So I was meditating in the shower today – as I often do – and was suddenly struck by the idea of being a peer example. Like, you know live by what you want to see and all that jazz but slightly deeper. I wouldn’t call it an Ah-Hah moment but let me try to explain.
The year is 2004. I am in Grade 12. One of my courses is entitled: Performance Drama. The whole idea of this course is to take an anti-violence play and perform it around a bunch of different schools in the Thames Valley District to promote anti-violence.
What was that years topic?
Tolerance of Homosexuality, Internet Abuse and Bullying.
Everyone laughs at the word bullying because it sounds childish – but it’s real – and it goes up into adulthood as well.
The play was called Oracle. A teenager, who is unsure of his sexuality, is coaxed into a false sense of security by a bunch of jocks through cyber-bullying. His is then guided along to the point of committing suicide on-line.
Doesn’t sound likely does it? That’s what we thought.
We were wrong.
We were supposed to go to a school in Strathroy and perform. We show up Monday morning ready to go to get the news: the show has been canceled.
We were like: why?
A kid had been forced to come out of the closet in the school – and then he was cyber bullied to the point where he went and hung himself in his backyard.
All I had to say was: Holy *crap*!
That knocked us back a notch. What if we had gotten to that school sooner? What would have happened if this kid was able to see what we were saying? What about the bystanders?
I think part of me is still haunted by our bad timing here – but I’m not the victim.
Thinking along the lines of bullying I thought to my brother who plays hockey. My brother is a phenomenal hockey player – and the other teams know it. So what do they do? They take him out physically. It’s like that fight that happened the other night in the Leafs vs. Sens game when Darcy Tucker grabbed a non-fighter and knocked his lights out.
Well other teams do that to my brother – he’s been knocked, kicked, punched, slashed, and slammed by anything and everything.
One team specifically whose coach happens to be one of my personal doctors back in London cheers every time they take my brother down – so do the coaches. My 12 year old brother was cross checked from behind in his neck by another 12 year old and his parents are trying to fight my brothers coach because their son got a penalty? What the hell?
When my brother gets checked to the ground or injured (the ambulance was called twice for him) the coaches cheer. Sportsmanship? Or just bad parenting? A bully will raise a bully no doubt about that. Why?
Bullies don’t know anything else. They’re too concerned about covering up what their lacking and projecting their faults onto others.
So – this post isn’t aimed at victims – God bless you. This post isn’t aimed at bullies – learn your lesson or be damned. It is aimed at the bystander.
Why do you sit around and not do anything when someone is picked on? When someone is beat up? When someone is threatened? Are you afraid? I’d be more afraid of the judgment I’d get from God by sitting back and letting the bullying continue. By being a bystander you are as much an accomplish as the bully.
And I’m not talking just grade school bully – I’m talking about bullying in highschool, from teachers (or profs), from in some cases youth pastors, from other employees, from coaches, from other teams, etc…
Don’t go and pick a fight in revenge – but stand up for the underdog.
World War Two started in a case of a bully.
Each bully has the potential to turn into a Hitler – are you going to let the neighborhood or the workplace bully become a Hitler?
Stand up – be a hero – you may be persecuted as well – but at least you’ll be an example.
What do you think might have happened if someone had stood up for the kid that hung himself in December of 2004? Do you think he might still be alive? Do you think his parents would have had to have a Christmas without him?
All I can say is – bystanders – you are worse then the bully if you don’t stand up and do something. By sitting by you are damning people by the second to death. I hope you can live with yourself for what you do.