Monday, April 23, 2007

Horrid examples of bullying and what you can do in your little corner of the world - good article - proactive! 

Here's one of the many ways I taught my own children to be tolerant: When they'd come home from play or school and tell me that someone was being bullied, I'd invited that child to dinner. Simple act. Huge lessons. We made cookies for a neighbor child who'd had a bad day. One time, I woke up to hear a child crying at the bus stop across the street, and I got up and drove him to school. We had a nice talk on the way there and I told him he was special before he got out of the car. Simple act. Huge consequences. Learning tolerance, developing empathy, accepting differences---these things are first studied at home.

I was bullied in fourth grade. There was a kid in my grade school who never liked me. He told me I looked like a monkey. He formed a club against me---an entire club that met in the coatroom. This kid came from an extremely successful family in terms of material comforts, but apparently empathy wasn't on the family resume. This kid actually went on to become a big wig. He went to Brown, became the right hand man for a huge media mogul and hung out with John F. Kennedy Jr. back in the day.

The bullying went on well into the 6th grade when I finally punched him in the nose and made him bleed. It had been two years of hell and I couldn't take it anymore. He went home and told on me and his mother called mine. I was punished--it was only right--but secretly I wondered if my mother felt I had been justified.

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