Bullying has no place in schools, workplaces, families or any other place.
Today there is an anti-bullying emphasis in schools. Most students aren’t bullies but those who are can create problems.
Someone once asked me to write about bullying because her child was being bullied.
Parents are the primary teachers of their children in values by word and example. Responsible parents try to teach their children to respect rather than bully others, especially those who are different, handicapped physically or in other ways.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no evil pass from your lips, say the good things that others need to hear, things that will really help them.” The first letter to the Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “We ask you to respect those who are laboring among you with special love because of their work.”
We may associate bullying with grade and high school students; but, adults sometimes bully others physically, verbally and in other ways. Often when I enter libraries I see a sign that says, “No deadly weapons allowed.“ (I chuckle because our tongue can be a deadly weapon and humorously wonder whether this is the reason why silence is encouraged in libraries.) Words can affirm and encourage others, but they can also cut like daggers!
The Christmas song “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” written by Robert May, is a wonderful teaching resource. As a youth May resembled the 97-pound weakling in the Charles Atlas ad, who was bullied in front of the girl he liked.
May projected his experience onto Rudolph in the words, “All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names; they never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games” because his shiny nose made him different.
Rudolph’s nose actually turned out to be his gift when it helped Santa Claus fulfill his mission of delivering Christmas presents on a foggy night! Rudolph discovered and used his gift to help others. He also helped put May’s six children through college and helped him get decent housing because May had spent his savings caring for his cancer-stricken wife.
John Henry Newman wrote: “God has created me to do some work which He has not committed to another. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I keep His commandments. ”Discovering and sharing one’s gifts opens doors to a meaningful life.
High school years are good years for some, but more difficult for others. As a high school teacher of 22 years, I quickly discovered teenagers’ need to be accepted by peers. I often told students who felt left out or bullied that “there is life after high school. Don’t lament friends you don’t have. Treasure the friends or friend you have. Discover your gifts and use them to help make the world a better place. You can make a difference!” Many are now doing just that.
Lange, the former pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Hazel Green, lives in Platteville.