I want to thank Ms. Blodgett for allowing And He Restoreth My Soul Project to publish her work. I hope you enjoyed it.
Our next article is contributed by Rugeina Moore Henry and she is writing about The Good Part about Bullying. I know you are wondering what is the good part? Once you read the article you will understand the good part and what we can do to end bullying. Oh yes, did I tell you that Gina is my cousin? Thank you, Gina!
I know you will take something away with you once you read the article.
Darlene J. Harris
Rugenia Moore Henry is a life-long educator who is a past teacher, administrator, and counselor in states across the South and in the Midwest. Her experiences in language arts and literature on the secondary and junior college levels have kept her motivated to continue the mentorship of young people long after leaving the traditional classroom setting. As a language arts marketing manager for a well-known textbook publisher, she was provided educational opportunities not only in forty of the states in America but also parts of the Virgin Islands. She has won numerous awards and earned various recognitions, including Teacher of the Year in both Arkansas and Tennessee. Her after classroom life involves teaching special needs individuals skills that will provide them with more independent lifestyles. Church affiliations and membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. keep her busy doing many of the activities she enjoys in her spare time.
The Good Part about Bullying
Bullying is not only morally wrong but, most importantly, it is spiritually wrong. Matthew 7:2 states, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Many people have written various articles on the subject of bullying until sometimes we may feel when we read them that we are literally “beating a dead horse.” As cliché-ish as this may sound, it is true. We are simply getting nowhere fast. There just are not that many ways to define, describe, or criticize bullying without repetition.
This worsening problem of bullying among children and adults keeps rearing its ugly head in the spiritual, secular, and now the political worlds. It is a spectacle to see grown-ups behave the way the politicians are behaving today. What are our children learning from all of this? Why should we expect them to behave differently from adults? Yes, I ask these questions out of urgency to make a change. This problem with bullying lies in what our adults are doing that promotes it. I tell you “no” but I demonstrate to you “yes”! It does not matter if it is verbal (mostly adults) or physical (mostly children), bullying is bullying and it is wrong! We are now seeing full-grown and thought-to-be intelligent adults indulging in the very behaviors we discourage in our young people. It only leads to “if it works for them, it can work for me” kind of mentality among children: If I can get what I want by demeaning others, lying, and cheating, then so it is.
Chew on this: the same issues the bully has, he causes the one who is bullied to have them also. If the bully has low self-esteem, he causes the bullied to have low self-esteem; if the bully is insecure, he causes the bullied to feel insecure; if the bully seethes resentment, he makes the bullied resentful; if the bully feels anger, hatred, and envy, he makes the bullied feel anger, hatred, and envy. The negative results of bullying are immeasurable.
Not long ago, I had a conversation with a staff member whose child was sent home from school for bullying another child. The young six-year-old sat with her head bowed in a corner of my school while her mother finished the workday. The child seemed to have been experiencing some degree of remorse. I walked over to the child to see if I could understand why she chose to bully, which involved cursing and kicking another student. She described her actions and told me the exact profanity she used without any hesitation at all. Her word flow was actually surprisingly impressive as I have always had difficulty using obscene language, especially with such fluidity. I then asked if she had ever seen anyone saying and doing what she did. She, again without hesitation and with such eloquence, told me that her mother does it all the time. This was one of two disappointments for me. When I shared the child’s answers with the mother, she, too, had seen her own mother behave the same when she herself was a young girl. I cried. This troubled me in a way that I immediately began to think about my own actions when my children were young. I could not think of any bullying behaviors; however, my conversation with this mother and child prompted me to have a conversation with my children about childhood remembrances of negative behaviors. Both of them recalled incidents that unexpectedly involved teachers not students. As caretakers – teachers, ministers, doctors, mothers, fathers, guardians – of the young and innocent, we have enormous responsibilities.
The good part about bullying is that there is hope for most children bullies, unlike the lack of hope for many adult ones. Adults are strong-headed, know-it-all kind of human beings who refuse to change, where children are usually meek and teachable and, in many cases, willing to embrace change. In order to overcome these behaviors before it is too late, it will take determined, powerful, and positive role models in the home and community to support children who have bullying tendencies. This means that we need to find ways to separate them early in life from caretakers who are irreversible bullies. This separation may be physical or mental, but early intervention is a necessity. Yes, both absolute separation and meaningful intervention must occur when the primary caretaker is demonstrating bullying behaviors.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” We must be careful not to “train up a child” to be a bully.