One of the wisest insights in life that I ever got was from Eleanor Roosevelt, the former first lady of America. She said that no one can make you feel bad about yourself without your consent, or something to that effect. So, if someone calls you a loser, but you know that you are not then all you will find is pity for the one accusing you of being a loser and may even enable you to see that other person as being a loser. On the other hand, if, somewhere in the deepest recesses of your mind, you believe that you are a loser then you are going to be hurt by someone calling you a loser, regardless of the reality. It’s that simple.
So, when children feel bullied, it is because, to some degree, rightly or wrongly, they believe what the bullies are saying about them. So, the simple antidote to bullying is to believe in oneself. The long answer involves morality, values, ethics, integrity, honor and honesty or our Six Pillars. This, of course, is no easy thing to teach children, because these concepts are difficult to communicate to children. So, I will attempt to convey at least the basics of what one needs to teach children for them to be able to withstand bullying, at least to some degree.
First and foremost, we have to make children understand that the idea of winners and losers at their age is ridiculous. Many very famous people did not succeed until very late in their life, so the idea of a 8-18 year old knowing that someone is a loser or another is a winner is absurd to the nth degree. Children have to be taught this lesson, and they must believe it. Second, children must be taught that the use of initial force, whether that be physical or verbal, is one of the key hallmarks of an evil person, and an evil person is, by definition, a loser. Therefore, by extension and definition, bullies are losers. And, this is the only true loser among children. Third, children have to be taught that losers and winners cannot be discerned through superficial and pretentious cues such as what clothes someone wares, the music they enjoy, the sports that they play or don’t, their physical appearance, the car that they drive, where they live, what material possessions they have or don’t have, or any other superficial or pretentious indicators. Fourth, children must learn that what defines you, and that which makes you a winner or loser as one grows up are six things: Morals, values, ethics, integrity, honor and honesty, i.e., our Six Pillars. Full stop, period the end. And, it should be self-evident that our Six Pillars have little or nothing to do with the superficial or pretentious. And, if you have the proper Six Pillars, you wouldn’t bully any one or have the need to, and if you are a bully then you don’t have the proper Six Pillars. Fifth, children have to understand that bullies are typically very insecure and frightened themselves and need to tear down others to feel better about themselves. Sixth, bullies don’t respond well to force, so if bullied, children should gather their friends to defend against the bully/bullies. Seventh, teachers, parents and other authority figures should teach children that bullies are losers, regardless of superficial cues. Eighth, teach children the words needed to defend against bullies. For example, “it’s funny how losers always look for someone else to call loser, isn’t it?”, “what’s so sad in your life that you have to look for other people to make miserable?”, “does it help to take your insecurities out on another person?”, “what’s wrong, do you need to talk to someone?”, “there’s a lot of people who can help you deal with your anger, frustration and insecurities, why don’t you go talk to them?”, etc.
Like all darkness, light always has a way of unveiling reality and the truth. Parents, teachers, administrators and other people that have influence and oversight over children’s lives must be properly trained to deal with bullies and trained to help arm victims with the right tools to fight back against bullies and bullying. One of the greatest tools to fight against bullies and bullying is imbedded in the saying, “strength in numbers.” Bullies don’t do well against a superior number of people that oppose them. Therefore, children must be taught to support each other and ostracize bullies.
Fundamentally, in my experience, bullying starts at home. Whether the bully is unhappy at home or bullied children aren’t taught and armed properly at home by parents to fight back against bullies. This means that anti-bully education has to start with the parents and the education of both parents and children must involve understanding the psychology of bullies and why they bully. Then both the parents and children must be taught to understand what defines people, why, and, therefore, how to defuse what the bullies are trying to do and accomplish. Once children understand all of this, bullied children often find that bullies are sad, pitiful people that need a lot of help. Once this dawns on the bullied child, they can often find ways to stop the bullying on their own.
The bottom-line is that our society’s focus on the superficial and pretentious gives bullies a lot of material to work with and use to hurt others. Therefore, arming bullied children with the right philosophy and tools can greatly diminish the materials that a bully has to work with and, eventually, help stop the bullying. The key to diffusing bullying is truth and Justice and the definition of a “loser.” If children are properly educated about what it means to be a human then often the bullying will have little to no effect and, in most successful situations, like water off of a ducks back.
Please note that I am not a psychologist/psychiatrist, teacher, school administrator, principal or directly involved with the education of children. Therefore, my perspectives and opinions on this matter are based on personal experiences and not on professional training or professional experience.
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