Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The POWER of ONE DAY! (part 3 - Bullying)

If you've not had a chance to read the two previous blog entries in this series please be sure to read them first. They are necessary to follow my train of thought that leads me to part 3 of the series on BULLYING.
I'm not sure when it began but my guess is that "bullying" has been around since the beginning of time. Perhaps bullying took place between Cain and Abel due to the jealously that Cain felt toward Abel. Who knows, but perhaps it was the fact that the bullying got out of hand and led to Abel's death.
It has been around as long as any person or group of people have ever perceived a person or, again, a group of people, as weaker than themselves. It's been around "forever".
I do remember being on both sides of this spectrum when I was in school. I was a bigger kid (in height) and usually didn't have a lot of problems with people picking on me but there WERE some of those times. I'm telling you that even GIRLS would get in my face and "put me down" and just say horrible things to me. Some of their boldness came from the fact that they knew that I would not "hit" a girl for any reason. So, yeah, I remember being on that end of the stick.
There were times that I was "the bodyguard" for some that were getting picked on and bullied. Again, I was bigger and not many would really try to "mess with me" and, too, I just didn't like it when someone would pick on someone else.
I wish I could say that this next part were not true, but it IS true. There were also times - in spite of what I just said in the above paragraph - that I was part of a group that would "bully" others. It wasn't pushing and shoving someone around but it was mocking and demoralizing a fellow student. I remember one young man that was in school with me that had some sort of a nervous "tick" and "twitch" that would cause him to flail around at his desk. This was especially true when he was stressed - ESPECIALLY when taking a test. I would join in as many of us would mock and imitate his actions and then laugh.
He didn't stay at our school long. I'm guessing he didn't stay at many schools long due to such horrible actions by his classmates.
I know this to be true: sometimes those that are bullied also bully because they can be a part of a group and feel like that they, for once, BELONG. Yes, even when that group is doing the very thing that they, themselves, despise. It also takes the heat off of them for a bit and allows them to join in with picking on someone else that is perceived as weak.
I also remember during my Senior year in High School being a part of a church youth group in which we all enjoyed taking part in "cut downs". In case you are not familiar with that term it is a pretty good use of words to explain what takes place. It is simply a way for one person to "put down" or "cut down" someone else. Many take great pride in how quickly that can fire back and forth to each other with these cut downs.
Hey, when this would take place in our youth group, it was "fun" because it would always get a laugh. But, even then, here is what I noticed: those in the group (myself included) would stop commenting on anything because the "cut downs" had gotten so bad and so persistent that it began to be felt that the only way to avoid the "cut down" was to just not speak at all.
Thankfully, I, along with a few other "leaders" in the group, began to encourage our group to stop doing this because it had gotten out of hand and had a negative impact on our group. We did and it helped bring our group back together.
So, again, it's been around "forever" and it still continues today.
But "today", all of the social media and quick access via cell phones for sharing/spreading "information", makes it a far worse situation than even ten years ago."Cyber-bullying" has been responsible, in my opinion, to the horrible situations that we see on the news. Yes, even to the point of pushing someone "over the edge" to the point of suicide.
And, yes, this pushing to the point of suicide has also been going on for a very long time. A lot of people didn't want to acknowledge and face that fact that this could actually take place and, too, we just didn't hear as much about it due to our now, wide-spread access and sharing of information world-wide.
So, what do we do about it? Is there anything we CAN do about it?
Sure there is. It's not easy. It WON'T be easy. But we cannot simply shrug our shoulders, throw our hands up in the air in despair and announce that there is nothing we can do.
In my next blog I will discuss some specific things that we can - and MUST - do to help put a stop to this. As always, I would love to hear any comments/suggestions that you have as well.
Thanks for your time and, be sure to...
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"

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