Thursday, September 30, 2010

Are we making life harder than it has to be?

flipped for Flip

I'm not sure why I'm so fixated on these stories.

Another one hit the media stream this week.

Fear. Distrust. Jealousy. Anger. Rage. Meanness. Inexperience. Faulty thinking. Hopelessness. All mixed together with the immediacy, seeming anonymity, and enduring nature of technology, what we end up with is a society that can neither understand nor protect its own privacy.

I don't think I can comment on these individual cases anymore. I can only express sadness for such a senseless waste of life.

And while I'm opposed to laws that make "bullying" a crime, I'm not opposed to trying to prevail to humankind's better nature.

As soon as they get into school, kids start seeing differences in each other. They have their likes, dislikes, frustrations, irritations. They start to feel the pain as well as the power of exclusion.

These days, as I visit the classroom and meet my kids new friends, I can't help but look at their faces -- some laughing and smiling, others startled, worried or homesick -- and want to hug each and every one.

What is it that I need to teach my kids? Certainly they can't be friends with everyone. We all know we have our limits of patience and tolerance ... They won't be able to make everyone happy. No one will be able to make them happy, it has to come from within.

But we don't have to make another person's life harder. We may not be able to make everyone's life easier, but that doesn't mean we have to make anyone's life harder.


Anonymous Kcoz said...

this is a tough subject...I'll have to think it a bit.


September 30, 2010 at 2:42 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is truly a tough subject. Is suicide something another human being can or should be held responsible for? Maybe it's just that we have lingering evidence of meanness where there was only rumors and accusations before.

I sure seems like a different world, though.

October 2, 2010 at 1:46 PM 
Anonymous Kcoz said...

Bullying…I’ve been thinking about this and would ask, why do the same laws that affect adults who are bullied not apply to our children? If an adult is bullied they have a number of legal resources at hand to stop the problem. If it is verbal there is slander, physical there is assault, and lets not forget sexual harassment that is a form of bullying. But we as adults also have another resource that is considered street justice and much more effective, if another adult is bullying one of our friends we will stick together and deal with the bully by any means necessary…including violence. And that is because as adults we are disgusted by such type of behavior. All these solutions are why bullying is not as prevalent in an adult community….but we expect our children to just ignore the bully!

So why are our children considered not worthy of the same resolution? Is it because we do not value their emotions? Their lives have no monetary value as they do not own property or generate income?

There are also laws to protect our property against the violence of children and the parents are held responsible…if a child breaks a window or defaces property the parents are held accountable and have to pay for the damages. If a child bullies or even kills another child the parents are not held responsible and sometimes receive sympathy as it is the child that is considered at fault…is this same child not at fault when they break a window? Do the child’s parents have to pay the consequences for that broken window?

So it would be safe to say we value a window more than a child’s emotions, or life.

Look at the results of a bullied child as they age, some will resort to violence themselves like Columbine, others will repress it and develop anger. And the bullies will go on until the adult world where they harshly learn the hard way about their antisocial behavior by being exiled, beat, or even prison. We have no problem teaching children the moral values of not lying, stealing and respecting adults, but bullying is a non-issue and some parents consider it acceptable behavior.

I produced a video on just such a crime where four teenage girls kidnapped, tortured, and murdered another girl. As I divulged deeper into this crime and the personalities responsible it did not surprise me that bullying was a major underlying factor, and the results destroyed many lives for eternity.
Of the four girl offenders the leader was a bully and never held accountable for her actions, she believed this acceptable behavior and a way to deal with her social problems. Two others were bullied themselves when younger and were taught that it is better to be the bully than the victim. Only one had not suffered from the effects of bullying, she was not bullied and did not bully…and she was the only one who tried to stop the violence that night and was threatened and bullied for it…but it went further, she did not call for help when she had the chance because she was convinced of the bullying effects she would face afterwards by the others and their friends.
The victim was bullied by the leader for months prior, she was a completely innocent victim who never bullied herself…her only fault was that she was kinder, more popular, but smaller and younger than her bully and eventual killers.

Bullying does not only result in the victim taking their own lives, it can reverberate throughout a community, and needs to be addressed at an early age like math or reading…and we must use any means necessary to stop it. Even if it means enforcing the same laws we as adults have to face.


October 4, 2010 at 9:27 AM 
Anonymous Kcoz said...

Also…many parents do the right thing and teach their children well, but they have no recourse should their children be bullied.
Look at the case where the parent entered the school bus to confront his daughters tormenters. He informed the school of their bullying behavior and nothing was done, so he did the right thing and confronted these thugs himself, in person…and what happens? He is charged with a crime.
What message does this send the bully?
It says, Ha, ha, I can bully all I want and you will pay…so I will continue to do so!

What should have happened is the parents of the bullies ought to be charged with a crime and the bullying would have stopped that moment, and an excellent lesson taught to the bully.

…To prevent all this, the school should have stepped in once made aware of the problem, especially since the offence happened while on their watch. But there is only so much a school can do unless they have the ability to hold the parents accountable for such behavior.

Your thoughts on this?


October 4, 2010 at 9:56 AM 
Anonymous toyfoto said...

I have never been an advocate of "ignoring" problems that affect individual people, Kcoz. Never did I say nor imply children weren't worthy of protection. What I am saying is that bullying laws won't protect them in the same way that seat belt laws have protected them.

I totally agree that schools have to employ the same techniques that job sites have applied for harassment, sexual harassment and so forth, and that courts have to intervene when behaviors continue unabated.

But I also think the most important part of the whole thing is educating people on how to be empowered. We have to teach people not to be afraid, how to handle problems in effective and healthy ways and how to stand up to those who are destructive without resorting to violence or threats.

The man who got on the bus to “defend his daughter” wasn't doing what was right. He lost control. He threatened to kill another child, he threatened a bus driver, he tried to coerce them from calling police. Vigilantism can't be condoned. When you don't get results you want, you go further but through legal channels: Talk to the parents. Teachers, Principals, School boards, Superintendents. You may have to sue the school. But a grown man threatening to kill a 12-year-old isn't even close to appropriate.

If anything, that incident disproves that bullying isn't prevalent in the adult community, as you said. I believe we've all experienced it, and because we've all experienced it my feelings are that we've all added to someone else feeling "bullied."

Maybe it's the manager who yells at you for no reason; or maybe it's the cop who pulls you over because you looked at him (seriously, that happened to me once), it's the husband that hits the wife, the wife that makes it impossible to see the kids ... any number of things in which one person manipulates control.

Perhaps we notice it more in kids because they don't have the experience to know where it could go.

I was a kid once. I help spread a rumor that was ugly and mean, and it's haunted me even though the person who it was aimed at forgave me.

What if she had killed herself instead?

In fact, someone I was trying to help DID commit suicide. That has haunted me, too. My words, I was told, gave that person comfort. Did they also somehow give them permission?

As for the Columbine events, it has been established that Kleibold and Harris (Harris especially) were the bullies, and that both had severe psychological problems.

How should the parents be held accountable after that? Should they have gone to the gas chamber?

There is no way you can compare a broken window to a broken life. Invaluable isn't something you can put a price on.

October 4, 2010 at 11:10 AM 

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