The greatest lie my parents ever told me was, “Sticks and stones, may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I know they were only trying to help me deal with people calling me names, but it made me feel like something was wrong with me for being hurt by words.
    I see that a lot of kids are killing themselves nowadays over being bullied. Most adults I know will not tolerate bullying when it comes to physical violence. But when it comes to name calling and things of a mental nature, they believe the wounded kid should just grow up. I could not disagree more.
    I was bullied as a child and into my early teens. Part of me wonders how it could be so bad, that children kill themselves. But the bullied child in me remembers how awful it was. As an adult, name calling matters less. Being called names isn’t going to make my bills, family issues, and typical day to day life change. But please remember, when we were kids, we didn’t have a lot of that to worry about. School and friends were our whole lives. Our problems seemed so big then because we had no other perspective. And I know a lot of you adults out there think you’re problems are huge compared to the kids’, and I agree. But take a moment to think… Your problems probably seem very trivial to someone living on the street and eating out of a garbage can. In fact, they might tell you to stop whining about your Mercedes payment and second mortgage, and grow up.
    If we don’t take a step back it seems easy to tell these kids, “Who cares if they call you names all day? My boss calls me stupid, you don’t see me crying about it.” But please think about what you are doing to them with those words. You are telling them, first and foremost, that their feelings do not matter. Is that what you want to be telling your kids?
    How would you like it if you woke up and went to work, only to be ridiculed all day long? And when you came home, those same co-workers were there to ridicule you some more. Then you talk to someone who is supposed to have your back no matter what, and they tell you to stop being a baby, and make you go back outside, only to be ridiculed some more. And it continues, day after day after day. How long could you put up with it? Eventually something is going to snap.
    I had the double whammy. I got bullied at school, then came home to be ridiculed for not being a man and not giving the bullies a good thrashing. I couldn’t escape the bullying. So eventually, like I said, something snapped.
    I was being accosted one day by our favorite school bully on my way home, when I let loose all the pain and anguish that had been building up inside of me. I left him laying there in a heap as I went home pretending nothing was wrong. I later discovered that he was in the hospital. I regret to this day what I did. He might have been a bully, but he didn’t deserve that any more than the kids he picked on deserved what they got. What he deserved was a good old fashioned asswhoopin from his parents, and some actual guidance.
    I think guidance could resolve a lot of the problems with our children today. Not the, “grow up” kind, but the, “tell me about your day. How are you? Is everything alright? I love you!” kind. Don’t listen to your kids the same way you listen to people while going through your mundane day at work. Listen to them like you should be listening to anyone who matters. Listen like their life depends on it… Because it just might!