It won’t stop if you teach parents or kids how to identifying it, because what is needed is more than a class on not being mean.
Change.org sent me an email, stating that I would be interested in signing this particular petition. They were right. I was bullying as a kid, all the way up into the later years of high school. Signing a petition about bullying was something that did interest me.
As I read through the particulars of this petition, however, I became increasingly irritated. Not with Change.org, or the people behind the petition in question; I was frustrated because the petition wouldn’t “fix” anything.
The petition proposed that there be an increase in funding to existing anti-bullying programs and federally implement an education program for parents. Now, that isn’t bad in and of itself. More parents need to be aware of what is going on in the schools. There need to be more anti-bully programs in place. I wish that I had something like that when I was a kid. My parents had no idea that I was bullied all my life, and I had no idea how to talk about it, or with whom.
But even still, a class for moms and dads, or for the kids in school, is not going to stop bullying. It’s just not. Being told “don’t do this”, “don’t use these words”, or “that is offensive to this people group” will not resolve the problem.
Yes, I realize that bullying is not a problem with a “fix-it and now it’s done” solution. But we need to be sure that we aren’t blinding ourselves into a delusion that we are correcting an issue when programs won’t correct it.
Bullying is a heart issue. And heart issues need transformation, not merely education.
The kids that bullied me didn’t like me. They hated me. They said that to my face repeatedly. No amount of telling them, whether it was a teacher, principal, or authority figure, would have changed what was in their hearts towards me. Pointing out that what they said had psychological and spiritual power, harming me in ways that they couldn’t imagine, wouldn’t have decreased the bullying incidents, but increased them.
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45 NIV
If there is no heart change, the hatred and venomous words used to bully people will not go away. Pointing out what words hurt, what actions are offensive; these are good, but they are not transformative measures.
Please don’t misunderstand me, and think that I am anti-education, or against educating parents about the goings-on of the school environment. I signed the Change.org petition. I want to see things change so that my kids aren’t harassed and left feeling destroyed by their peers, and then not know what to do about it.
Education about bullying is great, but it will never solve all of our problems with bullies. Don’t get lose sight of the “heart” of the matter. What is needed is a change of the heart, and the only thing, the only person that can change the heart to end evil is Jesus.