Bullying is big news these days. Schools hold assemblies, teaching children to be “bucket fillers.” There are zero tolerance bullying policies. Kids are being disciplined, suspended and, in come cases, criminally prosecuted for actions being deemed as “bullying.” Some days it seems fully half my Facebook feed is pictures and memes demanding an end to bullying.
I get it. My best friend in school was bullied so badly that now, 20 years after graduation, she still gets emotional talking about it. I don’t blame her in the least. It wasn’t just the children. There were times when teachers not only turned a blind eye but egged the situation on.
Bullying has pushed children to drop out of school and harm themselves through self destructive and suicidal behavior.
It is vitally important that we don’t dismiss it as “normal childhood behavior.”
Any self-respecting Hippie knows that the path to our continued survival and growth as a species is through loving one another.
There is no room for bullying in a loving environment. Not among family members or classmates or co-workers or anywhere else.
Have we gotten a little ridiculous about the whole thing?
Where do you draw the line between kids making inappropriately blunt or hurtful remarks because they are children and don’t always know better or think before they speak, and bullying?
I know several people who were kind-of bossy, take-charge people. I need these people in my life. Some times I need a swift kick in the pants to get me moving in the right direction and I count on my outspoken and honest friends to provide that when those moments come. Would they, as children in today’s world, be labeled as bullies and have that valuable personality trait crushed out of them by “zero tolerance” policies?
And isn’t there something to be said for growing a thick skin? I understand that one person’s “swift kick in the pants” can be another person’s crushing blow and no one likes to see their loved ones hurt but don’t we need to teach our children to deal appropriately with the criticism and even the cruelty of others? After all, they will deal with it their whole lives. It happens when we are pulled over by police officers on a power trip, badgered by bosses who are threatened by us, and picked on by neighbors with superiority complexes. If they don’t learn how to cope with those people on the schoolyard, how will the deal with them in the boardroom?
That doesn’t even get into the issue of conflict resolution. Some children (some humans) are very strong willed. Some are more flexible. Some are very self confident. Some need the affirmations of other like they need food and water. We all need to know how to deal with each other – and that includes the tenderhearted knowing how to deal with those of aggressive spirits.
And, in a “zero tolerance” environment, who decides which incidents count as bullying? If a member of the Glee Club get’s a slushy in the face, that clearly qualifies. But what about when one little girl looks at another and says, “I don’t like your shoes.” Bullying or just tactless?
But then we’ve come full circle. Those with aggressive spirits need to learn very early on that their actions can be painful to others and they need to learn to act and speak from a place of strong loving kindness.
So… what do you think?
Do you support “zero tolerance” anti-bullying policies or are you more in favor of kids learning to stand their own ground?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!