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Saturday, 19 November 2011

No Room Left for Bullying

Mother Teresa: "I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there".  (Thanks, Janice, for this quote.)

Recently there has been a lot in the news and on line about bullying.  I have remained silent.  There is so much anger and aggression aimed at children.  I am not talking about the bullying victims.  I am talking about the adults responding to these incidents.  Somehow people seem to think that if we call someone a bully, we have turned them into a monster worthy of our anger and hate.  I cannot forget that bullies are children, too.  It wasn't until a friend posted the above quotation that I realized why I have been so hesitant to join in the fray.  I cannot support an anti-bullying policy.  I will whole-heartedly support a policy which eliminates bullying through all inclusion.

Bullying is omnipresent, as many have noted.  It exists at home, in schools, at work.  Bullying is used because it works.  It gives the bully two things every child craves - attention and power.   The goal of any environment should be to give these to all children without them having to resort to other means.  In a school which celebrates differences, there is no one left out - no one to be a potential victim - no one feeling the need to lower others in order to feel valued.  

Before we go any further, let me make one thing clear.  I am completely opposed to anti-discrimination policies which want to emphasize how we are all the same.  That quickly turns us into the automatons of "A Brave New World".  BEING EQUAL DOES NOT MEAN BEING THE SAME!  Sorry for the yelling but I am so tired of hearing people espousing how similar we are.  That completely defeats the point.  We need to glorify in our differences, our uniqueness.  Policies which celebrate other races but neglect to say that "caucasian" is also a race are still separating.  I, too, as a WASP would like to share my cultural dances and foods.  If I don't, them I am once again the "dominant race".   We need to be treated equally.  Sorry for that digression but I need to say it as many times as I can!

Our whole economic society is based on competition.  One of the first questions that a business is asked is "Who is your competition?"  We raise our children to be the best.  That is fine as long as they are compared only to themselves.  Otherwise they are being judged with respect to others.  That is the foundation of "not belonging".  We live in a society which considers, particularly for young people, belonging to be the latest craze or fad.  "Coolness" or "hot", depending on your generation, is determined by tv shows, celebrities, ads, essentially marketing firms trying to have the next big craze.  Shoes, jewelry, haircuts, clothes, games, language, and a million more etcs.  These make you "in".  Without them you are "out" and the "outs" are the breeding ground for both bullies and the bullied.  Why do we let marketers have such a profound effect on our children?  Why can't we teach them to be critical thinkers?