I couldn’t count the times that I had to hide my tears and be strong so no one knew how bad I was hurting. Or the times where I did everything I could to “try and fit in”. Growing up I was a full blown fibber. I found it to be an essential tool to help me fit in. I can even remember some of the stories I’d tell my “friends” and I felt so cool that they would actually listen to me. This of course wasn’t real friendship.
After being held back when I was in first grade I was exposed to what it felt like to be bullied. I always felt out of place or like I didn’t belong. Like there was a secret to surviving our school years but no one had told me. With goofy glasses and crazy hair, I felt like I would never make friends. When I started playing sports I thought things would get easier…oh boy was I wrong. As an emotional outsider, I was an easy target. I vividly remember being the girl everyone would poke fun at. The girls would giggle and whisper secrets and the boys would walk by making comments as if I couldn’t hear them. I heard it all and even worse…I still can. So this is to you, all my bully’s. Those who made me feel like an ant you stepped on. I know a lot of people will argue that bullying is a part of life and we shouldn’t raise pansies that can’t get handle it. But what if we raise children that were kind and love their neighbor?What if we stopped trying to tell our kids everything is okay and instead asked them what’s wrong? What if instead of telling them to stop tattle telling, we held children accountable for their actions? Parenting methods and guidance is what will deter bullying. No, we won’t wipe bullying from existence. However, we can educate our children on how to communicate with purpose. Have you ever heard the phrase, “it takes a village”? Whether you are a grandparent, mother, Coach, sibling, or stranger you can make a difference.
I clearly remember the day that I was shopping at Gordmans and a young girl bumped into me. After running into me she just continued to walk on her way. I looked at her and said “excuse me”. She then made eye contact with me and said I’m sorry, excuse me. That’s all it takes. Rather than ignoring the situation I chose to hold that young girl accountable for her actions. We are brothers and sisters. It is our responsibility to guide the younger generations. Are you doing your part?