Little kids are often subjected to gossip and taunts by other little kids, or even members of one’s own family. By any name it is still bullying. Some rise above it and move on, developing a thicker skin. Others just can’t. If it happens often enough, and no one can defuse the hurtful incidents, these vulnerable children can grow up to be withdrawn, bullies themselves or, worse yet, feel such anger they lash out at an unkind world. Perhaps the recent catastrophic mass shootings around our country were perpetrated by angry adults who were once hurting children.
Sadly, our world is also populated with adults who still engage in gossip, taunts and the spreading of unkind rumors. Bullies all. The results are not as horrific as murder and mayhem, but the thoughtless words still wreak emotional havoc on the targeted victims. Sadly, most of us have listened to hurtful gossip, sometimes even passing it on without a care for the targeted person. We should not condone this form of bullying in ourselves or others. And certainly we should nip this kind of behavior in children if we can.
I know someone who has been victimized in this way. If you, or someone you know, have been engaging in gossip, no matter how benign or malicious, perhaps the following thoughts of Steve Maraboli, noted motivational speaker, will give some perspective. He asks this: “How would your life be different if you stopped allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with their words or opinions. Let today be the day you stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others.”
The following ten anonymous quotations found online might also give you pause depending on whether you have been the recipient or deliverer of gossip, rumor or innuendo.
If you know someone who gossips and spreads rumors, find a way to show integrity. Maraboli would probably suggest that you ask yourself this. “How would your life and the lives of others be different if you walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day you speak only the good you know of people and encourage others to do the same.” He might go on to say that instead, “plant seeds of happiness, hope, success and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature."
Here are some concrete ways to help children in your life. Right now we are hearing a lot about the Bully Project where kids are “taking a stand against bullying, and taking a pledge to join the movement.” The movie, called simply Bully, is aimed at middle and high school age children and is being shown across the country. There is much media buzz on CNN and elsewhere describing its success to date. Since a picture or video is worth a thousand words, go to the following link and learn all about this exciting program. http://www.thebullyproject.com/
In the movie five kids and their families are followed for a year showing in painful detail what many children go through, and how often adults are ignorant or feel helpless to fix the problem. You could take children you know to the movie, perhaps with a friend or relative. You could also be really proactive and see if your local school wants to get involved. Basically, tell everyone you know about this movie and your concerns for the youth in our country. Perhaps it will rub off on adults we know who will see that they are part of the problem
Another site that can help can be viewed at the Kids Health Website. Here is the link: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html