Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Story: Bullying

After seeing THIS this morning I decided that I would share a story.  It seems to be all baby stuff around here lately (which is fine since this is my journal and my baby basically makes up my whole life now, but ya know) and I haven't even began to tell half of the stories that make up my life, so here ya go....

I grew up Catholic (I attend a Methodist church now) and attended a private Catholic school called St. Joseph's.  It was a fairly small school in a very small town and I went there from kindergarden through sixth grade, at which point I decided that I wanted to attend public school.  From Kindergarden through sixth grade I was with the same group of kids.  Like I said, small school, only one class per grade.  We would have around one or two new kids join our class each year, but there were a solid twelve to fifteen of us that were the "original."  I'm not sure how it happened, but I was a part of the cool kids club which happened to be all boys.  I essentially ran with the boys.  We were the kings of the playground and did mean things like push people off the jungle gym and down the slide.  My class was really into kick ball and four square, we would all play together and somehow it was always the best against the worst.  Do you see what I'm saying? I was a bully.

I was mean.  Really mean.  I started being hard-core mean in third grade to a girl named Susie.  She was whiny, didn't like me, and just uncool.  She was constantly tattling on me which only pushed me to be even more mean to her.  For example, in fourth grade our teacher (Mrs. Cunningham) had a cactus that was tiny red prickly spines all over it.  If you touched it with your finger, your finger would be covered in them and it would burn.  I took Susie's eraser and covered it with the red spines.  So. Mean. Susie wasn't my only classmate I was mean to.  In, I believe, fourth grade we got a new student named Ryan.  I'm not sure why, but I did not like him at all.  I would pick on him all the time and I would even rally my other friends to do the same.  Ryan ended up leaving the school before the year was up because of how mean we were to him.  (As fate would have it, Ryan ended up moving onto my street a couple of years later and we became the best of friends for years and years and years.)  

I would get demerits each time was mean and got told on but I was never given a stern talk.  No one ever called me a bully.  No one ever told me to stop.  I had no self-esteem issues, so why did I do it?  It was important for me to be cool, I wanted to impress my friends.  WHY does impressing our friends mean that we have to hurt other people? Why should we even have to impress our friends.

I'm not proud of it.  I'm sad about it.  I will raise Cooper to have the kindest heart, just like my mom tried to do with me.  We all know that bullying is a bigger issue now than ever before and we need to put an end to it.  Parents need to instill in their children that being kind is the only way to be.  I fully intend to tell Cooper about my bullying days.  I'm not sure how I'll do it, but I think that providing him with real-life examples will be nothing but beneficial.  It needs to be known the bully's aren't always the kids with the self-esteem issues and divorced parents, it's the ordinary, smart kids too.

So there's my story. Did you ever bully? Were you bullied? What will you teach your kids about bullying?

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  1. It really is sad how far we will go to impress our "friends." I know I get caught up in gossiping all the time, and will say things or agree with things that I don't even feel, they just come out so that I can maintain an active part of the conversation. I hope to teach my kids to love their little hearts out. Love is such an important thing to me, and I feel like for so long I was afraid to love because I was scared of being hurt (still am working on that haha). But I want to teach my kids that loving is a beautiful thing, and can be shown in so many different fashions to even the acquaintances in your life.

  2. I was the typical 'Mean Girl' in the early years of high school (what would be Middle School in the US). I was the smart, skinny, popular girl with all the new clothes, a cute boyfriend and a little posse of 'Besties' that hung on my every word.. and I hated myself. I had an eating disorder, I cried myself to sleep every night but that didn't make me any nice, quite the opposite. I picked on one boy so hard he begged the teachers to let him leave school camp. I told one girl, in front of our entire grade that 'I don't even know why you think you have the right to talk to me, you're and ugly loser' which was just about the lowest thing I have ever done. EVER. I look back and cry at the things I said to other kids. I mean, that was some seriously nasty stuff.
    But then the people I thought were my friends turned on me, in a terrible way. Well the boys did anyway and the girls did nothing to stop it. And then I got sick, really sick, because I'd hardly eaten in three years and was basically malnourished. So I ended up in hospital two states away for half a year and started healing from the inside. And I realised those people were never really my friends. I had never been able to trust them, never relaxed around them, so why did I even want to impress them. And I realised that inside, I was sweet and nice and kind and I just had to let that out more. So I did and when tenth grade started I was 10 kilos heavier with my hair back to it's natural brown and I was a completely different person, the person I still am.

    Bullies today have so many more ways to make life miserable for kids, with texting, Facebook etc, I'm glad none of that was around when I was their age ( well not to the extent it is now anyway). I truly hope I am able to raise children who are happy enough in themselves that they don't want to upset others. I want children who realise how much healthier it is to love someone than to hate them. I hope I raise a child who is compassionate and kind but I know it's a little out of my control.