This is a difficult topic to write about. How can I do justice to a subject as important as this one? I’m not an expert, I have no special advice. I don’t even have deep experience with bullying, although I do have some.
I was the nerdy bookworm in school, not cool at all. I had only a few friends and little self-confidence until a series of incredibly lucky events helped me find my voice in high school. Until then, I was occasionally teased when I wasn’t being ignored. Ignored was better. My heart has broken as I’ve seen my children receive the same treatment at times, including a couple of prolonged incidents which required school intervention. I’m grateful many schools are now actively trying to be part of the solution. I know friends and family members who carry lifelong scars – there is much yet to be done.
I recently watched a screening of Bully at my workplace. A difficult movie to watch, it follows the stories of five children’s experiences with bullying. My heart broke for them as it has for my own children. The hope from the film is that the message is getting out that children taunting children isn’t just kids being kids. It’s abuse. And we can make a difference. Kids are vulnerable and need our protection. They don’t yet know that they are better than those who bully them; they don’t have the confidence to stand up for themselves.
We must find a way to protect these fragile, innocent people, and we can make an impact if we all do our part. Get close to the children in your circle, and give them a trusted ear to turn to if they need help. Pry, and really listen. Join The Bully Project and become informed. Be a supporter of the defenseless. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children. They are depending on us.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” –Harvey Fierstein