I don’t need to replay the gore-filled details of the bully issue facing the country right now. We are all hearing it on the news. Teens killing themselves after being harrassed twenty-four seven thru on-site school incidents, Facebook, texts, phone messages and Twitter. It really hurts my soul to think about Phoebe Prince’s last days and feeling of hopelessness that must have sent her over the edge. I can’t think about it anymore.
So, instead I started to think about the history of bullies in my personal experience. Remember Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver? He was the guy who was polite in front of Beaver’s parents and then was a pig to Beaver when no one was around. I remember bullies in grammar school. They were loners who were usually not the sharpest knife in the drawer, generally boys, and they used their fists to bully. The fear was being beaten up.
I remember my stepson Adrian kept getting his ski jacket stolen off his back by a gang of bullies on his way home from school. They were traveling the streets around five pm in the winter just as it got dark. But they didn’t know him. It wasn’t personal. He was a sensitive kid, and actually he might have been bullied at school, but if he was, he never mentioned it. And, when he came home from school, there was nothing to continue the bullying. He was surrounded by his siblings and parents who loved him.
So, now it’s the girls (maybe even more than the boys) and it’s the cool girls. I was a cool girl and to be honest, we were so self-involved we didn’t think about those outside our group. They just weren’t on the radar, and certainly we never, not once, thought about tormenting anyone. I swear. We tee peed a house on Halloween once. But we just picked the house down the street and never knew who lived there. So, this baffles me. If you are in the cool group, why do you need to torment those outside the group? It would be like Bill Gates robbing a bank. What would be the point? He already has the money.
Who plants the seed for the hatred? What fun is there in tormenting another? I don’t get it. The fun in being in the cool group when I was in school was in participating in the school activities. There was a community there, and it included football games, school plays, the Jills singing group, and a host of other ‘cool’ activities that took place at school or with the school’s supervision. We were way too busy ruling the school world to think about tormenting people.
So, is it the new media options that is presenting this awful culture? Is it the community that is ruled by the kids (Facebook, Twitter, texting) that is creating a Lord of the Flies type of island ruled by the kids? Or, is it the parenting of these kids? Is it the school? Where is the fertile ground that allows the seed of this virus planted that allows it to grow without control?
I am not allowed to talk about my fabulous daughter on my blog. But if I could, I might put forth a story such as this. There might have been a certain girl in middle school who was a tormentor. She would have been a loser, and I would have told my amazing child to mark this moment because this moment of power in this tormentor’s life was the highlight of her life, not her future. I would have told her that this girl would peak in power in this time whereas the rest of the girls would grow and become their most powerful selves later. Years later, we would have seen the girl on a bench in New York City, and it would have turned out that she wasn’t going to college, looked terrible – sloppy and out of it, and I would have reminded Sarah of the moment six years earlier when this personage owned the school space that was her universe and had the power to determine the standing of every girl in her small world. It would have been a moment.
I hope someone can more than fix the problem with school groups that address change in the school. I wish someone would figure out from whence it comes? Where does it originate? That’s the part that scares me the most. In this new world of the realization that positive energy begets positive energy, this negative, toxic energy has to be sucked out of our teen youths … now.