Being a fat kid in middle school isn’t easy, trust me. I was fat. I won’t dance around it and say “pudgy” or “chubby”, I’ll be honest and say fat. As a result, being made fun of is a large part of my history, and I have a place in my heart for any young person who has to go through it. But as I’ve gotten older and slimmer, bullying has certainly slowed down, but it hasn’t completely disappeared.
So, when I read an article in Time Magazine saying that anti-bullying programs aren’t even close to affective, I ask myself if we have the right idea about how to tackle the “bullying” issue.
Essentially, these anti-bullying campaigns and programs are presenting the utopian situation that there can be a world without bullying. As great as that sounds, it’s tragically unrealistic. I’m 21 years old, and I deal with bullies every day. I deal with them in class, at work, and occasionally in line to get some Sheetz at one in the morning. People are inherently mean sometimes (myself included), and they will take that out on others.
So, why are we lying to children and teasing them with the idea of a world with no bullying at all? Doesn’t it seem a little mean? We promise them that relief will come, but then it doesn’t, and they’re left desperate and not knowing what to do. Couldn’t we save a couple extra lives by being more realistic? Let’s be honest and tell children that they will be bullied, and it is possible that they will always have a bully in their life, but it doesn’t have to ruin their life.
In retrospect, I wish someone would have told me growing up that being bullied was never my fault. The kid on the bus calling me fat could have been yelled at by his mother that morning, or maybe his dog died the night before. Maybe his parents didn’t give him the attention he was looking for. Whatever the reason was that he was putting anger towards me, it was never my fault. Keep the children strong, less they end up too weak to handle the real world.
Jim hosts a talk program during common hours Tuesday and Thursdays, appropriately titled “Common Hour with Jim Garrity.”