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Stop The Hurting

November 29, 2011
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

No matter where you go, amidst all the flash and glitter, the underlying reason for this season remains the simple idea that a child was born a long time ago who gave his life for us - a selfless act of putting the needs of the many above the needs of the few.

But today, all over the world, even in our community, the needs of the many are being pushed aside by the needs of the few, or even, just one person.

There's a simple word for this situation - bullying.

It's a topic that never seems to go away. Unfortunately, it is a practice that seems to ebb and flow at times. Bullying goes on at all levels all over the world - we hear about it in lands where dictators rule with an iron fist.

But more often than not, bullying occurs in a school setting, where some students end up on the wrong end of attention, usually non-positive and belittling, meted out by other students. Most times, the issues resolve themselves.

However, I've been made aware of some recent episodes that have prompted transfers to different school districts to escape the thoughtless, cruel practice.

The problem with bullying is the damage it can do perhaps not immediately, but in the long term, to an individual who is the target of such activity.

We've all heard about the extreme cases where youth have taken their own lives to escape the cruel posts on social media sites started by classmates as a joke, a joke with terrible consequences. In some of those cases, parents who "looked the other way" when such bullying was going on, were charged with aiding and abetting in some of those cases, right along with their children who started the bullying and wouldn't end it.

Thankfully, none of the cases in this area have been as extreme, but the damage has been done.

One social media site had an interesting post recently, which gave a very practical and down-to-earth look at the issue of bullying.

"A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but not to rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they were sorry.

Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind on the sheet of paper - and that those scars will never go away, no matter how hard they tried to fix it.

That is what happens when a child bullies another child. They may say they're sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home."

That's quite the explanation, but in a very simplistic way, it says volumes about something that too many young people, and perhaps even adults, take for granted. Bullying can take many forms, physical, verbal and mental and each one leaves its mark on the recipient.

There's an effort to address bullying at a young age in our schools, a perfect place to teach the hurtfulness of bullying, but to make such an effort work, everyone needs to be on board and strive to put an end to bullying at all ages.

As children, we were always taught to treat people the same way we'd want to be treated. It was called the Golden Rule. It seems sad that such a simple rule seems to be so easily forgotten by so many.

 
 
 

 

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