Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Who spreads unkind rumors and gossip?  I call them bullies.  Unwilling to confront directly, these people, both adults and children, use the power of words to intimidate, frighten and compel others to their way of thinking.  Cyber bullying has had a great negative impact leaving its victims powerless to respond, and in some cases, taking their own lives.

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 If it happens often enough, and no one can defuse the hurtful incidents, these vulnerable children can grow up to be withdrawn, bullies themselves or, worse yet, feel such anger they lash out at an unkind world.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. 

1.  “I’m okay with people talking about me behind my back, as long as they know what they’re talking about. 

2.  “I’ve always hated being gossiped about.  When I heard that people were talking about me I consoled myself with what my mother once told me. ‘Birds peck at the best fruit.’"  

3. “Fake friends believe the rumors told about you and judge you for them.  Real friends hear the rumors told about you and defend you, knowing they are not true.” 

4.   “No matter how small something is, if it’s not your business don’t spread it.”

5.  “Try not to take things personally; what people say about you is a reflection of them, not you.

6.  “Whoever gossips TO you will gossip ABOUT YOU.  It’s like this cycle that never ends.

7.  “Rumors are like fires.  No one admits to starting them and before you know it, they’re out of control.”

8.  “If you didn’t see it with your own eyes, or hear it with your own ears, don’t invent it with your small mind, and share it with your big mouth.”

9.  “Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.”

10. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it.

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.

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:

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