Bullying was a part of every school day back in middle school. It never failed. Some overweight kid with issues at home – like most of us - was notorious at strong arming me and several others. I will not mention his name in this forum because he is still lurking. If I am not mistaken he has been arrested several times, spent a few years of fed time incarcerated for pushing weight, and now struggling to be different with a Scarlet Letter, Convict. Wanting to be different from what kept him in the midst of America’s government supported illegal activity: Narcotic Sales and Distribution.
With all the compassion I have in my body, I cannot believe that pre-teens and teenagers are killing themselves because a school mate teases and mocks. Mutual public humiliation is a right of passage. Everyone gets a taste of being called: Bumpy Face, Fatty, Big Nose, Elephant Ears, Peanut Head, Darkie, Skinny Stick, Douchebag…the list is long - and brutal. As a kid, you are forced to give up you hamburger while being called a faggot and/or cunt. It is expected to be treated like trash. This is what kids do.
When I was growing up we dealt with it. We went to school and faced it until it was our turn to deliver the vile treatment to the underclassman. I recall an area outside of Mrs. Stumps classroom where my gang (The Elites) congregated in the morning before the opening bell. Our sole purpose was to harass girls and boys who dared to walk down the hallway. We were relentlessly cruel. Did not matter who it was e.g. sweet girls, cool boys, etc. we were out to make the day begin with the most insulting of insults. Then we would continue during lunch with the behavior. Again, it was never ending. But, no one committed suicide.
Actually, I am in amazement that suicide is an option for these kids. Perhaps, I should not be scratching my head at the latest news reports. Youth of today are not like we were. We were strong-willed. Determined to prove each other wrong. Today, what we have is a Nation of Punks that gives the impression that they have it all under control. They don’t. In their independence and information age thinking there is a huge void. They lack a serious amount of common sense. They have a shortage of ‘what to do if’ understanding. They cannot handle the pressure that comes with accepting the role of ‘please dad, I got this’. So, the most recent casualty should not be too much of a surprise.
Options are what we as parents and adults have when it comes to parenting and leading. We are the root cause of the emptiness these zombies for kids possess. We are failing our kids. Expect more suicides as long as we continue to parent from afar while living in the same homes with our children. No dinner time together. No world news viewing together. No Sunday afternoon drives together just to talk. Nope. We too busy on our devices e.g. BlackBerrys and cell phones. And, too busy thinking prayer back in schools will eliminate getting a ‘friendly’ beat-down. Bullying has always one-up’ed prayer!
Written by Brian E. Payne.