Bullying has become a major social cause in recent years. Seminars to help prevent it are held for teachers and school administrators. They, in turn, hold assemblies for students, striving to provide education that will help stem the rising tides of the behavior.
The problem is bullies aren’t just students and they aren’t always easy to spot. In a world where respect and caring seem to be fading, bullying can only be stopped if we are willing to wage a battle against it.
When I was a kid, it was easy to see who the bullies were. The phrase “playground bully” was really accurate – some of the bigger kids would pick on the smaller, the weaker while we were on recess. They were pretty one-dimensional characters, in a sense. They wanted something you had – lunch money, maybe some new supplies you brought to school. There were the bullies who were simply cruel, who loved to taunt the special ed students or the kids with thick glasses but, again, we knew who they were. We knew what they wanted.
Today’s bullies are much more complex, sometimes much more difficult to spot. As computer and internet reach has expanded, so too have the opportunities for bullies, many – maybe most – those who say and do things online they would never attempt in person. Online anonymity is like a mask, allowing people to hide from the consequences of their actions and statements. It’s so much easier to hurt if you don’t have to see the person you’re hurting.
And, bullies aren’t just kids either. They are parents, business men and women, athletes, just every people who express their opinions online, who speak to others in ways they’d never want to be treated themselves.
I don’t know a lot of Bible verses, and I’m not one to quote them, but there are a few. And, one is a verse my mom always taught me as a way to live my life, something I’ve tried to follow in good times and bad – Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Bullies either don’t know or don’t care about this verse. They don’t care about others, not really. It is all about them.
But, while it’s easy to see how cyber bullying has exploded in recent years, we have to open our minds and hearts to recognize how our actions, the way we treat each other overall has changed. I’m not trying to promote some politically correct message – to me, that has gone way overboard to the point of ridiculousness. That said, we have to do something, we must recognize that what we’re doing is not working.
And, that’s what I hope to do, in part, with this blog. Together, we can shine a light on bullying in all of its forms, and I hope we can begin a dialogue about how we can make a difference. At the very least, I can hopefully present some points that might make a difference to someone, somewhere.
And, that’s a good place to start.