Earlier this year, a movement was born in the blogosphere.
The idea was simple:
How cool would it be if we could get 1000 bloggers on the same day to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgement etc.?
We could call it 1000 Voices For Compassion.
Who’s in? – Yvonne Spence’s inaugural post
Given the overwhelming support to continue the compassionate blogging movement online, this month, on March 20, bloggers are invited to once again post on compassion.
All posts on compassion are welcome, however this month the focus is “Building from Bullying.”
It’s a hard topic to both read and write about. I’ve read some harrowing stories of bullying. HastyWords is currently running a series where people are telling their bullying stories that makes my heart hurt daily. And this post by Karen about finding her bully online years after the fact and what it brought back stayed with me long after I read it.
Yes, you grow up. And you move on.
But those who are bullied never forget the experience. How unwanted and unworthy and utterly powerless it makes you feel.
From the age of 10 until 15 I had to deal almost daily with Megan.
I hated Megan.
I admit, while I’ve always thought of her as my bully, I checked a few definitions of bullying, before deciding to post about this, because what I dealt with does not compare to some of the bullying hell I’ve read about online. I wondered, who am I to speak with authority on this?
Briefly, from the Canadian Red Cross:
Bullying is a form of aggression where there is a power imbalance; the person doing the bullying has power over the person being victimized.
The site then outlines four types of bullying. I dealt with two:
- Verbal bullying: using words to verbally attack someone (e.g., name-calling, teasing, taunting)
- Social/relational bullying: trying to hurt someone through excluding them, spreading rumours or ignoring them
I thankfully didn’t deal with physical bullying and was a decade too early for cyber-bullying.
But, to this day, my experience with Megan colours how I view and deal with certain issues.
I am also thinking more of bullying again now that I am a parent with two young daughters.
I want to do my best to prepare them to successfully navigate the bullying gauntlet of childhood. To avoid being bullied. To not be the bully. And to have the courage to not be the bystander.
I know my memories get my momma bear back up at even the whiff of bullying with my kids. We are currently dealing with our first persisting possible bullying issue with my 5-year-old and, as the issue enters at least its third ongoing month (from when I first raised it with the school at any rate) with what I perceive to be inactivity and avoidance on behalf of her teacher, it takes all my self-control to not just advise her to slug the kid next time he hits her or calls her names.
I don’t, because I know he’s also just five; he’s got some identified challenges; and it isn’t as simple as just turning this kid into the “bad guy” in my daughter’s eyes. The goal isn’t to create “bad guys” or teach any kid that they’re labelled. At this age I’m still hopeful we can teach them how to NOT start the pattern of bullies and bullied at all and instead teach them to respect others, respect themselves and how to stand up for themselves and others.
It’s a tall order for kids – and people – at any age. And I appreciate that it’s a tall order for parents. I’ve talked to my mom about why she didn’t do more to help me. I know she tried and felt equally powerless at times. Kind of like I feel now with my daughter’s situation at school.
In preparing for this post, I went into our storage room and found a diary from when I was 10. It has one entry: December 16, 1987.
Reading it now, even as I smile at my spelling errors and struggles to express what I felt with words I didn’t yet have, I remember how hurt and how angry I was about the whole situation. How alone I felt with the problem. How I desperately wanted to fix it. But didn’t know how.
That’s where I’ll start on March 20.
If you want to join the movement and post for compassion on March 20, check out the Facebook group, or you can follow @1000Speak on Twitter or Pinterest and probably other places too – that’s the awesome thing about things going viral when they’re GOOD!