Last week there was a conference at the White House about bullying. This has been a growing concern over the past several years within the education and mommy communities. At a press conference (well, maybe not a press conference, but a televised session) with the President he confessed that with his "taxi cab ears" and his name, he had not been immune to bullying. Several seemed surprised, some of us could have guessed it.
Please don't take me wrong, I agree that bullying is wrong, and potentially very damaging and dangerous. It should be addressed and not swept under the rug. I dealt with it when I was growing up (being tubby, a "four-eyes", and a pentecostal preacher's kid). My children have dealt with it in varying forms over the years, and I have no doubt that they have said hurtful things at times to others. We've addressed both sides of the issue.
But you know what I'd like to hear? Instead of hearing from those that have been bullied (and if we define bullying in its very broadest terms as being put down or talked ugly too, then that would be most of us), I'd love to hear someone admit that they had been a bully when they were a kid. You know, not someone in prison or someone who still is a bully, but someone who went on to be a successful, productive person who would stand up and say, "you know, I was a little snot and a bully when I was a kid. This is why I did it and here's how I stopped."
Again, let me state, I think bullying is wrong and should be addressed. But it seems to me that while the problem of bullying is a win-win nonpartisan cause that everyone (especially politicians) can join, there doesn't seem to be much change in behavior. In fact, I think the problem has gotten worse. Maybe we could stop talking about it so much and actually DO something about changing our behavior.
In the meantime, budgets don't balance, unemployment is high, Republicans and Democrats say horrible things about each other over and over (isn't that bullying?), and people pay more attention to their cellphone plan than their retirement plans.
Thanks for listening as I wrangle through this in my head.
Labels: bullying, Sheila Siler