Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bullying... it's out there.

Bullying. I think bullying is getting WAAAAAY too much press right now. I think it is SO important to put a stop to real, actual bullying. I grew up with someone who was badly bullied, to the point where he could've been badly injured. To the point where the cops intervened when the school didn't. It is VITAL that kids who bully like that are stopped. This was every day over a period of time, with escalating violence. I don't feel it is my place to reveal this person's identity on the web. We've never discussed how they feel now about what took place, so their identity shall remain a secret. Anyway, that is what I see as bullying. Prolonged, escalating mistreatment of another human being for any or no reason.

If two kids scuffle on the playground, that is not bullying. That is part of growing up. It is how kids learn about conflict and resolution. It is getting to the point where schools are intervening before kids have any time to work things out themselves, and that worries me. Just like I worry about how winners AND losers at children's sports now get trophies. Let's reward mediocrity. Why rise above it when you've been told it is perfectly ok to fail? I don't want Gage to have some insane expectations, where he has a minimal chance of success. And I ALWAYS want him to know we're proud as long as he tries his best. But if we don't push him just a little, to try a little harder, to shine just a bit brighter, how will he ever learn to succeed? Isn't it possible to encourage kids to do better even while letting them know we love them if they fall short? Do we have to just accept that they WILL fall short and praise them for giving up? I hope not.

Maybe all of this makes me come off like a bad parent... but it's just that I want Gage to know the joy of winning, of accomplishing a goal, of pushing himself and succeeding. I want him to believe in himself and know that with God, he can achieve whatever he sets his mind to. How can I teach him those things if I teach him failure is expected and totally acceptable, and giving up is no big deal.

Maybe this is what's wrong with the world these days... but by the same token, if someone ever were to bully/hurt/humiliate my son, I can say what I would do. I can say I would take whatever action necessary to ensure that the bullying were stopped. Maybe we could all do better to think about how we interact with our fellow man. A little more love and kindness never hurt anyone.

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