Lessons for life
June 10, 2011
Readers were passionate about our recent column on the Kind Campaign's fight against bullying. The movement, which was founded by Lauren Parsekian and Molly Stroud, focuses on helping students and communities get educated about the dangers of bullying in schools. Here were some comments we received in e-mail and on Facebook.
Win wrote: "My son was bullied at school by the same kid for multiple years. It didn't stop until the principal told him and his parents that the next time he did it he'd be expelled."
"I'm thrilled to see that kindness is being taught and shared," said Karen. "I was bullied on the playground in elementary school and teased on the bus. It definitely took a hit to my self-esteem for a while. These gals are doing great work."
"It's a lovely concept and I hope it works," wrote Fran. "My question is this: What are they doing with the parents who may be teaching that bullying is OK? I was physically and verbally harassed because of my weight and being the smart kid from day one of kindergarten. When I tried to be nice, I got my butt kicked."
"The only thing that ever stops bullying is a bigger person stepping in," said Kitty.
"Thanks to these two young ladies for taking on this subject," wrote Bonnie. "This is close to my heart. My beautiful daughter was bullied and I didn't know it was happening. She stopped eating and got severely depressed. She is still recovering. We've gotten her therapy and she seems to feel better, but her insecurities are still there. I wish her school had talked to the kids about this, or at least made the bullies accountable for their actions."
"My daughter is in grade school and has been a target of bullies for months," wrote Carol. "I have complained and complained to my child's school and nothing has been done. This is a very serious problem. Teachers and principals need to get cracking. Now!"
A reader named Jen shared how she understood the mentality that children have a hard time believing there will be other chapters in their lives. "When I was eight my best friends decided to turn on me," she said. "I never knew why I was the target, but they didn't talk to me and shut me out at lunch. They made up stories about me. I felt so lonely. I'm now married with two kids but I still remember exactly how it felt."
"It's really up to the popular kids to pave the way," said Peter. "If they bully, others will follow. If they don't, and treat people with respect, that behavior will be the standard. Teachers and parents have to open their eyes, get connected with what's happening in their schools, and make sure nobody's behavior gets out of hand."
"It's important to realize that someone who bullies is really scared and lonely inside," wrote Cynthia. "Anger and rage are unprocessed fears and resentments. It stems from insecurity. Wouldn't it be great if you could just go up to a bully and say, 'Tell me, what are you afraid of right now that makes you want to do this to someone else?' "