Bullying…what does that word truly mean? Let’s look it up.
Mirriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines bullying as, “1. to treat abusively, 2. to affect by means of force or coercion ,3. to use browbeating language or behavior, 4. to frighten, hurt, threaten a smaller or weaker person, or 5. to cause someone to do something by making threats or insults or by using force.
As an adult, I am somewhat intimidated by these definitions. Abuse, force, browbeat, frighten, hurt, threaten? Those are serious words. As a criminal justice major, it sounds like crime, and as a parent, it is the nightmare that can affect the rest of your life.
The sad part is that many parents live that nightmare every day. Sending your child off to school with a “have a good day” is not the same anymore. Going to work and losing all thoughts of your child until you receive that “I’m home, mom/dad” text doesn’t put your heart at ease. It’s not until you’ve gotten home and seen for yourself that your child is just fine that you can take a deep breath of relief. I know that feeling well, and each morning that I drop off my own children, I feel that a little piece of my soul is left with them. Sometimes, as I’m driving, tears pop into my eyes at the thought of some other child or adult abusing, forcing, browbeating, frightening, hurting, or threatening the child that grew under my heart for nine months. If I could sit there all day with them to protect them, I would.
It is almost becoming the norm that juvenile bullying victims to take their lives or the lives of others looking for a way out of the ridicule and shame. We hear the news stories of school shooting, teen suicides, and schoolyard fights everyday without focusing on the problem. What is the problem? Home. Home is where children receive their first perceptions of the world – which define how they treat others as they grow into adults. Their character is tested and how they respond is a direct result of home.
After finding out that my twelve-year old son was being bullied at school, I was inspired to reach out to other parents and children who have experienced bullying in all of its forms: physical, verbal, emotional, and cyber-bullying. The response has been amazing. It was not easy for many to openly admit that their child had been bullied, and it certainly was not easy for me to interview the victims and see them relive the pain. Why put them through it all again? The victims need some kind of support and to know that they’re not alone. Mainstream media doesn’t provide coverage for a bullying story unless a child is hurt or killed, and most Americans hear the stories, feel empathy, and move on thinking that it was the parents’ or school’s faults. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. However, it is a definite sign that something is wrong in our country. The school shooting last week is just another indicator in the myriad of horrific losses of life that something has to be done. We invest so much time and money in the economy, reality shows, music, and movies, but what about investing in our children?
After dealing with administration at my son’s school – who are oblivious to the damage done when children are intimidated or bullied by students or staff – I have found the Faces of Bullying is not just what we see, it’s about the scars underneath that we don’t see. Those scars can push our children to the point of madness where there is no return.
I try to use this blog as a beacon to bring order to the chaotic mind of a child or parent lost in the world of intimidation or aggression. My books, the Victoria’s Journey series, http://www.breakingthelinebooks.com, give a fictional account of what it’s like to grow up bullied and intimidated yet still finding ways to cope through God’s Light to refuse to allow others to define who you are. We need that, especially today, because America is on a runaway train of religious persecution and cultural intimidation that I fear our future generations may never be able to stop.
 Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2014