while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States."
-- J. Bartlett Brebner --
There was a discussion of bullying on the radio today. All of the participants said that they had suffered some degree of bullying in school. One said that schools are trying to address it, but are having difficulty defining bullying. Is it physical only? Does it include mental and emotional? In person or online, too?
I have no difficulty defining bullying. It is any action whatsoever, in any shape, form, or forum, taken with the sole purpose of hurting another person, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or socially.
(Of course there are things that must be done that result in hurt to another, like firing an employee or breaking up with a lover, but that's not bullying because there's a larger purpose. The hurt is not the primary motive, it's an incidental byproduct.)
I never experienced bullying in school. I don't know why. Maybe I went to school in an innocent time? Maybe the schools I attended, and there were many, from the deep south to the far north, were populated by nicer people? It certainly wasn't because I was one of the popular kids, although I wasn't invisible, either. Maybe I was too dense to recognize it or too numb to suffer from it? If there was ever any bullying, it came from the occasional teacher who was threatened by my questions.
I think Daughter did experience bullying. She complained of nasty kids on the school bus. I figured that if I attempted to do anything about it, that would make it worse. I do still feel guilty about that.
I don't understand at all why people bully others. I really truly don't. You get the response that "they feel inadequate and picking on weaker kids makes them feel more powerful", but that sounds too simple and doesn't really explain it. Why do they feel inadequate? Even people who feel themselves inadequate can have compassion, can't they?
The stupid kids pick on the smart ones. The poorer kids pick on the better-off ones. The fashionable kids pick on the less with-it kids. The good looking kids pick on the less beautiful ones. Some of those kids seem to have the attitude that other kids who aren't just like them don't deserve to breathe. Where does this attitude come from?
I think it starts in the home. It's not just what they are taught or not taught, but also what they have seen and heard from the day they were born.
I think we've got some nasty parents out there. Gossiping. Competition. Nasty talk. Hate. Intolerance. The kids who see, hear, sense that every day will be deeply influenced by it. If we are ever to cure bullying, we have to start with the parents.
....The current political climate isn't helping.