This Friday, May 4th, is the inagural “Stand for Change” day – a day in which participating schools across the US will attempt to raise awareness of bullying in our youth.
I wasn’t a stranger to bullying as a child. I remember a boy named Randy decided to make me his target in 5th grade. For virtually half the school year he threatened me with his fists and chased me. When I finally told my mother and grandmother about it, my grandmother happened to get off early so she came by the school to pick me up. I felt so brave with her there that I walked right up to Randy with my head held high and planted myself about a foot in front of him. He gripped the front of my t-shirt all the way up to my chin (I still can feel the embarrassment of having my bare chest exposed to everyone) then rared back the other fist to punch me. Lo and behold, here comes my Savior disguised as a white haired lady – belting out of a yellow Ford Pinto and hauling ass across the parking lot. Once Randy saw her, he ran away as fast as he could. He was almost laughed out of class the next day for the incident. Nothing like your family’s love! Incidentally, Randy never bothered me again, and we even ended up becoming close friends in Junior High School.
I’m fortunate not to have experienced any bullying from other females. The same sex can be so competitive, especially in this day and age. Add to that all the social networking sites and internet that we didn’t have back then… well you get my point.
It’s true that today, over 160,000 kids stayed home from school from fear of bullying. FEAR. A word I so despise… especially when paired with intimidation. That type of fear is gut-wrenching, especially when you feel like you’re in it alone. It’s a fear that can escalate into suicidal thoughts, and actions. If that’s not enough to grab our attention, I don’t know what is.
I’m sad to learn only certain states or even lone cities here in the US are participating in this classroom awareness event on Friday – Florida seems to be the largest participant and I applaud them for that. Remember that even if you don’t have young children – bullying has probably affected your life in some way, shape or form. Perhaps you remember how it felt to be bullied as a child – maybe you have grandkids to worry about. Promoting awareness and just plain getting it out in the open is crucial.
There’s no place for hate. We have more than enough hate to deal with as adults – we need to do everything we can to protect our children.
Stand for Change. http://stand4change.org/
No Place for Hate. http://www.adl.org/npfh/