Sometimes the world can be a sad place. Yesterday I read the story Grayson, of the little boy who carried the My Little Pony lunch bag to school, and when bullied and picked on about it, was told by the school to not carry the lunch bag any more because it made him a target. Really? Is that the message we are sending our children? Conform to the small minded, bully’s way of thinking and act the way they want you to so you won’t get picked on? Show no uniqueness, no special talents, no gifts, no oddities so that you can fit in? That is not a lesson that I for one, want my child to learn in school. We are telling our children to sacrifice who they are so that they will not stand out in a crowd so that they will not be a target for cruelty. How has the message gotten so screwed up? When did we stop teaching our children to respect others and to embrace differences? Did we ever? I’m not so sure.
What kind of world are we wanting for our children? Are we wanting to turn them into mindless conformists? Are they to hide every aspect of themselves that makes them unique so as not to risk the physical or emotional brutality of others? This is madness. What will become of them when they stop exploring what makes them unique? Will we run out of poets and musicians? Will there be no more painters and playwrights? What will they all become? What will the “public” view as acceptable for them? At what point do we stop telling them what to be? How long are they expected to listen? Don’t rock the boat. Don’t ask questions. Don’t be different. Be like the other boys. Do what the other girls do. Don’t dress like that. Don’t wear your hair like that. Don’t carry that backpack. Don’t wear those shoes. Don’t play those games. Don’t play chess, play football instead. Don’t sing, be a cheerleader because they are popular. Don’t let anyone know you you like that movie. Never tell anyone you watch that cartoon. Don’t do these things because someone might pick on you and if they do it will be your fault for making yourself a target.
Wake up people. I’m reminded of all the incidences I have read lately of children being bullied. Mentally handicapped children, physically handicapped children, boys who like to wear dresses, girls who like to wrestle. I’m reminded of the parents in some of these cases, who stood by their bullying children, going so far as to say the child “deserved” to get beaten up. (One story I read a while back, I don’t remember the exact facts, I believe the child was mentally handicapped and when the kids beat him up, some of the parents said the child “deserved” it because he annoyed the other children. Really?)
My heart is sick. When do we say that enough is enough? When do we start to tell children to be themselves. Everyone isn’t going to like you, but that does not make it okay for them to bully you. If you don’t like someone, stay away from them. It is not your place to taunt and ridicule them. Some say that kids who bully are unhappy. I don’t buy it. Sometimes yes, but sometimes kids are just plain mean. Sometimes kids learn this behavior at home. Sometimes they don’t. It isn’t just kids who bully. These kids grow up into aggressive adults. No, not all of them…I know. But when do we say that we are tired of this? When do we stop telling our children that they have to change so they won’t get picked on? When do we start telling children that picking on others is what is unacceptable? A MLP lunch bag is no excuse to bully a child. A MLP lunch bag is no excuse for ADULTS to tell a child that the way they are is not good enough, therefore they must change so no one will pick on them. Shame on them.