There are three sides to the cafeterias
in our schools.
To the left are the athletes, or the pretty.
They are the socially elite.
They are the exception to the norm, and the gifted.
To the right are the rebellious.
They are also pretty in their own way.
They are the loud and outspoken.
They are the angry and the exception to the norm.
They are quick to howl, same as the left side,
and their names are well known.
And then there is the middle…..
The middle is the faceless.
They are the socially unknown, or stagnant.
They are the bullied. They are the quiet.
They live their non-existent life
and pass through the hallways as if they were vapor.
And to a kid, there is nothing worse than being unnoticed.
The classrooms in our schools are separated in divisions of popularity.
They divide by status, looks, ability, and money.
It’s not who you are ……it’s what you wear.
It’s not what you do ……it’s how you do it.
It’s how you perform or appear in the crowd.
To some this comes easy.
To some it doesn’t come at all
And for some it comes with violence; it comes with taunts
or being abusive.
Some get ahead by cheating.
Some feed the rumor factories and the gossip mills
and some find another way to bully through
But understand something:
Bullying is a sickness.
Bullying is how the emotionally empty feed.
They are like a pack of wolves,
and they tear at the flesh of others in the food chain
to maintain their status.
This, by the way, is the breeding grounds of who our children become.
This is how they learn about the draws of different social circles
this is where they changed crowds and sacrifice friendships
…,…just to fit in.
I punched walls because there was no one for me to intimidate.
I broke holes in the plaster to prove my rage ……and impress no one.
The Son of Man once said,
“He among you who is without sin; let him cast the first stone.”
I knew I could never be first
…..but I was ready and waiting with the second
I was ready to fire away and displace my anger.
I was waiting for it to be someone else
and by “It,” I mean the target
I was waiting for someone else to feel awkward
or out of place,
I was waiting for someone else to be picked on
or laughed at,
and to feed the process
I picked on the easy targets to remove the focus from myself,
and place it on anyone other than me…
I ask you,
if someone stricken with dementia screamed at you
or called you a name,
would you listen?
If a man were mentally ill,
say like, with Turrets, and he cursed you
would you take it to heart?
Of course, you wouldn’t.
And of course you may argue,
“but the kids in the hall don’t have dementia,”
or “They don’t have Turrets,” which may be true
…..but that doesn’t make them less sick.
These days, the world is more advanced.
Bullying has now become cyber
whereas in my time, slander was written on the desk
or on the walls in the bathrooms,
today’s slander is more viral and wide spread.
It’s not the words kids say to each other
it’s what’s behind them
it’s not the insults our kids hear
it’s how they feel about themselves.
The best defense:
teach your child their value
let them know who they are and what they mean
and above all,
No one ever has the right to make you feel bad about yourself!
By the way….
this goes for adults too.