I don't often post about current events, but something has been weighing heavily on my mind the last few days. Bullying has been all over the news lately. There's the college student that jumped off the George Washington Bridge, the high school in Mentor where 4 students have killed themselves over the course of a little over 2 years, and a little closer to home a mother was bullied through her blog moments after she has posted that her son had died due to a congenital heart defect.
Bullying is everywhere. It happens online, in the hallways of our high schools, locker rooms, college campuses, elementary school playgrounds and everywhere in between. There are no words to explain how disgusted it makes me to see this happening everywhere. Kids are bullied because they're smaller, not as smart, gay, black, latino or "different" in any way. It's gross. All of this media coverage has me thinking about the bullies as well as their victims.
How is a bully made? Are they just mean? Is it some sort of cry for attention? Does the relative anonymity of a YouTube post or a comment on a blog make people feel safe?
Chances are, adult bullies were child bullies. (I have no proof of that, it's just a thought.) So, why weren't they stopped? Why AREN'T they stopped now? Where are the parents? Why are they not disciplining their children? I hear over and over again "The school didn't do anything." Why is it the school's responsibility? Why isn't it the parents job? If I found out that either of my girls were bullying other children, you can bet there would be consequences at home. I would work with the school to make sure the behavior was stopped immediately. Shouldn't others do the same?
With all of the technology out there, internet bullying is almost seen as a victimless crime. You can post nasty comments to a grieving mother under "anonymous" and you never have to see the reaction. It's just as easy to harass classmates on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. You never see the reaction. You aren't there when that person, who is already hurting, reads that comment.
I've walked high school hallways and I've seen bullying. I've seen a group of students tease another student and laugh. When did it become funny to hurt others? When did we lose our empathy, our ability to care about others?
I wish I had the answer. I wish I could grab all of those people that are hurting others and scream at them. Or smack them. Or anything to get their attention. But I can't. I can write this blog and hope that maybe it touches someone. I can pray for the bullies as well as their victims. I can make sure that my children aren't bullies. I can make sure that they feel comfortable talking to me so if they're ever bullies they will tell me. If they are ever bullied, I can make sure that I stand up for them. I can offer words of encouragement to those that are being bullied in the hopes that my kind words will be the ones that reach them.
I hope that others will do the same.