thoughts on bullying.

I just watched the documentary Bully and while it's fresh in my mind I really wanted to share so of my thoughts on the subject. 

You guys, bullying scares the crap out of me. I literally get churning deep in my stomach, that knot in my throat and a feeling of panic when I think about the boys going to grade school. I want to shelter them from it all. I don't want them to see bullying, I don't want them to be bullies or be bullied. Unfortunately, that can't really happen. The most scary part is that I know how cruel kids can be to each other. 

I wouldn't say that I was consistently bullied, but there were a few incidents in grade school, middle school and high school that I won't ever forget. In middle school I was picked on by a few boys. In grade school I was bullied on the bus, by older boys threatening to spit on me, force me to sit in a seat with another boy my age, once even pulling out dirty magazines and making us look at them. (He got in trouble a lot by our bus driver, thankfully.)

In 6th grade I left Catholic school to join the public school (the Catholic school only went to 6th grade) and was picked on by a couple of boys in my class. I remember being punched in the leg during a class movie by one boy, pushed and shoved on the bus later that day by another. 

In junior high a boy asked me to a dance or to "go out with him" and a week later I found out it was all a joke between all the boys. I never had the designer clothes and cool stuff the popular kids did. I had curly hair I was desperately trying to make straight so I could look like the pretty girls. I was taller than mostly everyone until high school. I stayed in band even after it wasn't the cool thing to do anymore.

When I got to high school I joined everything I could, I was outgoing and involved. I played sports (and was pretty good at one) and I think it was this involvement and extroverted-ness that protected me. But what if I hadn't been. What if I was quiet; different? In small towns, if you're good at sports people like you. You could be a complete ass, make horrible choices and you'd still be in the cool crowd if you were good at sports. What if my story was different?

What I saw in the movie infuriates me. My mama bear comes out when I think of my kids being in any situation those kids were in. I saw teachers (one in Sioux City, IA where I lived until I was 6 and then just an hour from growing up) making the bullied kids out to be the bad kids, school districts and administrators acting helpless against change, parents not prying information out of their children although they knew something was wrong. 

Now I have boys of my own who I have to send out into the cruel world of kids.Why kids bully is such a complex issue, and all of these kids have a variety of problems and issues of their own.  I'll raise my babies as lovers, as kind hearted, gentle soul, empathetic kids. To tell an adult when they see someone being bullied. To do kind deeds for kids who seem like loners or who may get picked on. Oh I'll be ALL UP in their business. And until they're out of my house, it's my duty to protect them and to teach them how to act. I do however, find some solace in the fact that they are twins and they'll always have each other's backs. 

I'll always firmly believe everything goes back to the parents. You are who your children will be. To be honest, as adults we can all kind of be a-holes to each other (sometimes in just as immature ways as middle schoolers).  Until we start modeling the behavior we wish for our children to have, be who we want our kids to be, change will be hard to come by.

As difficult as this movie was to watch (I ugly cried a couple times) I think it's necessary for everyone to see. I rented it on Apple TV, but you can go to the Bully website to find out how you can see it. 

No comments :

Post a Comment