Apparently I let a month slip by in writing my blog. I have no excuse.
I do find it ironic, however, that of all the topics I have brainstormed up to blog about, I am choosing a topic that I am writing an entire series on for work. I typically write about social programs, issues, etc. and this one hits home a little bit.
Growing up, I was always shorter and smaller than everyone else. I never understood why, and always hated the fact that I wasn’t “normal”. To make matters worse, I was never a popular kid and combining my introverted personality just added to the pile. Then let’s take the fact that I was homeschooled. I was one of the more intelligent kids. I have always been really pale. My hair is incredibly frizzy. If anyone was going to be picked on, it was me.
One of the most devastating memories for me was being called a midget in elementary during lunch, and being told that I wasn’t allowed to hang out with a certain group of girls. I spent a lot of lunch recesses sitting against the walls of the gym outside. By myself. I remember each incident. I remember where I was. I remember the names of the people who picked on me. At the time, it was the most awful part of my life. I would cry during recess. I would cry when I got home.
I got my share of bullying. I learned to take it. I learned to brush it off. It’s probably why I am very sarcastic and comfortable making fun of myself. I learned to adapt. Does it bother me that I was picked on? Yes, because to this day I don’t understand it. I don’t see what I did wrong. The memory will be forever with me.
I watched the documentary “Bully” last night. I highly recommend that everyone watch it. What surprises me even more is the CDC statistic that over 95% of people report being picked on in school. Wow. Maybe I’m not alone.
What should really bother you though, is the fact that some of this picking and bullying is getting so intense that young people are taking their lives. Parents are reporting that kids are ganging up on a particular kid, sending 10s of 100s of text messages at a time, calling to say horrific things, encouraging a kid to end his life, punching them, hitting them, verbally abusing them, and then wearing nooses around their necks the day after the kid disappears from school forever.
I’m as guilty as anyone else as playing the part of the bully. I’ve picked on kids. I’ve made my brothers cry. But these kids have no concept for the value of life. It’s almost like a game. And unfortunately, no one is immune. But to me, this isn’t a kid problem. This is a parent problem.
Parents haven’t taken their responsibility seriously. They haven’t taught their kids. Well, I’ll change that statement. What they have taught their kids is to bully. They’ve taught them that it’s ok to hate. We’ve breed a culture of hate, and parents are to blame.
Parents, step up and teach your children. They’re watching what you do. They’re watching you bully other parents. They’re watching you bully co-workers. They’re learning from you.