Before I even get to the bacon of this post, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of exactly what I’m writing about today. And, I’ll also share that having been the target of bullying at a younger age, I am highly aware of when I am the guilty party and am often quick to ask for pardon in those instances.
Within the past week I’ve had multiple conversations about the topic of bullying. Mommy Bears that show up when their children have been bullied; anger seen in their eyes at the injustice their children faced. And, rightfully so… or so we would like to think. Not always is bullying one-sided, it would behoove us as contributing members of society of see all sides and to consider how we contribute to the culture of bullying. That perhaps, is where a shift in culture would begin.
One area of bullying that seems to be ignored or not contemplated is how we as society and adults contribute to the culture that encourages bullying. What? You ask. I would never contribute to bullying! Although, we do, we all do unknowingly to ourselves. Yes, our society and culture by nature of itself contributes to bullying in a huge way. Or rather I should say, our actions within society contribute to the culture of bullying.
There are specific behaviors which are considered acceptable within our culture that specifically create an environment where bullying is acceptable. Take a microscopic look at some of these behaviors:
- You follow a specific sport, you don’t like a specific player, or specific play… what is your reaction to it? --I’ve seen many times Facebook posts about what an idiot some player is, or how useless a specific player is, or how a specific team should get rid of a specific player because they are worthless for the team. Often sentiments shared publicly and socially and others engage in conversations about how they agree or disagree. What does this say to our future generation who listen to these conversations? Bullying is acceptable.
- You follow politics; you have a specific political stance… what is your reaction to opposing views? Again, I’ve seen public tweets, Facebook posts, and communications where those that have opposing views are spoken negatively about, or thought to be inferior to you (the nay sayer who must be so bright because you have a strong stance on politics). Again, what does this public display of irritation and anger towards different views say to our future generation who have seen and listened to these conversations? Bullying is acceptable.
- You have a specific style of dress or prefer to be a specific size… what is your reaction to different styles and sizes of people? Here again, public displays of disapproval and others engaging in those conversations leaves room for youngsters to make assumptions that it is okay to bully someone for being different than they are. What does this say to our future generation? Bullying is acceptable.
- There are plenty more but three examples is enough to make the point…
Ok, ok! Now before I get a backlash of comments saying that this post in and of itself is narrow minded, you must also know that I absolutely feel that we are allowed to have our opinions. ABSOLUTELY! What I am suggesting is that without follow-up on our opinions with our children or younger generation about how we view and talk about those different from us is where the detriment is. This is where it is seen as bullying; in my opinion.
I challenge you:
- To second think your public comments of dislike for differences and maybe reword them.
- To always consider all three sides of the coin; heads, tails, and thin edge, before jumping to conclusions about someone’s worth based off of their individualism. It really isn’t up to us to gauge the worth of others. Teach our future generation to #BeNice.