Archive for May, 2010

Bullies suck

May 19, 2010

My parents visited the principal at my elementary school only one time. I was mortified and panicked on the eve of this meeting. And I hadn’t even done anything wrong. I suppose if I had been in their shoes and found my daughter choking back tears behind a desk in the living room, I would have been moved to do something similar. They were going to intervene on my behalf when a bully had me itching to change schools. The interesting thing was that the bully wasn’t even a student. It was a teacher.

The fact that they were going to this meeting together meant that they both were skipping work. Typically one or the other would handle school-related activities, but a united front meant business. I don’t think I could have stopped them. I’ll always remember being so worked up that they were going to the principal on my behalf, but I’ll always remember the way it made me feel loved because they did.

The bullying pretty much ceased after that meeting. The details aren’t important. Who hasn’t faced a bully at some point in their life? But what is important is that they knew it had to be stopped. And thankfully it was.

You read a lot about bullies these days, and they rarely resemble the big schoolyard bully that TV and movies regularly paint them to be. They’re classmates. In some cases, they’re friends. They’re bosses and co-workers. And they can be teachers, as in my case.

I know I was probably the bully in someone’s life at some point. If so, I am profoundly sorry. I don’t know what it is about treating people badly that can feel good, but I know how bad it can hurt a person’s self-esteem when the shoe is on the other foot.

Some may say that school-age bullying is a rite of passage. We must go through it so our character is shaped for the better. I say that’s a bunch of B.S.

As a mom of a one year old, I hope (and pray) I am doing the right things to set my daughter on a path to kindness. I am sure most parents feel this way. But if so, why do we still have bullies? At what point do our innocent wide-eyed babies become a “mean girl” or a “bad boy?” How do we stop that trend in its tracks?

I suspect, as with many things, it starts with the behavior we model in their presence. And believe me–I know I’m far from angelic. Perhaps one of the many reasons we are blessed with children is so that we have an ever present reminder that someone is always watching what we’re doing. This begs the question then: do we like what they’re seeing?