By Trisha Rissman
I'm thinking the "Bullying" movie and all the associated media and celebrity coverage is totally missing the underlying issue... it is sort of like treating a persistent headache without looking for the cause...which, after looking, just happens to be a brain-tumor.
When I was growing up, "bullying" was called "teasing". I was "teased" unmercifully because I was too tall to be a girl, had really big bones, wore black horned-rimmed glasses, made straight A's and lived on a "farm" while being bussed to an elitist school in a large city in Texas. The only place I really "fit" was in the back-ground on the volleyball court, baseball field or basketball court, the debate team, the yearbook committee or on my Junior Achievement assignment. As it turned out, all of these "bad" experiencesfeelings laid a solid foundation for a VERY successful career and life.
A really big difference I see in our culture today is that when I was growing up, we got grades in school and were expected (by parents, teachers and society) to keep those grade high. If we were talented enough to play sports, we got the trophy only if we played better than the other teams and won our division/district, etc. We didn't get an award or reward for showing up and playing...we had to win big to get those emotional kudos. The system rewarded hard work that excelled...not just those who showed up and if someone's feelings got hurt because they played hard and smart but the team lost...so what?; the world did not come to an end. We were conditioned to know that life was going to be tough and that we would win some and lose some, but, nothing excused constant whining and complaining, a perpetual pity-party and the unrealistic expectation that we were going to "feel" good all the time.
I think we are robbing our society (especially the children) of an opportunity to deal with the realities of life, develop high self-esteem through real and honest experiences and grow into kind, confident, competent, self-reliant, driven, success-oriented adults. Let's stop passively teaching our children to give away their power and their identities to mere words. Let's bring back "standards" so people will really know when they have succeeded and when they have failed. Then we are, at least, giving them a chance to learn the life-lessons that will serve them well as they travel their path. Surviving a bad experience and using the survival to become a better person is how we become better people and a better society.
I'm Just Sayin', maybe we (parents, teachers, friends, media, society) should pay more attention to curing the illness and give less attention to humans-behaving-badly.
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