We’ve been seeing a great deal of media coverage lately about bullies. Fortunately, this increases awareness on the part of students, parents and teachers that bullying is ongoing and insidious. My opinion is that we have only gone halfway in identifying bullies and the enormous evil that they are able to effect on their fellow citizens.
Bullying doesn’t happen only on the playground or at school athletic events. If we are not advising our kids that people who arbitrarily and randomly shoot others are bullies, we are losing a huge opportunity to make our point. Likewise, insulting others on social media is bullying and should be identified as such.
Unfortunately, we whitewash the evils of politicians and normal citizens by attributing their behavior to politics or flakiness. As I read comments made on seemingly innocuous subjects by commentators throughout the world, I am amazed by their insensitivity, illiteracy and intensity.
As adults and educators, we are missing great opportunities for education if we don’t recognize this adult behavior as bullying. No matter how hard I try, I can never remember identifying political candidates as bullies to my children or any others. But any act of personal aggression from one adult to another is truly bullying, simply in another atmosphere.
Before I am accused of pontificating, I ask you to consider the significance of name-calling, road rage, minor acts of disrespect and any other compromises of integrity. Your children and the rest of the world are aware of our behavior and if we want to stop bullying most effectively, we must be consistent and conscientious.
Playground bullies can grow up to be adults who are dangerous to all of us, especially if we underestimate the power of bullying. Join me in discouraging the behavior that has the most serious potential for harm. Shalom.