“I got pretty angry at school today,” my 14 year old daughter said today.
Right out the gate, this is very out of norm. I have two daughters – one is very out spoken and not afraid to say what’s on her mind, the other is her polar opposite. She is the quiet one who takes everything in, mulls it over and when I detect slight irritation in her voice, I have to wrestle to get it out of her.
I was thrilled to hear her proclaim her emotions for a number of reasons. She was letting her emotions out rather than keeping them all cooped up inside to fester into who knows what. Equally as important, she was opening herself up to me without my prodding and pulling.
A guy friend of hers was being picked on in P.E. class today. She was so frustrated and angry at the hate that she saw, she started yelling at the boys who were bullying her friend, “What is wrong with you?!” As she relayed the events that followed, her voice got louder and louder. The group of boys responded to her question with more insults to both her and her friend.
My daughter and I had just had an interesting conversation over the weekend about teen suicide and bullying. She had shared another teen’s video online showing some real life examples of bullying and the effects of this abuse. We were both so touched by the feelings of helplessness these kids feel. What pushes a person to inflict such pain and heartache on another human being? How can we change this?
I have always told my kids to stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves. Share your strength when someone else is lacking. I saw qualities in her today that can guide her for many years to come – the courage to question the norm, the desire to promote positive change and the outward display of compassion.
Bullies have been around for years. The anti-bullying campaigns in schools today do not necessarily prevent bullying. In fact, many cases show that students at schools with anti-bullying program are more likely to be bullied. The techniques that we have been using are not working. The anonymity of today’s social media have given the victims of bullying an avenue to share their fears and gain strength as others identify with their plight. How can we encourage this strength beyond the walls of the internet into their everyday lives? How can we instill this so that it can benefit them years down the road?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share your ideas for change.