Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

I grew up with that mantra.
It is true, to an extent.

*disclaimer: I am about to rant on a touchy, touchy subject; Bullying. This may get long so stick with me. This is raw, this is real. I believe TRUE bullying, as in someone making a persons life so miserable that they chose to take their own life or someone elses is a terrible thing and it should be dealt with accordingly.*

This has been a long time coming, these are my own thoughts, my own opinions and I am entitled to them as much as you are, I understand that there may be some anger, some disagreement and that is ok,I understand I am publicly posting this which allows you to post/comment your own opinion, diversity is a good thing in many cases it causes people to work together and find common ground. This came about because of several situations with my daughter in which she has said "there are bullies at school" and when asked to define what a bully is giving answers like "people that hurt my feelings", "people that don't like me" "people that tease me", "People that don't invite me to their birthday party" etc... All things she is being taught in school. She cannot hide from mean people, different people, people that dislike her, her entire life. She must learn young how to properly deal with these people and the emotions that come with it, not hide behind a broad label such as "bullying".

I grew up in the 80's and 90's, I moved smack in the middle of my 4th grade year. Everything was awesome and exciting until my 5th grade year. I spoke fast with a unique southern drawl. I still lived in the south (Virginia) when I moved but my accent made my English almost foreign to the people here. I had to learn to slow down and enunciate. I made friends quickly my 5th grade year (another new school after our move, again) some of which I still talk to. I apparently made a lot of enemies, I was an easy target I suppose, tall and skinny frizzy overly permed hair freckles and skin a shade lighter than Casper the friendly ghost (I got called that often). I was a walking target. Sometimes it was hard all I wanted was to fit in, I just wanted everyone to be happy and like me. I didn't understand even in my fragile teenage years that it was just not possible to be truly liked by everyone. It was rough, I was called names, I was ridiculed and embarrassed in front of the entire class on several occasions. I wasn't a spoiled child, I had everything I needed and quickly learned you do not get everything you want, even if you work hard sometimes it just isn't possible (it isn't a bad thing). One day (I believe it may have been the turning point for me) I was riding the bus home. I had BEGGED for some timberland boots and my Father obliged. On this particular day I had to wear tennis shoes for P.E. and it was close to the end of the day so I wore my sneakers home and carried my boots. The bus went up a hill and my boots slid to the back of the bus, I was taunted by the kids in the back of the bus that they had my boots (I don't even recall their names) I asked for them back and then it happened, they threw them out the window. I was crushed for several reasons. For one I thought those boots would make me accepted, for two, I understood what getting those boots meant, it meant my parents took some of their hard earned money and bought something for me that was by no means a need and last but not least how on Earth could people be so mean? HOW!?????

Fast Forward from that very moment. I became a bully (not this petty picking crap that people cry bully about now, I am talking full fledged mean person, hateful, ugly, nasty person)

I began fighting, rebelling, being ugly, calling people names for no reason simply just anger.

My Senior Year of High School My Best Friend and I sat in her Mother's Van and I decided the next freshman to pull into the parking lot would be my target. Poor Girl. Her name was Brooke, I was so mean to her. I truly BULLIED her her life was probably a living hell day and night because this wasn't just at school this was in public no matter where I saw her. I chased her once on the Avenue, her eyes full of fear and ducked her pretty brown curly haired head down in the seat likely praying I would go away. I owe her an apology and even that will not give her what was supposed to be one of the best years of her life back. I regret it, I am a different person now.

When I was in school there were fights (it is bound to happen you have 400-1000 people with whacked out hormones and popularity on the line). When I say fights I mean vicious fights. One year one girl stomped another girls face with her cleats. (at least that is the story that went around). Can you even fathom what would happen if that happened in the schools today!????

Now- What I am about to say comes from me, I have been the Victim and the Bully I am the Mother of 3 children One of which has had moments of being what you would call a bully in todays world but has also had moments of being the victim, one that has had this picture of what bullies are embedded into her brain and cries bully in almost every scenario and then one that is likely going to be a victim of bullying simply because of his physical appearance ('handicap' though I don't really like to use that word with him, it is true).

WHY- why are we teaching our children to cry BULLYING constantly?

Let me explain:

From the governments bullying link: (here)

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
Inappropriate sexual comments
Threatening to cause harm
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
Leaving someone out on purpose
Telling other children not to be friends with someone
Spreading rumors about someone
Embarrassing someone in public
Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
Taking or breaking someone’s things
Making mean or rude hand gestures

Those are all fairly broad and in a lot of those things listed I can honestly say they happen to me daily or at the very least monthly.
Teasing? Honestly? perhaps this is not the word they wanted to use?

the definition of Tease
gerund or present participle: teasing
make fun of or attempt to provoke (a person or animal) in a playful way.

The key word in the definition is playful. My family and I tease each other a lot I tease the kids my husband and I joke around with each other, it is playful interaction. The only time teasing could ever cross the line into "bullying" would be if it were to intentionally hurt someones feelings, and be repetitive.

Name calling. I agree, we shouldn't call each other derogatory names, it isn't nice, play nice. But this sort of ties in with teasing on this next example:
In the 6th grade (i think) We had D.A.R.E, we were given a white piece of paper to write our names on so our officer could address us by name. I scribbled mine out quickly H E A T E R. Heater. I freaking wrote Heater. It was quickly called out and for, well, forever people still pick and call me Heater. That teacher, to this day when he sees me calls me Heater. So fast forward a lot of years (more years than I care to count) and my middle child is in kindergarten. She is asked to write her name on something or another at school and she probably hastily writes it: A V E R. Aver, she forgot the Y (obviously it runs in the family) so for the better part of a week the children called her Aver, chanting Aver, Aver. She comes home and says "there are bullies at school, I don't want to go to school, they are mean." I ask why, she tells the story, I giggle a little because lo and behold I have a story to share with her. It didn't help, why didn't it help? Because she tells me that "that is bullying and her school had people teach her about bullies and she should not have to deal with bullies"

Leaving someone out on purpose.
I have a really hard time with this. It is ok not to get along with someone. Not everyone gets along, my daughter should not have to invite everyone in her kindergarten class to her birthday just so she "doesn't leave anyone out". Why are we teaching our children this? Why are we making them "hang out" with people that the mutual feeling is, we don't get along? You shouldn't hate that person, you shouldn't be ugly to that person you should be cordial and kind but if she wants to play with her best friend on the playground and doesn't ask billy bob to come play because they just clash, is that bullying?

The rest I can agree to as they should be general rules to follow in all walks of life but to classify ALL of them as bullying?????????

"Bully" the word is losing its meaning. It is becoming much broader than it should to appease a large quantity of people. Kind of like the word Love, I am guilty of it too, I love asparagus, I love photography, I love ... (I used to say I "love" something when I was a kid and my mom would say "are you going to marry it?" I get it now, we overuse a powerful word and it loses its luster)

We live and learn, our Youth is learning right now. I agree a child should not fear their safety at all, all children should be able to wake up and get ready to go to school without worrying about if they will be physically or truly emotionally harmed.
But here's the thing about emotions: As children and teenagers we are still figuring things out. People will dislike you, crushes will turn you down, boy/girlfriends will break up, people will let their mouths say things they think without thinking it through all of these things cause emotions. Our children need to learn how to deal with emotions. These are the same emotions they will deal with as adults and if we do not teach them now how to rise above these things they will never make it.

Our children have to be able to function in society. Can you imagine the police calls for bullying when this generation is of age? The current generation is being raised to become entitled, emotionally unstable, unable to function adults. Our children are our future.

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