Is The Campaign Against Bullying Producing The Softies Of Tomorrow?

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Parental Relationships, Uncategorized
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Halfway through my ninth grade year in high school I moved to a different town where I attended a new high school (new to me). Making friends has never come easy to me because, believe it or not, I am extremely shy and quiet. I would soon find out that a lot of people throughout my life would make assumptions about me because of this. One thing I didn’t have a problem doing in the new school was making money. I sold candy out of my book bag and it wasn’t long before other students noticed how I excelled in most of my classes. Side note: the school system there was way behind my previous one so didn’t require much brainpower. After being approached by a “dumb jock” (his own words, not mine) to do one of his papers, it became a regular gig. Essays, research papers, poetry; if it had something to do with writing, I was available for hire. I am the reason why quite a few failures ended up passing classes. I guess you can partially blame me for some of the dummies in the workplace today. Sorry.

If my fellow student didn’t have the money up front to pay me, sometimes I would accept collateral and they could pay me later. This was the case with Romeo. He didn’t have the money so he gave me a fairly new Polo hoodie for collateral. Long story short, he got an A on the project I did for him. That A was the only thing that kept him from failing History. How did he repay me? Instead of money, he sent a girl, who supposedly had a rough reputation around school, to corner me at my locker one morning. She was one of those loud, rowdy types, always getting in trouble, always getting in fights. She got in my face and threatened me to return the hoodie to Romeo or she was going to beat me up. What did I do? I responded naturally, with a smirk I got back in her face, “Am I supposed to be shook? I’m not scared of you or anyone else in this school. You must have me fucked up. You can tell Romeo that he can get his collateral back when he pays me my money.” Then I slammed my locker and walked away. No, Romeo never paid me but I wore my new hoodie with no shame, and the girl never bothered me again.

When I was a kid, that’s how you handled bullying. You either took your chances and stood up to the bully, fighting it out, or you went and got an older sister/brother/cousin/friend to come help you fight your battles. I never had to do too much fighting because I always let my words fight for me. Of course most will say fighting isn’t the answer but fighting does toughen you up. Most of the time when you stand up to a bully they will leave you alone because bullies are predators. They prey on the weak. That’s why it’s important to show strength, whether it be through words or through fists, if necessary.

While I applaud the current day campaign against bullying, I think the campaign is misdirected. I don’t think it’s necessarily the bullying that’s the major problem. I’ve witnessed bullies growing up and people have tried to bully me. I’ve seen kids fight and I’ve even been in a physical fight or two (or three). I even got a black eye once. We all turned out just fine. No one killed themselves. However, we didn’t have cell phones and YouTube when I was a kid. Once the fight was over, whoever got their butt kicked might’ve been taunted for the next few weeks until the next fight happened. Then it was forgotten about, yesterday’s news. Whether you were the winner or the loser, you gained respect for standing up for yourself. That’s what it was really about. I think it’s the technology that is crippling the children of today. Little Susie can’t hide from a video of her getting her block knocked off that’s being played over and over on the internet. She can’t move on to the next thing. She’s forced to relive her humiliating experience over and over. Little Billy’s secret confession in his diary about his homosexuality has been plastered on a website for all to see and forward through emails. Once it’s in cyberspace, it’s there for good. There’s nothing he can do to move on. That, in my opinion, is the issue – not the actual act of bullying. Boys tease, girls are cruel, children fight. It’s a part of life. It’s a part of the coming of age process. It’s the technology that’s the real problem. Maybe the issue is allowing children access to technologies they don’t yet need before they are mature enough to handle it.

Now children are encouraged to go tell an adult if they’re being picked on. I know parents want to protect their children and I know I’m not a parent, but it seems to me that we are really softening the children of tomorrow. In addition, they are going to be unprepared for the world as an adult. I think what people forget is that there are adult bullies too. There are grown people who try to intimidate other grown people every day in college, on the job, and at social activities. You see, it doesn’t stop after adolescence. The method might change. It may not be stuffing you in a locker but you better believe there are bullies in the boardroom, just like on the playground. So what happens then? What does the grown ass man, who was told as a child to run and tell when someone made fun of him, do as an adult being bullied? Of course I know there is a difference between harmless teasing and antagonizing someone, but where is the line drawn? That’s my question. I don’t make light of those who have taken their own lives due too bullying, but I can’t help but wonder if things can turn out differently if we teach children to stand up to bullies and toughen up a little.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post little hustler!

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