sure your kids know that names DO hurt. Let them know you expect them to treat every single person with respect – period. And let your kids know there will be consequences if they tease, make fun, or call someone names. Serious consequences. And follow through. Because kids in emotional pain are killing themselves. Then be a role model. Don’t tease your kids. Don’t call them names. Don’t call other people names. Not your neighbors. Not your relatives. Not the President. Not people of other religions. Treat them with respect. All of them. All the time.
That’s right. And back to you Christians:
Are you a Christian or aren’t you? Are you different, or are you of this world? Do you follow Jesus, or do you follow those that don’t know him? If you call yourself a Christian, then belly up to the biblical bar and stop being lukewarm. Get off the fence. Be unashamed and speak out. Start loving your neighbor out loud.
#2 – If you’re a teacher, read #1a and 1b and put the word “teacher” in place of the word “parent.” Get a grip. Step up to the plate. Don’t make excuses. And if you know one of your kids is a bully, lovingly get that kid into counseling. Don’t blame, don’t shame; get the child help. Now.
#3 – So you’re not a parent, and you don’t have a kid. Have you noticed someone at work or in one of your college classes being bullied? Yeah, now it’s your turn. Get in there and do something! Don’t just walk away. Don’t tell yourself that just because you’re not contributing means you’re not part of the problem. That’s simply a lie you tell yourself so you don’t have to get involved. Straight up. If you’re not part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem. If you are not stepping in and making it your business to insert yourself into the situation then you are definitely a part of the problem. So get yourself involved and become a real part of the solution.
- October Is National Bullying Prevention Month: PACER And Green Giant Partner To End Bullying (anempoweredspirit.com)