I began to see it about a year ago. Shirts, books, bumper stickers... all propaganda for what would seem fitting in the context of children. The Anti Bully movement was under way. In the news and on YouTube it seemed the stories were endless on teen and pre-teen suicides. A movie was even made about the stories of kids and parents trying to go to the schools to end the bullying. And for the young men who don't choose to take their own lives to ease the pain of bullying, they take a fascination into guns, creating a much more violent approach by ending the lives of the people they see as enemies. .
It doesn't take long for a person with rational thought to see a pattern here. Bullying doesnt start and end in the schools. It happens long before kindergarten and long after your graduation day of high school. All you have to do is visit the magazine isle in the grocery store, turn on the tv and watch a presidential debate, or even pick a movie out of thousands. This isnt a new thing that sprouted a couple years ago, or a new trend that decided to become popular. This is a story as old as time itself, uncoiling and unravelling before us thanks to the Internet age and videos going viral.
As a hippie of modern time, not only do I see it fit to warn everyone of beginning any kind of war, even one that has the word 'anti' in it, but I see it as my duty to express my open minded opinion on this matter. I do live in america after all. Sorry.
My bullying has never stopped. I see it in every job I go into. There is always a bad apple who is followed by several lesser evil apples but all just as poisonous. They go by the name of Gossip and they work in silence at first until the right opportunity is presented for them to strike. The sophisticated bully is not as confrontational as the young immature bully. They whisper in the shadows and only show you their smiles as you walk in the door. They don't shout, curse, or trip you in the halls. They become your friend, they gain your trust, and when they decide you no longer are beneficial, they outcast you.
If anyone knows the truth, its this- the only thing worse than a child bully is an adult bully. And guess what, they are everywhere. Celebrities know them as the media, neighborhoods know them as gangs, the civilian knows them as dirty cops, and the politician knows them as, well... other politicians! The world has seen its share of abuse, and when words become too hurtful to bare, violence is born.
Everyone wants to find a place to blame for their problems and pain. Because it is children who are taking their lives and they see the cause of what other children do to them at school, everyone points the finger at the school. But the fact is that the job of the school is NOT to raise children, its to educate them. Parents are the responsible ones in charge of teaching their children morals, boundries, limitations, and structure. Without loving parents, there is no loving child. Truth in common sense is powerful right? And yet we still have everyone blaming video games, movies, and even society as the culprit of a bad behaved child. In order to have bully free kids we must first have bully free adults. Bam,
It begins with the Bob Marley phrase 'One Love'. It starts with remembering that everyone has a story, and they are just as important as you. Its reminding yourself that hurting someone else to make yourself feel better doesn't work. Adults now days are going crazy with their rants online now that we have twitter and Facebook ruling our daily existence. Mindless chatter on the inter-webs gives you a glance inside the human mind. People are bored, pissed off, aggravated, scared, stressed out, annoyed, and just down right emotional about almost 95% of the day. Its no wonder we have lasted as long as we have without killing ourselves off completely.
And guess what, our kids are on the sidelines watching us with open eyes and ears. They take everything in, memorize it, and repeat it out in the world. In some households they are even taught that its ok to lie, cheat, steal, and curse. Pick up a history book and point to a time when there wasn't bullying against anyone in one way or another. And children study history, it was my favourite class in high school!
Back in the 60's it was every white man against the blacks, now its the conservatives against the gays. We look at history and say "what were they thinking?" not realizing we repeat it everyday. The solutions to every problem we face in this world are solvable, we just have to open our eyes and ears to see it. Just as a child can repeat the mistakes of their parents, a society repeats the mistakes of its predecessors.
As we are faced now with the increasing rate of visible violence in these last 50 years or so, we have to take a deeper look at the cause. It is no longer ok to place the blame on other people, we must take responsibility for ourselves. While society as a whole does need to be looked at as flawed, you must first see that what makes up a society are individuals. A bully has no power without followers to support them.
I hope that one day Dr Martin Luther King will be seen as a man who not just led the civil rights movement for blacks to have equal rights, but as a man whose message was for everyone and should be remembered in every situation of injustice. Peace isn't just for the middle east my friends, its for everyone. Even though we live in this privileged country, we still have a lot of work to do. Let us begin with ourselves.