More and more often we see and hear incidents in our schools where a kid is suspended for bullying because the kid said an un-kind word to one of his classmates and made that person feel uncomfortable or somehow diminished.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not advocating full out harassment to the point where someone kills their own self because of the "Bullying".
I'm talking about day to day routine where one kid picks on another. Where name-calling and teasing exist. Where a weaker or "Different" kid is singled out and targeted for hazing. We've all been there. Did it kill us? Do we think less of ourselves because of it? NO! We all grew up to become, for the most part, well adjusted members of society.
These days, it seem as if any one looks sideways at someone else it's considered "Bullying" and the bully is singled out and punished.
Heaven forbid that a child has to go through their school years and be subjected to the occasional sleight or harsh word from a classmate!
No! We want our children sheltered from the harshness of the real world until they're out of school and ready to enter the workforce as a productive member of society.
But what then?
Imagine the newly minted worker on his or her first day of work when their boss criticizes them for not sweeping the floor well enough:
"Wait, sir! I'm feeling singled out and threatened by your bullying tone. You can't possibly mean to be speaking to me in that manner. I'll have to report this. You will be punished."
"Yeah, well you're fired. Go to the office and pick up your $11.43 paycheck and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!".
Really? Is this what we're coming to? You bet it is.
Bullying is a fact of life. It has been since the day when two hairy bipeds met up somewhere in Africa and one hit the other on the head with a rock. Bullying develops character and strengthens resolve. It helps us understand our place in the pecking order of our peers and gives us a perspective on life that, in the absence of bullying we would never have.
Some of us are stronger than others mentally, emotionally and physically. Nothing we do will change that. But in our society it doesn't matter. I'll bet that Hulk Hogan can kick Bill Gates' ass, but who would you rather be? See?
In my opinion the schools are leaning in the wrong direction on this. I'm not saying that bullying should be encouraged but that we should leave things be to sort themselves out. We should be watchful so that another tragedy can be averted but to totally eliminate the bullies from this period of formative development would be a disservice to our children. We'd be robbing them of a chance to gain personal and emotional insights into their lives.
As I stated earlier, I was bullied in school. I was harassed by a guy in middle school (Junior High School) to the point that I absolutely hated to go to school. He'd hit me and grab me in a head lock in front of my friends then steal what little money I had on me, then walk away laughing.
One day I'd had enough and without warning I physically attacked him off the school property with an old sweat sock full of wet sand and rocks. I swung it around my head and smacked him in the head and shoulders until he was bruised, bleeding and crying like a baby. All this in front of his buddies and others. He was bigger and tougher than me but I had the opportunity to end the torment and took it. He dropped out of school the next week and never came back.
I felt bad about hurting him because basically I'm a kind and gentle soul. I told my Dad about it and all he said was, "Good for you. Don't worry about it".
We owe it to the next generation to see that they have what they need to grow and prosper but to take away the opportunity for them to learn how to survive in the world, well... we're not doing them any favors in this case.