When your little sister or brother, niece or nephew, daughter or son looks into the mirror what do you think they see?
Instead of guessing, ask.
Do you really know what that beautiful heart endures when he or she goes to school? Do you remember what it felt like to go into grammar school and high school thinking it was your universe? Believing with your whole heart that everyone and everything that came into your world was all you would ever have or know? Never truly realizing that there was more to come beyond the walls of the cafeteria (where you questioned where you would sit), the gymnasium (where you and Billy were picked last), the classroom (where you either never raised your hand for fear of being wrong OR you answered and got teased for being right). No move you ever made was praised, but it was instead insulted. Everything from unrealistic body image comparisons to daily fights in the bathrooms. Imagine that. Visualize the taunts, threats, spitting, kicking, total embarrassment. That pressure to always be what you are not thanks to the media and the uneducated.
These incredible children with warrior hearts feel ashamed of themselves because they don’t know what it means to love themselves. The places they seek validation would rather see them literally down on the ground kissing their feet, humiliating them in the presence of those they hoped would choose to be their friend this year. They need to learn what self-worth is, but how can they truly feel worthy of anything when everyone tells them they are inadequate, meaningless, and useless?
Today, negative influence has been amplified by social media networks, television, cell phones, tablets, and other devices that allow instant gossip to be spread and reputations to be sullied without a second thought. This is why we must teach children how to find their inner strength. They all have the power to be happy within themselves and they have to know that they cannot and should not waste their greatness on pretending to be what they believe those around them want them to be. We have said it time and time again that being yourself is beautiful, but saying it isn’t enough.
We have to teach it. From the moment your baby girl or boy says ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ or ‘granny’…They need to learn humility, grace, and self-worth. They deserve the chance to be raised into great values and be brave enough to be who they truly are.
Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t stop with our children.
The term ‘bullying’ is commonly associated with kids. Traditionally, society viewed our youth to be the weaker group, but it spans to adults as well. Whether it is in their home, workplace, or any public venue…It happens to them too. Bullies do not see age, they see vulnerability. They prey on it because they are spineless and often share the same “weakness” their “inferior” counterpart does. In actuality, the victim is stronger. The problem behind this problem is simply the victims (aka my beautifully unique and lovely worthy warriors) are not always able to find their fortitude. It is silenced by negativity – aggression, peer pressure, fear of isolation (some rather endure the pain than be left completely alone), and so on.
Mental, emotional, verbal, physical…All of these forms of bullying trouble all age groups and no aunt, uncle, sibling, cousin, or grandparent should fear discussing it. Awareness is a beautiful thing, although it is often difficult to handle when your relative is unable or unwilling to admit the occurrence of certain incidents. If you feel something happened, speak on it anyway. Stand up for them and let that sister or even your student know that they are never alone. I’ve told children in the past that I volunteered with that they are not alone.. You are never alone. I’m always here. Drop the judgement, stop the glares, just open your heart, and focus your ears on the voice that is yearning to reach you. You could save someone from self-bullying, from being bullied, from coming to hate themselves.
We have already lost so many incredible children and teens to bullying and witnessed adults vanishing into themselves, toward seclusion. We need to stop this. All of it. The world will hurt us enough. We do not need to hurt one another. We need to lift each other up and encourage victories and positive feats among us.