October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
It’s an opportunity to bring to light those activities that are not okay.
When I was a junior in high school I received an anonymous letter stuck in my locker. It said, in essence, that I was a pretty girl and smart and if I could just lose weight I’d have tons of friends and be popular. I should try to lose some weight so I could be healthier and not die young. That letter cut me to the quick and I cried for days. I thought I was fat! Someone else took the time to write that down and tell me. I never showed any of my friends that letter, I was so embarrassed thinking I was fat and someone really noticed it.
At 16, I was 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. In hindsight, I was NOT fat.
The person that wrote that letter was a bully. They tried to couch their message in kindness (you’re so pretty) and concern (not die young). It was still bullying.
I’m now 40 years older and hopefully a lot wiser. Fortunately for me I survived that awful experience. And yet, I can still feel that pain as if it were yesterday.
What can we do to stop bullying?
First of all, stop it when you see it happening. If you hear a young girl say she’s ugly, or fat, or weird —- stop her. Tell her she’s beautiful and perfect just the way she is. If she’s one of your kids, tell her that often. Listen to what her friends are saying to her. There’s a lot of frenemies in high school – stop them when they say “if only you could lose 10 pounds.”
What other suggestions do you have to eradicate bullying? I’d love to hear your suggestions.
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The picture is my great niece goofing around when she was very little – she is not a bully and she is certainly beautiful!