Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AM~Erica on Bullying

So anyway...

I would like to say that there has been a much needed, and long overdue, focus on bullying. Sadly it has taken the act of 6 gay young men committing suicide due to being bullied for it. It's a horrible thing that should NEVER happen to anyone! EVER!

We all get bullied at least once throughout our lives. It isn't right, but it happens. It's even more prevalent due to the fact that I am now a parent & have witnessed it with my own kids.

My daughter had an incident when she was in 7th grade. A girl she was "friends" with was actually a controlling ringleader. I had already expressed my disapproval of this girl, but my daughter seemed to have it under control. Then the Halloween mixer was coming. As we went costume shopping, my husband & I had found a really cute pirate costume that was within budget as a possibility for her. When time came around, she was ridiculed for being in because the ring leader was apparently coming as a pirate & had instructed the group of her toadies that no one had better come as a pirate since she was - a costume that is in the top 3 costumes every year AND it wasn't even the same pirate costume. Well, my daughter stood up to the ring leader & wore her pirate costume where the ringleader tried to ruin my daughter's costume & they had an exchange of words. All the way through the winter break, she was receiving silent treatment, horrible names & pranks & anonymous emails saying horrible things to her. The ring leader was making her marionette army "do" these things to my daughter...ones she thought were "friends". One of the parents caught on to what their daughter was doing & made their daughter apologize to my daughter. It took a very long time to mend relationships with some of the friends & they were proud of my daughter for standing up...but it was an awful bullying ride. Being the parent not able to do more was heartbreaking.

Right now, my son tends to have some runs at being bullied. He is 13 & it isn't setting well as it is, but he is also a very smart kid that is slightly oblivious to the world around him sometimes. He recently got braces & now he takes a lunch to school everyday so we know he is eating SOMETHING. I was horrified to learn that he was being bullied one day during lunch: a group of kids kept taking his lunch bag. He did not eat lunch that day. He did tell me that the guilty party was disciplined, but that he was not given any extra time to eat. I am glad the faculty did not just stand by & allow the situation to carry on, but am disappointed that they did not allow my son to eat. There have been other instances with him, and I hate it.

Bullying has been an epidemic for so many years, and there is no sense in it. It is even so strong in elementary schools.

We need to let our children know that there is no reason to make someone feel low or bad about themselves if they are smarter than us, not as smart as us, less attractive than us, prettier than us, less fortunate as us, have a greater fortune than us, skinnier than us, heavier than us, shorter than us, taller than us, if they are gay, if they are straight...we are all individual & have been made that way for a reason. If we all had a box of green crayons, then the pictures we color would get really boring after a while. A box of crayons has so many different colors to pick from to make our pictures more beautiful by adding the options & contrasts in an eloquent mix. We are all different. We need to rejoice in the fact that we are not all made exactly the same. If there is someone that is very different than you, get to know them. Yes, there are times where chemistry isn't there, but that doesn't give us the right to judge.

The Golden Rule is exactly how we need to live. We were not put on the earth to judge. That is not our jobs. If you do not get along with a person, separate. Leave the other person alone & let them get along with other people. You shouldn't ridicule them just because you don't get along. There is a difference.

There is a book that came out 10 years ago called "The Wounded Spirit" by Frank Peretti:

Amazon.com Review:
"This is not fiction. This is real." So reads the cover of The Wounded Spirit, the first nonfiction title from bestselling novelist Frank Peretti. In a departure from his usual spiritual thrillers, he's penned his personal journey through pain, disfigurement, and abuse, offering hope for those struggling with emotional wounds.

Peretti vividly chronicles how he became the object of negative attention in a gym class, after a horrific medical condition that he grappled with as a child caused his growth to slow. Winding throughout his personal story is a thoughtful look at how culture shapes our perception of the worth of individuals--and how events from Columbine to the movies reflect this.

Although Peretti has experienced healing, the depth of his wounds are still apparent, poignantly saturating each page. Yet he writes, "A wounded spirit need not be permanent. Throw off those chains of bitterness and resentment that have been constraining you for so long, and get on with your life." He also admits the damage he himself has inflicted, and apologizes, noting "it amazes me how a victim, who knows how it feels, can still be insensitive to the feelings of others."

Despite our wounds, Peretti reminds us, "We all have our difficult seasons--they do have a way of finding their place in the overall scheme of our lives, welcome or not." Adults and older children wrestling with painful emotional wounds will find solace and healing here, through the eyes of one who understands suffering. --Cindy Crosby

From Publishers Weekly
The man who has thrilled Christian readers with novels such as This Present Darkness and The Visitation here describes the childhood trauma that first introduced him to the dark side. Peretti was born with cystic hygroma, which at birth manifested itself as a small lump on his neck. In two months, the lump was baseball-size, and Peretti was enduring the first of seven early surgeries. During childhood, his tongue was so swollen that it lolled out of his mouth, preventing normal speech development. Classmates were repulsed by his tongue and by the bloody trickle constantly dribbling from his mouth. They tormented him about his grotesque appearance, small size and inability to form words normally. Peretti's response was to retreat to his room, where he wrote stories and played with monsters like toy Frankensteins and hunchbacks, who he felt were also misunderstood and abused. Peretti writes here that he survived this difficult period because of the unwavering love and acceptance of his family, and because he had deep faith in the equality of all people in Christ. He expresses grave concern about other "wounded spirits," particularly young people who may eventually snap after withstanding years of bullying by their peers. The book is full of painful stories, but also memorable moments of hope, as Peretti recounts instances when a peer or a teacher stood up for him. This remarkable memoir will inspire readers to undertake similar acts of courageous compassion. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

This book still rings through my mind as so many people are coming out about bullying. I have believed for 10 years that this book should be required reading in middle school &/or high school. REQUIRED READING!! He talks about the hurts & pains of being bullied for something he could not control. He talks about the horrific things that have happened & how he now views it as an adult.

I will step off of my soapbox for now, but I am an advocate of "NOH8". I believe it should be more widespread than just the bullying of the gay community, but to anyone who has ever had anything physical, mental, personality, or just a moment that is different or embarrassing.

Thank you & stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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