Not a nice topic. Not a nice reality. Bullying…
Every time when we face brute forces we sense something of bullying. Life in modern society is full of forces, mental and physical, for which we know ourselves no match. We devise strategies to deal with them. But we mostly succeed only to some extent. We make the best of life’s small and big problems. But they are there…the forces that do not bode well.
Bullying…many of our worries stem from situations where bullying plays a small or big role. We know fear.
August is slipping by. Schools will start soon. Our children think of the beginning of school days. Their expectations are a mixture of excitement and fear. They may not talk much about it, but there will be the quiet worrying: will they be able to hold their own among all the other kids…? Will classmates outdo them…? Will they be able to meet expectations…?
Bullying goes beyond the use of physical force. It will come in the sly remark for which a student may not know a clever response. It may be caught in the denigrating grinning of a classmate. It may come in the form of painful gossip of which the victim may not even know the details. It may be part of an invitation that passed them by. The school classroom is one setting where the protection of the home is mostly absent.
Perhaps educators among us have suggestions that will help students cope successfully. The subject-matter has been given attention in educational circles. Perhaps some will write about it in these pages. Schools will try to create an atmosphere of grace, kindness and thoughtfulness. That would reflect God’s very being. The references in the Bible to God’s grace and mercy are many. He knows every student by name.
Parents, of course, play a big role. They will not be able to take that fear away, but they can discuss it, they can listen sympathetically to their children. It is so important that the kids can talk about their daily school experiences. They need sympathetic non-judgmental listeners. And parents will have the memory of the fears of their own school days. Family prayers around the breakfast table are of prime importance. Parents send their children off to school in good company.