“Anti-bullying” is the new hot commodity. And everyone seems to have an expert opinion… people who haven’t been bullied.
Two nights ago I was watching TV and an ad for the “news at 11:00” came on. A robotic anchorman declared, “A backpack that your kids can wear to prevent bullying… news, at 11:00.”
Doing research on the subject, I found web sites where you can buy signs and banners where PhD’s argue, “This anti-bullying sign will motivate students to think positively and care for others.”
I’d love to line up a panel of 10 bullied kids and ask them. “How are those anti-bullying signs working?” If they were being completely candid, one kid would probably share, “Someone rolled up one of those anti-bullying banners just last week and beat the snot out of me with it!”
The fact is, bullying was a problem 50 years ago, it was 20 years ago, and it still is today. I’m not speaking as a guy who studies youth culture right now, or as a guy who’s been in youth ministry almost 20 years… I sharing as a guy who was bullied (and when you see my picture from when I was in elementary school… you’ll see why I was bullied). In fact, my dad was bullied, I was bullied, and my son was bullied… big time. Forget “anti-bully” signs for a minute. Let’s look at the problem for what it is, and how we can really take a dent out of it.
I went ahead and posted the article early. It’s the Youth Culture Window article for next week. It’s titled, “Voices of the Bullied” (CLICK HERE). It was an emotional piece to write, especially the parts about my son Alec. Alec went through the article with me and gave input throughout. I hope it’s a help to parents and youth workers who work not only with bullied kids, but with bullies.
(Oh yeah… and you’ll see that picture of me too. Be nice!)