March 16 2018
Today is the 8th annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA) and the message has been spoken loud and clear that Bullying and Violence are unacceptable.
Bullying, we’ve written so much about it and while it may be seen as a tiresome subject to some it is one that pops up again and again because it happens again and again.
For us (writers and thinkers of DNS), the word ‘Bullying’ first came to our attention 20 years ago at North School when a phrase was repeatedly said which was ‘Bullies have a problem’ and those words made people realize that something was happening in the world and that the world wasn’t all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
20 years ago, a student could get bullied from 9am to 3pm, go home, enjoy life and then go back to school, it was tough but people had a chance to get through the day because a student could relax by playing outside or play a video game and have a chance to forget what taken place hours earlier.
These days kids get bullied from 9am to 3pm, they go home and thanks to modern technology they get can bullied from afar via text messages, pictures, videos and memes until bed time and there isn’t really anybody can do about it unless going through legal channels.
Sure a person can turn off all their devices but why should they be deprived of their right to be entertained or to be in contact with those they love? The best advice is to block the people who make it bad and enjoy the people who make things good.
But bullying doesn’t only take place in schools as it also happens in the workplace and bullying in the workplace can have a just as devastating impact compared to what happens in a school.
We all need to be kinder, more thoughtful people, we spend so much time telling people that they are ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’, ‘idiotic’, ‘slow’ and so many other terms and we do it loudly with a flair of superiority because we want to be right and be better than somebody else.
We tell people that they are either too skinny or too fat and have voices that are too high pitched or are too deep.
We criticize how people walk, how they run, how they jump and how they sit and we put expectations on people to be in our own image.
The quest for others to like ourselves can damage a person’s self esteem, make them question their self worth and their faith in humanity.
This damage and internal questioning of themselves can lead to anxiety and/or depression and sometimes the bullying can lead to tragic consequences.
We tell people that they can’t do this and can’t do that when it comes to future careers because they are either male or female or transgender and they don’t fit in the mould people have set for that career.
We wake up every morning and see politicians call each other everything in the book and we see the online comments have a roaring trade that consists of people being called ‘left wing loony’ and so many other descriptions despite many people not knowing what makes somebody fit into any wing, cockpit, tail, fuselage etc of politics.
We see people like President Donald Trump be called everything under the sun because he calls people everything under the sun and this could go back and forth until 2020 or 2024 or the day one side decides that instead of going after the man, we go after his policies or President Trump thinks instead of calling people things like ‘Lying Ted’ he’ll sell his vision of what he wants the United States of America to be to the people.
We are too quick to ‘slam’ the generation that came after us, we compare how one generation lived as youths to the current one and say ‘our generation did this, this and this’ easily and we even call them names like ‘snowflakes’.
But if we swapped generations around you might find that the solutions that worked in the past may be useless in the future and you might even live life exactly the same way as the people you criticize.
When we break up with people we go around and tell people everything that was wrong with the other person and those stories can be exaggerated or they never happened and each side fires back at the other bringing both sides down, making both feeling horrible and downcast perhaps even ruined.
When we or someone we know is being bullied, we must always remember that there are people out there who are willing to listen and are willing to act on what is happening, we must always remember that we are cared about and loved and we are an important piece of peoples lives and vice versa and we need each other.
It is also important to remember words can be used to hurt someone but those words can lose their power if they are ignored by the person coping the abuse, this scene from ‘Road House’ sums it up nicely, virtually the message of the scene is that an insult is made to ‘elicit a prescribed response’.
Another quote that may be of some inspiration is from Winston Churchill at a time Germany was crushing army after army in World War 2, he challenged Adolf Hitler by saying ‘do your worst and we’ll do our best’.
To make that statement fit into what we are saying, it means you can make fun of the way a person walks, runs and jumps as well as talk but they are going to keep walking, they will keep running, they will keep jumping around and they will keep talking and there is nothing you can do about it to stop me.
Of course it must be said that people do insult their friends in jest, you will see it when people compare their batting skills or their karaoke skills and we’re not suggesting to end ribbing between friends as everyone knows there is a line between what is acceptable between friends and what is not.
We may not all get along with each other on this planet of ours but we can always strive to be respectful to each other and keep our thoughts to ourselves or tell people how things are with thoughtfulness, kindness and awareness that what we tell people can be hurtful especially if they are false, exaggerated or untrue.
It is time to end the cycle of people dying because of our words and our actions by teaching people to be nicer and teach people that those who insult us are not worth our time and that their words are meaningless and we’re going to keep on living the best we can.
If you need any help, there are plenty of options including calling the following
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511
National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 737 732 Men’s Line Australia on 1300 789 978
Information can also be found on the Deniliquin Mental Health Awareness Group website.