Bullying is huge in schools (well, everywhere I guess), and we try to instill knowledge and confidence in the girls we work with in Girls On The Run. I think this is a great start. It’s thought that one of the reasons bullies continue their ways is because of the reaction they receive when they do it. So, if we can help kids learn to not judge themselves by what someone else says and to stand up for themselves with confidence, that’s HUGE.
I think the bigger issue that needs addressed is the actual bullies themselves. Where do they learn that behavior? Where do they learn that they are better than someone else? I understand this is something that has gone on forever, but that doesn’t make it right. I don’t have kids, but I have beautiful nephews and nieces and plenty of very good friends that have kids. Those people are good people and I can’t imagine them allowing or encouraging or demonstrating this type of behavior. I know kids learn from other kids, but THOSE kids have parents too. Maybe I am super naive, but I have a lot of trouble getting a grip on this.
I was caught off guard by a news story on plastic surgery with regards to bullying. The piece was on two young girls (9 and 11 I think) that were bullied for their ears. Those of you who know me well know that I have struggled with trying to accept my ears MY ENTIRE LIFE. They are normal-sized ears, but they stick out. When my hair is straight, they peek out from under. When I was born (see, I told you, MY ENTIRE LIFE), my grandmother announced that I looked like a taxi cab driving down the street with its doors hanging open!! I joked as a a kid that I should have them pinned back. It’s obvious I never did!!
But the crazy part is, I was the only one that cared…at least out loud. No one bullied me, in fact my friends and family TRIED to convince me they gave me character and that there was nothing to worry about. I’ve learned to accept them, but there’s no denying that they are there. We all struggle with certain issues, this happens to be mine.
So, when the story was about ears, I was very interested. These girls were adorable! They had ears JUST LIKE MINE!! The 11 year old actually said, “see how the tip sticks out of my hair?” It could have been me, hands down. The difference was in the response. The mother had apparently corrected her own ears at 20 years of age (as an adult, we can decide) so she was supporting both of them in getting their ears pinned to avoid being bullied! I don’t want to judge a parent, again I’m not one, but I think it’s a terrible message to give her girls. We teach the girls through Girls On The Run to be proud of themselves and embrace their differences. I think this says, “yep, what those bullies are saying is true, so you should fix it.” I am just flabergasted!
Again, I can understand not liking some things about yourself, we all have that. But to be encouraged to “fix” what someone else thinks isn’t perfect????? There is a place for plastic surgery in kids – a terrible accident that leads to a disfigurement or a major birth defect, but small differences that make us unique? I don’t get it. Soon there will be a computer where we just punch in what we want and we will all look like identical robots!
Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but this really got under my skin. Anyone else agree?