Thank. The. Lord.
Because, today, I am a mother of three elementary children (one with special needs) in a day where the PC police are out of control! Scratch that. I mean in control. Of everything.
Sarcasm aside, I don’t approach this subject lightly. I was bullied in elementary school. The real kind of bullying, like when a group kids follows you home, constantly harassing with words that cut deep, and push you down on the playground taking turns stepping on your back. Not like today’s definition where one 8-year-old child calls another a “Booger Head” during a heated game of tag and has to spend the rest of the day in the counselor’s office doing self-reflection exercises.
Sometime over the last 20 years the definition of “bully” has been changed to mean anything that hurts someone’s feelings, or has the potential of hurting someone’s feelings, or anything that is said or done by every child ever. When did this happen? Probably around the time that students started showing up to school with weapons and murdering one another.
So the education system’s knee-jerk response was to eliminate, not only bullying, but normal childhood behavior as well as important natural consequences, like grading work, that would have set them up for success in the real world.
But these poor educators are in an uphill behavior-modification battle against the human nature of tiny people, so campaigning for the cause of bully-awareness has to be applied pretty strong. I recently overheard my daughter talking to her brothers about her “bully” at school. When I asked her what she thought that meant, she told me it was because he “Chases me all the time and tells everyone that I am his girlfriend”.
Uh….. When I was in Kindergarten we called that kind of behavior “Kindergarten.”
Things like school shootings and teen suicide are very serious and growing issues whose roots need to be exposed and addressed, but my suspicion is that these epidemics have not been spawned by bullying itself (That’s been around as long as there have been people), but by how our generation has been trained to respond to life’s difficulties. So what does Political Correctness have anything to do with it? Because the very foundation of PC teaches you that you are a victim, and every school massacre has been justified by its inflicter because of their perceived victimhood.
What kids learn
As parents, we need to see the hardships that our children face at school as incredible opportunities to mold character and endurance necessary for adulthood success into them. I know this is hard. I KNOW this is hard. I have a son with Aspergers who is constantly on the receiving end of playground unkindness and another son who has to watch it happen every day to the brother he loves dearly and defends valiantly. As painful as it is to see my kids hurting, I want to be so careful of what lessons they are going to learn from how we respond.
Are we going to get angry, storm into the school and demand justice for their wounds, communicating to them that they are victims and in every hardship in life they are owed a defender?
Are we going to tell them, “Tough titties. Suck it up” and just dismiss their hurt, communicating to them that their feelings aren’t legitimate and that something is wrong with them for being too sensitive?
Or are we going to put our arms around a teary-eyed child, enter into that pain with them, feel with them, and then teach them. Teach them their real value. teach them that they are going to face more times like these in life. Teach them that they can use the memory of this pain to have compassion on others. Teach them that they are not going to be hurt forever. Teach them to love and pray for those who aren’t fair to them.
Life isn’t fair
We have a saying in our house that we use every time one of the kids cries foul: “If God were fair, we’d all be dead.” And it’s true. It wasn’t fair that Jesus took the punishment for our sin when we deserved it. Love isn’t fair. And it isn’t very loving to send our kids off to face a world that is competitive and cruel without preparing them for that reality. How are they going to handle working hard on a project only for their boss to tell them to take it back to the drawing board when their school teachers weren’t allowed to correct their papers with a red pen? How are they going to handle being turned down by the opposite sex when their parents told them they were a victim every time they were teased? I think we just saw last week on the news how that turns out.
Is it possible that the real bully here is not the hazing child in the locker room, but political correctness?
Let’s hear your thoughts.