This topic has my blood boiling. Why? People passively posting on Facebook to raise awareness of bullying. Post this on your page and take a stand against bullying. Please! Like that is going to make a difference. What a passive way to take a stand against something that has the potential to ruin someone’s life. This post may well be a bit of a rant and I make no apologies for it.
I’m confident that everyone knows that bullying is prevalent in our society. You only need to turn on the news each night and there is another sickening incident. Bullying has been in our society for a very long time and will remain in society for a long time. The fact of the matter is bullying has changed now. Not only is it people slandering, threatening or punching a weaker individual to make themselves feel good, social media is now involved and there is cyber bullying. Children now have a phone in primary school, they can video someone being bullied and post it on you tube. If it goes viral, the person is a hero! I really question someone’s mindset that thinks watching someone getting hurt is funny. Yes kids will be kids but really, what are we teaching our kids today?
Now I will share what has really got me hopping mad over the past few weeks. I’m not sure if you have heard about the fiasco that was the Bonds Baby contest recently. What a joke! From reports, mothers were bullying other mothers because they did not consider their child to be cute. These mothers made racists and bullying comments towards a baby? And what’s worse, this was on Facebook and will remain on record in the cyber space library. I bet that wasn’t considered in their emotional outburst. Disgusting. These mothers are the first leader their child will see, learn and develop their beliefs from. I don’t know how you feel about this but it proves to me that we adults are the ones that keep bullying alive in our society and until we get really very serious about changing the way we conduct ourselves nothing will change. NOTHING!
So what is the role of a leader in prevention of bullying? The leader being the parent, the teacher, the older sibling, the sports teacher, the karate instructor or the netball coach? Basically anyone involved in a child’s life. I think the leaders first and foremost responsibility is to teach children what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. To create some behaviour rules within the home and in the school, which is revisited and lived, without exception. We now need to teach our children what is acceptable behaviour in the social media space and how to handle themselves as well as how to communicate and respect others. We need to teach children to be more accepting of others; we live in a society of diversity. However, we can't teach children the foundation of respect for others when as fully functioning adults we do not do it ourselves.
I put the call out to leaders to be conscious. Be conscious of how you are talking with your friends and colleagues, be conscious of who you are abusing on the roads, when you are having a disagreement in a retail outlet, when your partner has not arrived home on time, when the tradesman doesn’t show up on time. How are you handling yourself in front of impressionable little eyes and ears who are learning from you, their leader?
There are great organisations out there doing some great work on educating people on bullying. People need to start taking them seriously and implementing the learning’s. Until we all pull together on this, nothing will change. Hoping is not the cure. And in that case, we need to ensure that we are teaching our children the best possible way to handle these situations on bullying in the new society we live in.