Last Wednesday, February 29th, was Pink Shirt Day which was created to acknowledge and bring awareness to bullying.
In a interesting twist, it was also the day Rush Limbaugh made his now famous comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke. What? You haven’t heard? Mr. Limbaugh called Miss Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” after she made a statement before House Democrats that contraceptives should be covered under health plans.
While everyone is talking about Rush, his subsequent apology to Fluke, the exodus of many of his advertisers and whether he was right or wrong, all I see is a bully.
I find it interesting that so many adults are talking about bullying when in some forms they are a bully themselves. You can find adult bullies anywhere. You’ve seen them threaten the coach of their kids little league team. They may say demeaning words to a a server at a restaurant or cashier. Adult bullies are even in the workplace and aren’t necessarily the boss.
I don’t believe it’s the intention to become a bully as an adult. It may have more to do with survival of the fittest.
When we are children, our lives are mostly family, school, extra curricular activities, and church. Our circle is small. But as we grow up, our circle widens. In widening our circle we also widen they types of people we deal with on a daily basis. In many situations, we adapt to avoid being taken advantage of e.g. dealing with a mechanic who is trying to take us to the cleaners on a car repair or the cable company about a billing error. We assert our authority. We stand our ground. But do we ever go overboard?
It’s not just our actions but often, it’s our words that kids hear first. Kids are sponges. The soak up everything they see their hero/parent/teacher/coach say or do.
Before we can truly deal with bullying in schools and by kids, let’s ask ourselves:
- Am I contributing to the problem?
- Am I being a good example?
- Am I confident in who I am that I don’t have to put down others?
- Who’s feelings do I intentionally hurt?