School was fun!
I’m sure it was for me… I hope it was, or is for you too.
School days contributed a lot to our character formation which may have jump-started us onto the path becoming who we are today, and I can also say that those years you spent in school are very important.
You see for any piece of story, just like a coin, there are two sides of it.
School days for you might have been a very interesting adventure; you got introduced to water balloons, if you’re a guy you got to know there’s another species of the human race called girls (and vice-versa), as you grow a little bit older, you might have learnt to tell stories as well something like, your dog ate up your homework, perhaps came the realization too that eggs can be used to throw at other people, and if that’s not enough you add some flour to the mix as well…
Some of you might have been able to recollect school days missing classes, going to other schools, representing your own school in choir, debate, spelling bee, essay writing competitions, or or at the stadium, representing your school in one kind of sports or another, or even going up front on stage during the school assembly to receive some kind of award, cleanest class of the week, best student award, or got caned in front of the other students at the assembly… mine the later though…
That was school for me…
Is That It?
But I guess that isn’t all about school for the majority of us. There was perhaps a time when suddenly… “Sei ngan chai” (which meant “four-eyed boy” in Cantonese) was thrown at you, or your friends started being creative and started making fun of your name (especially Chinese names), and if your name wasn’t enough, suddenly your father’s name get thrown around the classroom (thanks to the telephone directory! Yea that big yellow book that looked like an encyclopedia). Don’t know how they did it, nor where they found time to, running through the names one by one… and yea… it happened.
Not too sure if this happens in girl schools as well, but as vivid as I could remember, it sure happened in my school when I was much younger.
There’s a word to coin this… and it is “Bully”.
Bully, I believe comes in various forms. It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can also be intellectual… Despite the many forms they could come in, one thing I know for sure it sure messes-up the mind if the victim wasn’t able to handle it him/herself, or perhaps hasn’t been taught how to deal with it, personally. I’m not gonna touch on all forms of bullying, I’m just going to zero-in onto one…
Trust me on this, it applies to everyone, irregardless which end you are at on the “bully-line” (Okay I just made that up), but stick with me on this thought for a little while, imagine “Bully” is represented with a line… that has two ends, “A” and “B”… one or the other extreme… “A” being the Aggressor (the Bully), and “B” being the person being Bullied, in this case “Calling Names”.
However, I am of the viewpoint that “Calling Names” and “Cursing” are entirely two different things altogether. Don’t have to get into details where we draw the line do we?
Now, whether you are an “A” (the Bully), or you’re “B” (the Bullied), there can be something said about you… And if this isn’t about you, but you recognize it happening around you, to someone you love, to someone you care, to someone around you, a friend, at work, at school, perhaps this will serve as a tool, a guideline, for you.
3 pointers how you can look at this, it’s not all there is, and I choose “R”.
There must a reason to why they are doing it.
I believe the act of bullying, begins with this word… Identity. Whether you’re looking at an “A”, or a “B”, it reflects one’s identity.
It would be quite easy to be led thinking first about the background of the individual, especially the family’s background, how he/she was raised up, which child is the individual, whether the individual is the eldest, the middle child (or one among the in between), or the youngest, or even the only one…
Then you’ll also start thinking how was the family like, were the parents together, or did the individual grow up with a single parent, or grandparent(s), or with the relatives, or perhaps didn’t quite have a place the individual called home.
Then you found out that the parents are together (meaning non-divorcee), but were their presence absent, was the father working overseas due to work, or was the father home late or is one who was out attending meetings regularly and what not… then the questions would move from one family member to another. On a more serious note, was the individual abused?
How we live our life is an outward expression of the condition inside of us. It is quite easy to assume:
If an individual is quiet: perhaps from a family whose parents are always raising voices at one another, perhaps the individual is a middle child, perhaps the individual has been hurt of trust, could be abuse, could be betrayal, could be the quiet grieving on the loss of someone close, etc.
If an individual is always creating problems: perhaps from a broken family, perhaps separated parents, perhaps lacks attention from family members, perhaps have not really experienced love, etc.
If an individual is angry: perhaps a voice unheard inside, perhaps have been treated unfairly, perhaps a reaction to a condition, hurt or pain especially, etc.
If an individual is afraid: perhaps a victim of bully or abuse, perhaps lacks affirmation, perhaps reflecting a traumatic experience, perhaps an influence from media, etc.
Whether it is an “A” or a “B”, there’s a hurting person inside.
Perhaps it only happens when we were young. As you grow older, you’ll notice that “Calling Names” will get significantly lesser.
I came across a video that day that the education system we are in (in general), robs us of our creativity when they try to streamline us through the limited delivery method in the classroom, through the emphasis being placed on only a certain amount of subjects, by setting a common expectation among parents and students alike, that is none other than to get good grades.
Back on track.
It takes two to tango. You might have heard of this phrase before. To which I also believe that there is always some kind of motivation, or an energy, to fuel the whole motion.
The fuel to “Calling Names”, I believe is pretty much based on our response. See when someone decides to start picking on us, how we respond to him/her will either encourage that person to keep calling you names, or on the contrary it will discourage him/her to continue. Our response is like fuel either to spur the action further, or we could diffuse it like using water on fire.
It’s a choice… our call to make…
1. Make a Stand — I believe one would only start pick on you when you give him or her the permission to. Permission? Yes, permission. Permission doesn’t need to be in written form, don’t even need to be spoken to be understood. There’s a saying that goes, action speaks louder than words. When we show ourselves to be weak, an easy target, it would come across as an invitation, “Please, pick on me.”
However, if you were to respond in a manner that you make it known, and the message you send across goes something like “You don’t wanna mess with me.”, your bully would normally choose another target to pick on.
2. Size Up — Is when you speak up to measure whose courage is bigger between your bully and yourself. However, instead of making things better for you, this could also be fuel for your bully too. If things don’t go the way that you want it to be (that is “Go away leave me alone!”), you might have volunteered yourself to be your bully’s favorite target.
3. Let it Slide — Another way you can deal with this is just walk away and let it slide. Ignore. Give no “respect” to it. Over time the “fun” of picking on you would just fizzle away.
4. Submission — Or you can just give in and let the Dementor suck the happiness out of you.
5. Someone to “Save” you — Many people resort to this. Some make the issue known and bring someone with authority from the school into the picture e.g. the class teacher, the discipline teacher, the headmaster, there are also cases where some bring in someone else who could be from the same school, but with a nastier approach into the picture e.g. a Big Brother, or a Big Sister, someone from a gang/clan, some also might bring in their parents, and after this episode is over, you might get another nastier dose of what you hoped to rid off, etc.
Irregardless who you have in mind to bring into the picture, you are essentially not solving the problem yourself. And if you (as parents) are thinking by stepping in could help your child solve the problem, most of the time you are not, cause you might have promoted an unhealthy culture for your child(ren) to keep running back to you whenever he/she faces a problem.
Your child might grow too dependent on you.
There will be repercussions for the actions we take.
Do not ignore or take it lightly coming across a scenario someone, or a group of people laughing at another person who has been called names because either way, it will have an effect on the victim’s social and personal life.
The victim might start distancing oneself, shutting people around him away, or will slowly withdraw oneself until a point he/she feels that this world isn’t a place he/she wants to be in.
Bully usually starts verbally before it escalates into something physical. Imagine how much harm one (or even you) can prevent from happening if the symptoms are detected early and the signs are taken seriously.