Bullying Woes

I have never understood the rationale for bullying. How could it possibly make another person feel good or empowered to know they hurt someone else? I personally loathe the concept of hurting anyone. Even the times in my life when it was unavoidable, I hated knowing that I caused someone to feel pain.

 This week my son relayed to me an incident at school. Apparently a little girl was bullied on the bus. An older child called her names. As he described the scene to me, I was heartbroken. I could just picture the little girl with her face turned toward the window and tears streaming from her eyes. I could go back to those places in my life and remember exactly how it felt—the heartache, the shame, the betrayal, and the yearning for it to stop.

I want to do something to help these kids! I hate that some of them deal with this every single day of their lives. I hate knowing that there are children crying themselves to sleep every night. I hate knowing that for a few of them, the situation turned tragic and they took their own life. Have you ever glimpsed into a coffin and saw an angelic face lifeless—void of the precious childlike smile and life we so often admire?

On the other hand, usually the children who bully others are victims of bullying and teasing themselves. I believe the effects have been so detrimental to them that they in turn lash out with the same behavior. As long as they are the ones bullying, then they won’t be bullied.

We need to band together and make a difference. We need to understand that we have so much more power than we realize. We need to stop looking the other way and start addressing the issues.
Anyone around children, for any length of time, has a great advantage. We can teach children to treat others as they themselves want to be treated. Anyone who resorts to scare tactics, threats or name calling to make themselves feel better definitely needs help. They need kindness in their lives. They need love. They need friends. Most of all, they need God. And more than likely, they need counseling of some type to deal with the issues which cause them to act that way. Sometimes bullying is a cry for help.

Just the other day, a child bullied me. I was teased for my hands. I was so shocked by his behavior that I faltered. I didn’t do anything or say anything to him. I was in my safe haven when it happened and was totally knocked down. And then it occurred to me, perhaps God brought him to me for a reason. Maybe I am the one to teach him about differences and how to treat others. What if he is bullied at school? How else would a child learn the art of bullying?

And so I continue my quest. I go to schools and read them my book, Zippy and the Stripes of Courage. I show them through Zippy how it feels to be teased and how to treat others. I answer their questions and encourage them to be good to others. Sometimes God blesses me to touch a child in some way and even allows me to see it. Sometimes He blesses me to take them in my heart and pray for them. And sometimes, I feel defeated like I couldn’t reach them at all. Nevertheless, I keep trying.

I know some can’t understand my desire to do school visits, especially free of charge, or the sacrifices I make to do them. Since I work fulltime, I have to adjust my schedule to fit everything in. On the days when I do school visits, I get up anywhere between 4:30-5:30 a.m. and start working. Then, I usually have to put in a few hours in the evening as well. It is a long day, but so very worth it.

When I see the smiles on the children’s faces and hear them declare their love for Zippy, I know it impacted their life in some way. Every visit is a gift from God and I’m so thankful for the opportunities. Before I was published, I would often pray and ask for these very moments.

Sometimes we have to be willing to suffer a little to help someone else. Sometimes we have to be willing to do whatever it takes. I believe the only way we can truly make a difference is when we give our whole heart. I don’t do it for compensation or even to sell books. I do it because there was once a little girl who would go to the bathroom and pray. She would beg God to help her—to make the bullying stop and to give her the strength to endure the pain. And many years later, she’s still praying and trusting God to help her help others.

NOTICE: I’m not a counselor nor do I have a PhD. Anything I say on this blog is strictly my feelings and/or opinions.

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