It Stops NOW.
Somehow, bullying has become so engrained in our society that it’s often difficult to know how to begin stopping it. The hulking bully has been a stereo-typical cliché of every school yard scene for years; and somehow, we’ve just stood by and allowed that to happen. More than that, we’ve accepted it. Somehow, we’ve decided that “boys will be boys,” etc. and therefore constant bullying is just a fact of childhood. People even go so far as to blame the victims of bullying for not standing up for themselves or fighting back or whatever. Yeah, go figure.
Now, we can complicate this issue all we want; we can ignore it or decide it isn’t really serious, and even pretend that it somehow teaches children useful life lessons, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. And really, no matter how complicated you want to make it, no matter how engrained in society we think it is, it all comes down to one fact: no child is born a hater. Not even one. Like so many other things, hatred is taught. Maybe not intentionally, but kids have to pick it up somewhere.
Today, a courageous newspaper in Iowa dedicated it’s front page to the message that nobody wants to hear:
“We are all to blame. We have not done enough. Not nearly enough. This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area. Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots. Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient — maybe even painful — to address. But we can’t keep looking away.”
Yep. A fundamental flaw in our society–but a flaw that can be fixed. Like anything worth doing, it will take a tremendous effort, but if we can only stand together and change the way our society perceives bullies, we can make a lasting change in our world. The article in the Sioux City Journal is proof that more and more people are sitting up and realizing the ultimate cost of ignoring the bullying crisis. As more and more people wake to this realization, things will get better. It’s our job to make sure that it happens.
There are any number of reasons (or lack thereof) why bullying occurs, from weight to skin color to sexual preference, and probably anything else you want to think of, but the cure for bullying can be stated in two words: acceptance and responsibility. We have to accept other for who they are, and to accept ourselves for the same reason. We have to accept our responsibility for our society and its actions, and pledge to make a difference.
Perhaps most importantly, we have to remember that none of us is alone. Too often we get caught up in our own lives and don’t see what’s going on around us. If you see someone who’s being bullied say something, let them know they aren’t alone. If you’re being bullied, say something, there are people on your side who will help you if they know what’s going on.
Together, we can fix this flaw in our society. Together, we can help those in trouble, and put an end to the constant threat of bullying. Together we can tell the world: it stops NOW.