I know that everybody is probably sick of hearing about bullying from the media, etc, but you know me, now. I have to say my piece.
When I was in first year university, I wrote a Sociology paper about different societies. I based it off the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman. I basically stated in my paper that High School is broken down into smaller societies (cliques), and then went on to discuss the pecking order. What I didn't realize then is that this doesn't end with high school.
I got a 98% on that paper and was told by my prof that it was the highest mark she has ever handed out on a university paper. Not too shabby. Also, if you have a daughter you should read that book. It's a good one.
I know that everybody has an opinion on this latest case of bullying in the media with Amanda Todd. Of course the general consensus is that it's terrible that a child her age was bullied to such an extent. There are a few asses out there who say that she "deserved it", which pains me to put in writing, for the record, because she had sex with some guy, and flashed someone over the internet, or whatever she did. And there are the scattered few saying that she had attempted suicide for attention and then succeeded. These people are morons, just FYI.
I've heard people say that they hope that their children are never bullied, and that they hope their children don't grow up to be bullies, etc. Do you know what I think, though? I think that to be a bully is a learned behavior and I think we all need to start taking a look at ourselves.
I think that bullying is overlooked when we leave grade school, but there is a shocking amount of it that occurs in adulthood, through the workplace, groups of friends, etc. As the mother of a daughter, especially, I feel like it's my responsibility to set an example for her that to make someone feel less than adequate is completely unacceptable no matter the circumstance.
When I found out I was pregnant with a little girl, I panicked. I remember thinking about everything she was going to have to deal with as a teenager. The spats with her friends, her first crush, peer pressure to drink, to try drugs, to be thin, to have sex. I remember thinking that boys would be so much easier, and praying that she would be well liked and certainly not the victim of bullying.
Now that she's here, however, my tune has changed a little. I want her to be empowered. I want her to love her body, to be confident in her abilities, to be loyal to her friends. And, even more than I dread her being bullied, I dread her being a bully.
I can't think of anything that would make me feel like more of a failure as a parent than to learn that my child has purposefully made another human being to feel like they are not good enough or that they are alone.
How am I going to teach her this, you ask? By (attempting) to set an example. People are constantly asking, "How do we fight bullying? How do we make it stop? How do we fix the situation?"
We fix it by setting an example as adults.
In reality, we are all a bunch of hypocrites. We sit and weep over another young life lost, but within a couple of days we are on the phone to our girlfriends discussing this one and that one. As a society we are consumed with each other's lives, and particularly with judging them. How can we then tell our children that it's not right for them to do the same?
We, of course, are all human. I'm not saying that we have to all like each other, but we absolutely have to treat each other with respect. To be treated with respect is a basic human right and if I can teach that one lesson to my daughter, I can honestly say that I will always be proud of her, she will always be proud of herself, and in her life, she will be okay.
Gandhi has a famous quote saying, "be the change you want to see in the world."
When does that start, I wonder?