If it’s one type of person I can’t tolerate, it’s a bully. I know many of my readers may be nodding their heads and thinking this is going to be a heartwarming message about anti-bullying…well, it’s not and there is a good reason why…I know what a bully is and is not. Do you?
A bully is someone who uses strength, whether it be intellectual or physical, to influence and force people to do things they don’t want to do. That’s the black and white definition and since most of us lived through middle school years, we know that there is a ton of gray area there. Torment and harassment can certainly be forms of bullying. There is an imbalance of power by which a real bully creates a victim.
Ahh…there’s a word that is also thrown around a lot. Victim.
Where the hell am I going with you, you may ask? Well, keep your fucking pants on, I am getting there. It takes a lot of my magical word organizing to get to the meat of my bliggity-blogs.
I think we can all agree that getting rid of bullying would be a plus, but how do we do that? So far the method has become a “zero tolerance” policy where anyone can cry bully any time something is said or done that they don’t like. Kids are telling their parents that their teacher is a bully for giving them a negative score. People are getting supper pissy about having someone hold a mirror up to their personality flaws. Those are not bullying tactics…those are things that happen in real life.
My oldest boy is a wonderful child. He is kind, gentle and just about the biggest whiner you have ever seen. His whining can get under my skin and I am doing what I can to stop that shit. If one day he comes home from school and says that Broden (I pick that name because it sounds douchey to me) called him a Wimpy Whiner and it hurt his feelings and he thinks Broden is a bully (can we agree that any parents who name their kids that are basically destined to raise a jerk-wad?)…I will have to call the school and have Broden expelled for wounding my delicate snowflake…wait…NO. I will have to tell Joey that while it’s too bad that his feelings were hurt, he needs to maybe find his role in the conflict. Is he a whiner? Is that something he should work on correcting so that he can get along better in society? Broden held a mirror up and Joey didn’t like what he saw. Joey needs to adapt his social behavior to make it and he needs to learn to stand up for himself. Joey needs to quit whining and tell Broden to go fuck himself. Joey is not a victim even though Broden is a jerk. One does not HAVE to create the other.
This current “bullying” culture is teaching our kids that they don’t have to solve their own problems. And what is worse…that they don’t have to stick up for what’s right and ever change a thing about themselves because it’s always someone else’s fault. They’re a victim. It’s really a shame too, because there are kids who can’t change what they are being harassed about and THOSE people need our support.
The truth is that there are real bullies and real victims, but the gravity of their situations aren’t being noticed among the myriad of people crying wolf. Parents and administrators are getting too involved in situations where they should just be encouraging the kids to just be tougher and better people and work it out. Many times the involvement backfires and the “victim” becomes a social pariah because of over punishment of the “bully”…then that victim is much worse off than before. The bully never really learns anything and it’s never going to be like those shows where the small kid sticks up for himself and then he and the bully become friends and they slowly fade out on a scene of them walking their bikes next to each other down a suburban street while fall leaves fall and you can almost feel the crispness of fall. Lovely.
There are real bullies and because of that, there are real victims. But I feel that those real situations are getting poorly handled because of myriad of people crying bully wolf. This practice of broadening the definition is creating an even wider gap in social classes and creating a real “us against them” attitude.
Mostly this needs to happen so that my kids can be tough enough to stand up to REAL bullies. Those fuckers won’t get away with shit if kids don’t see themselves as victims but can recognize when someone else is being victimized. Maybe solving their own situation with the Brodens of the world will give them the empathy they need to see what needs to be done and the strength of character to do it.
None of us can get through life never hearing about our faults, and we shouldn’t. Some people have a way of pointing out personality flaws that wound and go straight to the heart and that is never fun, but it’s not bullying. Find your role in what happened, change that behavior, and then tell the person who told you “Thank you, but go fuck yourself.”. See…I just solved the world’s problems.
We can’t go on thinking that the world needs to change for us…we need to change the world. I want to raise kids who will stick up for themselves, others and stand up to people being creeps. I also want to raise non-whiners. Dang.
BTW, according to Teddy Roosevelt, bully meant wonderful.