There has been some concern lately about cyber-bullying, especially among school children. But bullying is not new. It's the same old game-with a technology which allows an anonymity and reach not known until now in the history of bullying. The Holocaust in Germany during World War II was not new. It was more awful because the technology of death was more awful. There have been holocausts, the bullying of whole peoples into oblivion, throughout human history.
The United States, like many nations, was founded on bullying. One need only think of the Trail of Tears and put oneself in those worn moccasins that walked across Tennessee and Arkansas toward Oklahoma territory, to appreciate this truth. Helping the victims and bullies among our children will take coming to terms with a part of ourselves. Yet help them we must. Our children are our future.
1) Work from this premise: There is nothing wrong with any of us except our worry about what is wrong with us. Our difficulties stem from this worry and from no other lack.
2) Take a courageous look at your own preferred dramas and note any bullying or folding up-always keeping in mind that you are okay.
3) Hold steady in front of bullies, whether in the family or at work or, perhaps, in the neighborhood. Don't change yourself or your truth for bullying, not even for a toddler tantrum.
4) Find one child or a few who need your help. Bullying cannot be solved with laws and punishments, only with the love and guidance you can provide.
5) Hold steady in front of a child's bullying or victim dramas, knowing that these are just two ends of a loop and that, as Stephen Gaskin has said, "If you'll run one end of a loop, you'll run the other."
6) Shore up the sagging confidence of each child you can influence so that over some amount of time he or she feels stronger. Use the many small daily affirmations that build a young person's good measure of self. Confidence is the foundation of healthy social interactions.
7) Create a safe environment at home, at church, at school, or within any organization where children participate.
8) Take control of access to the internet and to cell phones. These are privileges to be earned, not rights. Let them know that both anonymity and long distance accusations are cowardly and unworthy of them.
9) Talk with children and young adults about trustworthiness and being harmless. At the same time, encourage them to grow a confidence strong enough to stand up to bullying without flinching and strong enough to resist the urge to bully.
This is a task for ordinary people like you and me who can, with courage and love, make a difference. You are not alone. There are groups who understand the way to social and personal happiness. Support is available.