Oh- this post!!!! What an immense comfort and timely topic. Bullying, oppression, exclusion- behaviors and attitudes: not as narrowly defined as we tend to think. Below is a snippet of what Glennon shared at Momastery, regarding bullying-related suicides.
And people are sensitive. People are heart-breakingly sensitive. If enough people tell someone over and over that he is not okay, he will believe it. And one way or another, he will die.
Each time one of these stories is reported, the tag line is: “kids can be so cruel.” This is something we tend to say. Kids these days, they can be so cruel. But I think this is just a phrase we toss around to excuse ourselves from facing the truth. Because I don’t think kids are any crueler than adults. I just think kids aren’t quite as adept yet at disguising their cruelty. Children are not cruel. Children are mirrors. They want to be “grown-up.” So they act how grown-ups act when we think they’re not looking. They do not act how we tell them to act at school assemblies. They act how we really act. They believe what we believe. They say what we say.
It’s trickle-down cruelty.
If I want my world to be less vicious, then I must become more gentle. If I want my children to embrace other children for who they are, to treat other children with the dignity and respect every child of God deserves, then I had better treat other adults the same way. And I better make sure that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God’s and their father’s and my eyes, they are okay. They are fine. They are loved as they are. Without a single unless. Because the kids who bully are those who are afraid that a secret part of themselves is not okay.
It is odd, how striving for this brand of kindness and acceptance seems kinda subversive. Elitist, excluding & exclusive seem to be nearly the norm, common. Why is it uncommon to want the best for everyone? Why do so many feel the need to oppress and exclude?! More importantly, how do we break the cycle and innoculate our children from messages that any one is more or less worthy of the most basic human dignities and rights?
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