“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Matthew 7:12
Scut Farkus used to be the image that would come to mind when I heard the term, bully. You know, the redheaded, coonskin-cap wearing bully from The Christmas Story. I used to hear the word bully and immediately chuckle with the image of Ralphie, Flick and Schwartz leaving little Randy behind as they ran from Farkus and his toady. Sadly, recent events have brought new images of bullying to mind. In the past few months, I have experienced bullying from many different angles. Honestly, at first I was quite baffled that we have such an up and rising problem with bullying in the small community where I live and surrounding areas. I have heard about elementary girls being cornered, best friends of over ten years turned public enemies and even my own child has come to me in tears after being grabbed and called names.
We all know that bullying isn’t a new issue. I think about the physical and emotional bullying that Jesus endured during his last hours on Earth.
“The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to him.” – Luke 22:63-65
We could even go as far back to Cain and Abel.
“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” – Genesis 4:2-8
To me, this passage summarizes the source of bullying; feeling rejected, inferior, under par or longing to be accepted. Sometimes when folks feel so terrible about themselves or their life in general, the outlet becomes bullying. I truly believe by making others feel bad, they make themselves feel better in a small, misunderstood way.
Sadly, not long ago, it was brought to my attention that one of my own children was being a bully. Of course I was crushed that my child would behave this way. In our home, we truly do enforce treating others nicely and showing God’s love. My children know that bullying is not acceptable and so we had no choice but to show tough love and discipline him. With an offense this serious, numerous punishments were given. However, the first and foremost was that humbling and humiliating experience of calling the child who was bullied and apologizing to him and his parents. Admitting you are wrong and asking for forgiveness is tough for anyone to do and I think exceptionally so for a small child who is still trying to understand the meaning. Upon further investigation, we discovered the bullying was occurring because another child was behaving the same way and ultimately, it was a matter of picking sides. I am sure this also is a frequent circumstance; join the bully or choose to be bullied.
We all know the problem exists. We may even understand why it occurs. My question is, how can we stop it? I am sure we all have our own opinions and I am positive there are experts out there who promise to have the answers. My opinion; it begins at home. Parents, step it up and know what your child is doing. Talk to others often about how they behave when you aren’t around. It isn’t fun to hear bad things about your children, trust me, this I know, but it is better to know if something is going on and nip it in the bud! Lead by example and show God’s love. Correct bully-like behaviors in your child and don’t ignore the problem. We have all heard on the news too many times when a victim of bullying can handle no more and takes drastic measures to end the problem themselves; sadly, usually by taking their own life. The expression ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is ever so true since we all cannot be with our kids all the time. There are several sites listed below with loads of info to help with bullying no matter what side of the tracks you are on, check it out and share if you know someone who could use the help.
I want to hear from you!
Have you, your child or someone you know suffered from bullying or been the bully? If you feel your testimony may help others, please share it in the comments below. Please do not be specific with names and locations. Thank you!
**This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **