|This is great, but will it actually|
result in change? Like all "wars on
this and that"...I highly doubt it.
If I were without critical thinking skills, I would be believing that bullying has become more and more prevalent (and definitely more dangerous) than ever before. But has it really? What are the differences between the bullying of the past and that of the present? Why would bullying be so mainstream when we have embraced individual differences, assertive communication, and definitely awareness to the cause?
I have to admit, I was only bullied only once in my youth (I was never really picked on in school). Her name, interestingly enough, was Kathy and because of some crap disturber friend of hers telling her I called her fat (which wasn't the case, in those days I never really thought of body size) she was after me all summer. Her threat of beating the crap out of me followed me around for three months until finally, when I inevitably met up with her at the end of the summer, I just gave in and said..."go ahead, take your best shot". After that, and no black eye, she left me alone. Go figure.
Those were the days without the Internet. We didn't even have CDs. Facebook or twitter or texting was something out of a Star Trek episode. The bullies were tough and scary, however. They meant business and would pound the crap out of you ...just like today. Parents told us to suck it up or fight back and the teachers could not have cared less. Today, parents and teachers are aware of this public health concern (even if some decide to turn their backs on it). We are told to turn the other cheek or just say no to bullying...but is this providing a disservice to the kids today?
In response to the latest suicide by bullying, the politicians are now considering policy (after many campaigns) to end bullying. But will we ever end bullying? In a society that is growing more depressed and angry with the gap between the middle and upper classes growing, it's only going to get worse in my hunble opinion. So how can we protect the targets? We can't. What we can do is focus on resiliency and assertive communication....and let's face it, sometimes just standing up for one's self and looking the bully in the eyes is all you need.
Do we talk about resiliency in the schools? Do parents even know, themselves, what it is? For one to be resilient, one must posses the following (in a nutshell)...
1. Positive beliefs and attitudes: this may include beliefs in ones abilities, beliefs that everything happens for a reason, a positive disposition, positive attitudes or higher level of self efficacy.
2. A perception of control: this is most important for health and stress management. It is important for us to feel like we have control over our lives; we call the shots and aren't under the control of others.
3. Resources: community-based and personal social connectedness (along with getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising) will help us deal with the stresses of every day life (and the other stuff).
For youth to be resilient, confidence in ones self, a perception of control, and enough resources to feel supported (and not alone) are needed. I do believe it takes a community and isn't the responsibility of just the teachers or parents. BUT it is necessary for teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, and next door neighbours (a.k.a our society) to become more aware of resiliency; enough to instill it in our children. AND...to ask the question "are you alright" when you even think someone appears off. This is could be the difference between life and death.