Bullying ~ No Man Is An Island


There are times we need to stand up, even when it is unpopular to do so, no matter what age we are.

No man is an island

We need each other.

In the case of the student shooter  at the Chardon, Ohio, High School, who was not a student at this high school, he was known enough to be taunted and bullied, bullied so much that he wanted his taunters dead. He pulled no punches on his Facebook page about his intentions. Was anyone listening?

We need to stop the growing tide of bullying, as if there is no solution. If someone is attacking us physically, it is assault and battery. The physical bullier is charged by a police officer and arrested. If someone is relentlessly bullying mentally and emotionally, there currently does not seem to be an answer. But our mental state is just as much a part of us as our physical state. We adults need to be accountable. We need to help. Adults need to stand up. Students need to stand up.

We need to empower our children to be able to stand up for young people around them, if they see someone struggling, being bullied, even then the person being bullied is not himself or herself. Adolescence is tough. But it is also an opportunity to teach compassion and empathy for others. Many young people are doing this already. There are so many teenagers doing wonderful things, on sports teams, achieving academic success. Teens, like everyone else, will have their own circle of friends, large or small.

As strong as life is, life is fragile. Life can change in a moments notice. We know this, but it still takes us by surprise when it does. In teaching important lessons to our kids, teaching them to stand up for injustice, for the student being bullied, even if that person is a loner, is important.

Every single one of us is important. Even people we do not like are important. Human life is important.

At times, we are strong, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Other times we are unsure of ourselves, cautious and fearful. Most of us know there is help out there with our friends and family. If things get out of control, we have counseling. It helps to talk things out.

If we, see something, we should say something. That goes for our students also. Students can always go to the guidance counselors, or their favorite teacher, or school principal to let them know if they think someone is in trouble.

The definition of  brave people is not that they don’t feel fear, but although they feel the fear, they do what is right, moral and just anyway.

We are not islands, no matter how private we choose to be. Not everyone likes the spotlight, to live out loud. Some of us are shy, maybe even withdrawn. We need to be observant of the world around us, for personal safety, but also for the safety of others.

Some would say we need to mind our own business. Only take care of the self. While self-improvement is a good thing, we live in a world where other people count too. And their lives intertwine with our lives, if only peripherally. We need to be aware, not fearful, but aware of others in our life.

Some might also say people need to toughen up. While that point might need to be made in some cases, we still need to be aware of other people in our world. It may not be our job to monitor everyone else around us. But it is our job to be responsible citizens in the world of us.

If a student along the way reported the bullying that went on in the Chardon High School while the shooter was waiting for a bus to go to another school, perhaps yesterday event might have had a different outcome. But we will not know for sure.

It is also possible that the student shooter mental state was completely unknown to students and his teachers.

One thing is for sure, no man is an island.

Namaste

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Author: lindahourihan

My profile picture is a rose, symbolizing that we should all bloom where we are planted. I am planted in the garden of words of knowledge and inspiration, history and truth, quest and discovery. My latest book, MYSTERY OF THE STURBRIDGE KEYS - CHRISTMAS UNLOCKED, has uncovered the deepest mysteries of modern time, mysteries that were planted at the start of time. The theme in this book is: There is one race, the human race. It unveils the secrets of Christmas, Santa Claus, the Magi, Jesus and how Noah's sons repopulate the world through the empires. In the process you meet Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Harriet Tubman, and learn that former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are eighth cousins, both with traces of English royalty through William the Conqueror and Charlemagne in their bloodlines. This book uses real history, ancient and pre-history in this dramatic, plausible fiction/fantasy novel. It took me over a year to research and a lifetime to experience.

6 thoughts on “Bullying ~ No Man Is An Island”

  1. Thank you Mandy. Please let me know how your class makes out so I can have it on the blog. It will be good for all teachers and schools everywhere. Youare an inspiration.

  2. I think we’re on the same wavelength! I just finished putting together a lesson for our school-wide advisor program for tomorrow. The lesson is called “What Do You Stand For?” and it includes a little known speech RFK gave in inner-city Indianapolis immediately after MLK’s assassination as an example of standing up for what’s right and important to you, even when it is difficult, and the impact you can have by doing so. In his case, he gave the speech despite warnings by eveyone around him that it was unsafe (the police would not even go with him or provide any protection). After his 6 minute speech, Indianapolis was one of the only major cities in the country not to riot that night. In the lesson, students will have to identify issues or situations that matter to them, and pledge to stand up in those cases. We’ll see how it goes; I’m both excited and nervous about it now. Anyway, I love this post, and just wanted to thank you for it. It gives me a little more confidence going into tomorrow, when other teachers will teach my lesson across the school … which is kind of a scary thought.

  3. Thank you Karen for these very good insights. I agree there is much we can do to help our kids be more resilient. In this case, TJ Lane came from a broken home and was going to high school at a special school for troubled teens. His family life had broken down. His parents were not there for him. It seems the bulliers at the school where the shooting took place were there while he waited for the bus to go to his own school. I agree as a society we need to and can do more. While we cannot expect bystanders to save the day all the time, to close our eyes to obvious injustice taking place teaches another lesson too. As a society we need to stop being afraid, and speak out when we see injustice. Part of the resilience we want to instill in our kids is how to stand up for other people when they cannot. My suggestion is that kids, or adults go tell someone in authority who can help. I also agree that it is time we discuss situations with the two parties involved, not punish an entire class or group. I’m sure the taunting and bullying was also heard by the teacher monitoring the room. I’ve seen teachers and school systems backway from problems between kids to let them work it out. But teachers do stop physical fighting. Bullying is no less detrimental. I enjoyed reading your comments.

  4. Thank you Eva for your comments. I think as we grow up there is an unwritten thing we all do in trying to let everyone be independent, and stand on their own. Everyone has different personalities and temperments, and this independence is a good thing. But to stand by and watch the bullying that is taking place, and saying or doing nothing, just seems cruel. When something is happening in a group, to be silent is to agree with what is being said or done. I believe this is a community thing. Kids need to learn to stand up for themselves, and adults who watch over kids need to pay attention to this growing tide.If they don’t the bullies get worse and worse. I really do think no man is an island. I think we can all do more to help, even kids.

  5. While what you say about standing up to bullies may be true and is part of the solution, I believe too much emphasis is put on the bystander in prevention programs. First I believe we must build resiliency in kids. Life is hard and we are always going to encounter judgmental, bullying people. We need to foster internal and external assets in kids (look up Search Institute’s research) so that they grow up healthy and whole. Once kids are supported with these building blocks they can withstand the negative forces around them better and not fall prey to bullies. Second more emphasis needs to be on personal responsibility for the way people treat each other. Every kid needs to be taught how their words or actions can affect others. Too often we are quick to blame someone else. Focusing on the bystander sets them up to be mightier than thou, false saviors who step in to rescue the victim. Then in turn the bystander becomes the next bully, exerting their new power on someone weaker. Can you tell I get frustrated by the whole bullying issue? I really would like to see what could happen if we focused on the primary two parties in a bullying incident rather than the onlooker. We so need to learn how to relate with each other in better ways.

  6. Hi Lin – I read your installment about the bullying (“No Man is an Island”). This is refreshing to read, and I agree w/ every bit of it. Have felt this way all my life, and have helped others in need as well – as much as I could at the young age that I was at the time. Also, though I was never bullied myself (well, maybe a little), my problem was that I was painfully shy, and as a result, became quite “invisible”. As an adult, I often look back and can never help but wonder why no teachers, or administrators at school ever noticed. I guess it could be that whole “invisible” thing. And maybe they just weren’t trained back then to pick up on stuff like that. Anyhow, thank you for writing about this.. I look forward to reading more of your blogs!

    Eva

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