This is a word that can engender all kinds of reactions nowadays. Not only does the bullying not stop when the school day is over, it can have long-lasting effects that last for years or even permanently in the cases of the kids who just can’t take any more abuse and commit suicide. And then we have adults on both sides of the issue. The parents of the children who are doing the bullying who don’t believe their child is doing anything wrong, and the parents of the bullied child who can’t get any help from school officials or any other adults to stop the bullying. Or there are parents who actively support the bullying saying that the bullied child deserves it. I had not been keeping up with the Steubenville, Ohio story so I was horrified to hear the stories of what happened when the verdict was announced. About how there were two boys whose lives had been ruined. How about the girl who had been raped? What about her life? Why weren’t people calling to account these boys’ behavior? I made the comment at a couple of different places on the Internet that this was something my husband and I wouldn’t tolerate from our boys.

Honestly though, I shouldn’t be surprised. What’s sad to me is that society has tacitly approved this behavior even with all the efforts to stop it. Being different is not accepted. We’re all supposed to be the same. Watching people being abused in some form or fashion has become commonplace in many different kinds of media. Bullying is one of the reasons my children were pulled from public school. Making fun of a child who was small for his age was just something that was expected and something he shouldn’t have been sensitive about. I said, ‘Hogwash.’  We pulled them both from public school to homeschool them and haven’t looked back. It took him a solid year before he felt better about himself.

I was bullied myself in middle school. It was a long time ago, but I remember the words that were said as clear as day, and what happened affects me to this day.  Why though do you not hear about those cases from long ago? Can it be said that efforts to regulate behavior were more successful? That parents and the educational system supported each other and didn’t tear each other down? It’s hard to know. What I do know is that all of us need to do a better job of treating each other like we would want to be treated. I think this world would be a better place if we could.

Until next time, be real!