This week has been a difficult week for me work wise. In fact I think I have finally found my Kryptonite for writing. I’ve had this horrible cold that simply will not go away. It is finally wearing off enough for my brain to function, thankfully. So I apologize for not submitting the new post for the IWTBAW Series. Instead I’m going to take a step away and post something else that has been weighing on my mind for the past couple of days.
My kids came home from school on Wednesday and both of them were obviously upset about something. My daughter immediately threw down her book bag and proceeded to tell me about this child that was sitting behind her on the bus, hitting her repeatedly on the head because my daughter refused to show her something. I had to take a few moments and let the temperature of my blood cool down from its immediate spike to boiling. It was obvious my daughter wasn’t wounded or bruised physically. So I proceeded to calmly ask what she did about it. She did nothing. I was immediately flabbergasted. This was not my daughter that lives to get her brother in trouble in any way she possibly can. She’s the youngest, in fourth grade, and my son is a freshman in high school. So I immediately turned to him and asked why he didn’t do anything about it? His response was that he didn’t know it was going on. Once again, I had to allow my blood to cool down.
As angry as I was with that child that was bullying my daughter, I was angry with both of my children for allowing it to happen and doing nothing to about it. I can understand my son was sitting too far away to know anything. But this is an obvious sign of problems that need to be addressed. We have always told our children to stand up for themselves and never allow someone else to physically or verbally harm them. Right, wrong, or indifferent to today’s society view, I would much rather my children get in trouble for the right reasons than get hurt for the wrong. I will proudly stand next to my children knowing they were standing against those that believe they have a right to abuse someone.
Now you are probably wondering why I am ranting about this to you. It’s a common problem that kids deal with. But it’s obvious it has become an epidemic that is creating such emotional turmoil in our children’s lives that kids simply do not know how to deal with these issues anymore. Most people want to immediately jump on the blame bandwagon and blame the bus driver, the teachers, the school administration, etc. But think about this; if we teach our children that they have the right to stand up for their own rights, then would bullying be such an issue? Most bullies only do what they do for attention. They are often victims themselves and the only way they know how to deal with their emotions is to take them out on someone else they see as an easy target.
We have all heard the phrase spoken by Jesus in the bible that says we should turn the other cheek. But what most people do not understand is that Jesus was not talking about allowing other people to abuse you, he was talking about not giving power to someone that is only looking for a reaction from you in which they can feed from. Jesus was not passive. He did not allow wrongs to continue and back down as a slave. He stood up and declared what was right even when he knew he would be punished for it. That is what we should be teaching our children. Whether you are a Christian or not. It doesn’t matter If we are all born equal as we want to believe then we must be willing to stand up to the things that take equality away from us. That is a concept that is only considered revolutionary when it is perceived by those under oppression.
Now I’m not saying that we need to teach our children that fighting is the answer, but I’m not saying that it is not a solution either. There are ways to prevent a physical fight and those need to be used to their fullest extent but if they do not work then that does not mean our children need to bow down and allow someone to beat them to a bloody pulp either. We need to stop teaching our children that they need to rely on someone else for their safety. Telling a teacher or authority figure about an issue you are having is the most favorable solution but what happens when there is no one around to tell in order to stop the situation from getting out of control?
The simple fact of the matter is, a bully will not act out on someone they cannot control. We teach our children, or at least we should teach them that they must accept the consequences for their actions. Allowing someone else to hold power over you is a consequence of an action. There is a vast difference between respect and giving one’s power to another. I want my children to respect their teachers, adults, elders, classmates, friends, and family. But that does not mean they have the right to abuse my children. If my children are afraid of a child that they have no right to be afraid of, then how much worse will it be if it is an adult attempting to abuse them?
But it doesn’t stop at just standing up for one’s self. We must also teach our children the importance of standing up for those that are abused as well. This is where “turning the other cheek” has been the most abused. We have a responsibility as humans to care for each other. Whether you like the person or not, allowing a wrong to continue is only giving power to the person performing the wrongful act. That is how evil dictators gain power. That is how democracy fails.
Think about this; the only true rights we have are the ones we are born with. All others are earned. We have the right to live and breathe as individuals. We have our own minds, our own voices, and we alone hold control of our own power. Everything else is something we must earn. To say that we have the right to be given anything is doing nothing but giving the person who issues it power over us. There is no such thing as entitlement. The only true rights we have are those in which only we can lose for ourselves. If you are afraid to stand up for yourself then you have no rights because you have passed them on to the one attempting to take them away from you. You are now a slave.