It seems as though not a week goes by and we're hearing about some young person doing the unthinkable because someone had bullied them to the point where they thought they had no other options to escape the hurt. And every week my heart breaks for these young people and their loved ones. I want to turn back time. I want to find these kids and tell them that they are NOT what they're being called. I want to tell them that they are worthwhile and valuable people. I want to reach inside their tortured souls and heal their pain.
I have been very fortunate in that I have been teased in my life, but never bullied. I was never singled out and told horrible things relentlessly every day. I stretch my mind to try to imagine what it would be like. To have the hurtful teasing things that were yelled at me intermittently happen every day throughout the day. My mind reels with the idea. How do you fight against that? How do you find the worthwhile self inside of you despite all that and protect that inner self from the assault? Can parents help? Sometimes parents can be one of the offenders. I saw my niece's self-esteem whittled away by comments my brother and his wife made to her, all the while thinking they were helping.
Some schools have programs in place to teach about bullying and to try and stop it. But if a kid has been bullied long enough and heard enough negativity to the point where they believe it, how can we expect them to speak up for themselves and get the help they need? Perhaps it starts with ourselves and our children. If we see bullying, we step in and say something. We teach out children to do the same. To rise up and defend those who for whatever reason can't defend themselves. We do the right thing when we can where we can.
Maybe there are no easy answers. Maybe there are no answers at all. Perhaps all we can do is our little part.