ONWARD and UPWARD: The Will to Stand Up to a Bully
“Who wants to deal with negative people no less bullies during a joyous holiday season?” This rhetorical question is something I hear constantly these days. Whether it’s a kid, an adult, employee or just someone minding his/her own business shopping in a store, there seems to be someone ready and willing to TRY to bring others down. Are we as a society so uptight that the numbers of Carolers have gone down just as dramatically as the Scrooges have gone up?
So where do we find some semblance of a solution to a problem that’s been plaguing individuals like a cancer since the dawn of time? Hmmm…how about… within ourselves! If each of us takes accountability for how we treat others, how we speak to others and how we communicate in the tech world of today, what a huge start that would be. Yes, one word—“ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Bullies usually surround themselves with like-minded weakness. They validate each other. Lots of back-slapping at-a-boyz! and, at-a-girlz! going on. And, more often than not there’s a pecking order. At the top—usually the one with the loudest, foulest, most brazen hurtful mouth. At the bottom—the most fearful follower of the pack. Leading as an example of great character is what’s considered laughable within these circles. They spin out of control. Lack of character is what they embrace. And, the spinning continues.
Standing up to a bully takes courage—one of the most admirable character traits anyone can demonstrate. Honesty, responsibility, self-discipline and even compassion might come into play when standing up to a bully. There are tons of kids bullied/abused at home and then go to school taking their frustrations out on someone else because they’re deemed powerless in what’s supposed to be the safest place of all—home. Showing compassion for someone in that kind of situation takes a trait much deeper than courage. That’s not to say there’s ever an excuse for bullying; and, anyone indicative of such behavior should be held to task. There’s always a consequence matching someone’s action—good or bad. Reward for the good. Punishment for the bad. Plain and simple! Or is it? What if a bully thinks he/she is justified?
Check out what my guest from last month’s Onward and Upward Blog Talk Radio show, Judge Thomas Jacobs, penned. Please take your time reading it. As a parent, I found it heartbreaking…
A Message to Parents from a Teen’s Grave
by Thomas Jacobs www.askthejudge.info
“Oftentimes, out of personal tragedy comes a benefit to others. In the case of Jamey Rodemeyer the investigation into his suicide on September 18, 2011, presents a powerful message to parents, guardians and caretakers of children and teenagers.
After 14 year-old Jamey took his life at home following years of bullying, the police took custody of his cell phone and computer. They discovered that Jamey had an account on Tumblr.com, Formspring and other social networking web sites. His parents weren’t aware of these accounts and accepted Jamey’s word that everything was fine at his new school. But it wasn’t.
The police discovered mean-spirited and cruel postings to Jamey during the months before he started ninth grade. Jamey had suffered years of bullying through middle school. His parents thought starting high school would be different. Jamey told them that things were better but kept the truth to himself. Some of the comments included: “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” an anonymous commenter said on Formspring. “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it It would make everyone WAY more happier!” said another.
Parents, make sure you keep the conversation going with your kids. In order to properly monitor your son or daughter’s online life, you need to understand the technology and keep up with new web sites. Once you build trust with your teenager, sharing their passwords with you will be expected and come easily.
These messages to Jamey were undoubtedly a shock to his parents. But they are a message to all those responsible for our youth to know their friends including their online acquaintances. It could save a life. Our hearts go out to Jamey’s family and friends. His bullies also need understanding as they may have been bullying victims as well and have to live with Jamey’s passing for the rest of their lives. They won’t be prosecuted as insufficient evidence exists to file formal charges. Their consequence for participating in this loss is essentially a life sentence.”
Can it get any clearer than that? Seriously, we’re no longer talking about kids getting bruised up in the school parking lot, or locker room. No, we’re talking about head games being played on kids being drawn into the (new) “it’s their world” for the whole school, neighborhood and world to see. As an adult, I know the weak aggressors try to be the big-mouth bullies—regardless of where they are. I’m pretty equipped, as I believe most adults are, at shutting a bully down based on life experience. Our kids however, do not have the life experience to realize you cannot rationalize with irrational people.
Mocking and/or name calling comes from someone who’s incredibly insecure—no matter what the age. So as grown men and women, parents, leaders in this society, let’s get our act together and educate the uneducated who do not understand, or fail to even try to comprehend the ramifications of bullying…especially cyber-bullying where it’s much easier to throw a [cowardly] virtual punch. A secure person with an immense sense of self, at any age, would think twice before hitting ‘Enter.’ Recognize the weakness of the bully…then step forth donned with great character.
I’d like to end with a quote I once read that went something like this, “One cannot feel stress and gratitude at the same time…I prefer to feel gratitude.”
I, too, prefer gratitude—to feel thankful, enjoyment, love and a complete sense of self. With those traits in hand, bullying, whether it be eye to eye or the quick type & enter, no longer has the power it wishes to have.