School is back in session. Along with the fears attached to the commonplace incidents of violence in these halls of learning, our children are facing another kind of hate – the bully. Children need to be prepared to defend themselves against the ugly words of others – the demeaning humiliation that accompanies those words – and the feelings of uselessness which sometimes lead to suicide. More often than not, there is no defense.
Cyber bullying puts hateful words right out there for the entire world to see. Today, unless children are confident with who they are, are being tested on a daily basis. Some kids can let bullying slide off their backs, but those words have become engrained in that child’s mind and heart.
Workplace bullying is a continuation of that learning – only now it’s being done by “grown ups.” Once as my husband prepared for an after school art class in his designated, space a group of teachers came in and began posting “anti-bullying” signs. One by one, the women called my husband out for being in “their” space. It was ironic that they were doing the same kind of bullying they were trying to prevent. Another example can be gossiping about another employee or trashing their abilities.
Many say that the bully is just reaching out for attention. I believe that’s true, but children also need to be taught to be good or bad. They don’t come out of the womb knowing the difference. Their thinking is based on what they see within the confines of their home. It changes when they begin to socialize and see what others do. Becoming a bully is a process learned in the environment, through socialization and is the result of those who teach them. They learn by example.
Before they reach school age, they should be prepared to deal with this situation. They should be taught that every human being is unique and that each one of them has value. They also need to learn that they have your support along with God’s intervention in every situation – even the ones that break them. They should respect others even when they are being disrespectful.
One of the hardest concepts we learn as a Christians, is that we don’t fight back when others try to hurt or defame us. God tells us to let Him be in charge of dealing out vengeance. He also says we should love our enemies and do good to them that hate us. Our natural response to someone who is bullying is to fight back – to defend ourselves – to do something equally mean in return.
In the few short years, prior to entering school, parents can determine how their children handle bullying. During that time, a child’s future is being determined. What they’re taught, will be challenged when they get outside your home. They need the armor of God, when they’re under our protection and as they enter the world of bullies.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Matthew 5:11
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29