Every few years a new buzzword appears in the world of parenting. Like when everyone had Autism. Autism was the trend. Well, the new buzzword is Bullying and bully-proofing your child is trendy. Apparently there has been a significant rise in reported bullying (either on the playground or in the cyber world). Parents, teachers, curriculum designers, and senators are all crying "foul" and forming plans to assist kids in handling bullies.
Here's the deal: Bullying (in any form) is just a symptom. All of these anti-bullying campaigns and government programs are falling ridiculously short of the real issue. The real issue is the degeneration of the godly family. Families aren't fearing God. Where there is no fear of God, there is little reason to respect others. When we don't value and respect others, we don't care how our actions affect them. We see it all around us. Drivers trying to edge out other drivers for a prime parking spot, people not holding doors for the person behind them, kids in the cafeteria mocking the effeminate boy, and so on and so forth. Bullying is just one problem stemming from the degeneration of the family. All of society seems hellbent on shredding the family. With social media and texting at the fingertips of everyone in the home, there is no need to attempt to connect with our own family. We can build our own family via friends online. School sports oftentimes require practices and games during the dinner hours. Even churches divide everyone up according to age. We disembark the minivan and go our separate ways. Apart from going all Amish on the problem, how is the modern family supposed to stay tight-knit and how does this make a dent in the bullying problem?*
Time to BULLY.
Be Present. Oftentimes we are rushing from one event to another, catching food on the go, telling our kids to hurry it up. This is no way to connect to our child's heart. They need us to slow down and just be with them. Stop worrying about the next thing on the day planner and just embrace them right here and now.
Unplug From Distractions. Technology is great. It really is. But it comes with a very real risk. We are reprogramming our minds to think we need to check in on Facebook, or we have to Tweet about such-and-such. When our family is with us, we need to set down the phone, close the laptop and look our kids and spouse in the eyes.
Learn the Love Languages of Your Family Members. It's kind of fun and will give you a springboard for proclaiming love over your kids in a way that speaks volumes to their tender little hearts.
Listen to the Heart Issues. The spoken word and the underlying truth are not always in agreement. We need to be proficient in looking past the surface and truly listening to our children.
Press Into YAHWEH. It's all for naught if this foundation is not being laid constantly and consistently.
How does this help the bullying problem? Wellllll more kids being embraced means less kids falling through the cracks. Less kids falling through the cracks means more kids being called to task. That's all well and good, Cynthia, except my kids aren't the problem. Here's the rub: Once we're doing this with our own kids, we can begin to tackle the problem outside our front door. So, you suspect (or know for a fact) that there's a kid in the neighborhood whose parents are divorced and he's a latch key kid. You also just happen to know he's a bit rough around the edges. BULLY him. There's a girl in your daughter's class who is snarky and disrespectful. Invite her family over for a cookout. Include their daughter in a round of goofy golf with your family. BULLY her.
It won't solve the world's problems, but you'll make a difference right where you are.
Scouting Out A Kid To BULLY,
*I was going to apologize to any Amish reading this and then I realized...oh right...