Friday, November 3, 2006
Is your child strong enough?
All of the accounts of bullying described below were shared by the parents of the children involved and happened over the last several years at the Carlisle School. I hope that some of you may take this, read it to your children tonight, and discuss it with them.
A small child, no older than six, is chased, called names, and tormented by a group of children on the plaza and castle. The child, full of rage, runs into the principal's office and knocks everything off her desk. She looks into the child's eyes, sees the pain, and asks if he would like a hug. She holds him until his shaking subsides. Did your child stand up to these bullies? Is your child strong enough?
Another child with severe allergies has the item that he is allergic to thrown at him during lunch. He is angry and upset. Did your child stand up and tell this bully to stop? Is your child strong enough?
A middle school child looks through a microscope at an object. A classmate asks how big the object is and then, upon hearing the child's response, turns to her friends and laughs at the child, making fun of how stupid the response was. This, over the next few weeks, turns into a regular game of making fun of this child at every chance. This child is embarrassed and humiliated, afraid to say anything for fear of sounding stupid. Did you child stand up to these bullies? Is your child strong enough?
Another child stands on the outskirts of all of the groups during recess, too shy to participate. This child is lonely and sad. Did your child invite this child to join their group? Is your child strong enough?
One child, (there is at least one in every class) is never invited over for play dates or birthday parties. This child has never had a sleepover and, when the child's mother calls to invite children over for play dates, everyone is always too busy, so no one has ever been to this child's house. This child feels despondent and hates school. Would your child befriend this child? Is your child strong enough?
Another child refuses to go for the specialized help he needs for his learning disability. This child overheard other kids in the hallway making fun of "the SPED" kids and now does not want to be identified as one. He is embarrassed of his learning disability and hides the fact that he learns differently. Will your child stand up for this child? Is your child strong enough?
For many years, a child is insulted and treated rudely by other children because her looks do not fit the mold of what our society calls attractive. This child feels anger and hurt. Will your child stand up to these bullies? Is your child strong enough?
At a dance, a child asks another to dance and is laughed at and insulted by a group of kids. The child is humiliated and embarrassed. Will your child dance with this child? Is your child strong enough?
A child is told that if they are not in honors math they are either not trying hard enough or are stupid. The child feels stupid and depressed. Will your child stand up to this bully? Is your child strong enough?
We all want our children to be successful and there is a culture of excellence in our schools that is part of why many people move here. But is this culture causing our children to be colder, harder, and lacking in compassion toward anyone whom they perceive as not fitting into a certain mold? Are our children kind and compassionate, and willing to stand up for what is right, even when it is difficult? If not, we need to take a look at our values, and perhaps we can all learn to be better people. After all, when our children go out into the world to their various positions, few employers will look at each and every grade your child received to determine whether or not to hire them. Most employers will be looking for a strong, solid and decent person. One who will stand up for what is right.
Will your child be strong enough?
© 2006 The Carlisle Mosquito