Today, October 19th, is apparently Stop Bullying Awareness Day.
Now, I’m not going to go off on a sarcastic rant on this, like some might expect me to.
Instead, I’ll offer my support, and throw a few kernels of information and ideas out there.
I may be a Man-Mountain now.
However, until puberty took me firmly in its grasp, I used to be a short stick of a kid with a bulbous head, and glasses.
The only thing missing was a target on my back.
My father taught me how to deal with bullies.
I also learned the value of knowing when to go to an adult and when not to.
(because sometimes that just makes matters worse)
Once I started coming into my size he taught me how to fight.
Not schoolyard fighting either, fighting like a full grown man.
He didn’t condone fighting, but he did know that messages aren’t always comprehended unless delivered in a language that the other party understands.
He taught me how to fight, but with two conditions;
1) That I stand up for others when they are bullied
2) That I never use what he taught me to bully others
The fighting, and the moral lessons, made a significant impact upon my life.
I used those lessons to keep myself and my friends safe.
Those lessons didn’t cease to have meaning when my childhood was over either.
Their significance still proves true today.
During my time in High School a major factor in the prevention of Bullying was my Principal.
He had a zero tolerance policy for fighting and bullying.
He was strict, and he never wavered.
Sure, there was still some fighting and bullying.
Our school never needed Metal Detectors or security guards like some other area schools relied on.
All we ever needed was a couple of teachers that walked the halls and didn’t take shit.
When kids transferred in from other schools they learned quickly enough.
Both of those stories serve to demonstrate my biggest point about bullying.
Bullying Prevention is both a Personal and Public responsibility.
We need to know our own abilities and how they can serve the purpose.
Plus, we have to be in communication with others and work together.
Now, some points I’d like to make about Bullies:
1- I was told by numerous people that all you have to do is stand up to a Bully, that they’re afraid of real confrontation. That’s false. Much like Rape, bullying is a crime about Power and Control.
That makes it even more satisfying when they have to break their victim.
2- Taking on a bully in a public display isn’t really a good idea. Some people think that it’s a way that is more likely to gain help for the victim, or that the Bully loses face because they’re opposed.
This has some merit, but, the majority of the time, whether the bully wins or loses they end up an object of ridicule to some of the witnesses. This equals embarrassment, which can equal more vindictive actions next time.
3- Kids are told to always tell an adult. This can make matters worse sometimes. The first step should be communication between the victim and the bully. Sometimes a bully is singling a person out because they don’t know how else to interact. Most often, the bully is just a dick. Never assume. The kids should learn when to get help and when not to.
However, they should ALWAYS have someone they can talk to about problems without repercussions.
I like establishing a “Safe Area”, a spot where anything can be talked about without getting in trouble.
4- Bullies are really cowards. Hogwash. Bullies are bastards that get off on power and are learning baseline psychotic behavior that can translate to far worse when they’re adults. Don’t turn the bully into a victim in their own way, break the damn cycle before Biff goes from pulling the wings off of flies to boiling human skulls to be used as soup bowls.
5- Kids need to know how to defend themselves. They also need to know how to take a hit without taking as much damage. As much as we want to be there to protect them we can’t always be right there.
And they need to learn how to rely on themselves eventually.
Okay, so that’s all I really have to say about Bullying for now.
I’m no real expert.
These are just my opinions based on my experience.
If any of you have additional thoughts or tips, please, let me hear them.