Tag Archives: bullying

Thanks for Playing Our Game Today!

26 Oct

winnerJust to the west of the city of Ft. Worth there sits the small community of Aledo, Texas.  This close-knit community of less than 1800 people has been embroiled in a controversy these past few weeks centered around the Aledo High School football team.  One would think when they hear this that perhaps the team is playing ineligibleble players or there is a steroids scandal but one would be wrong.  What else could it be you ask?  Well, it seems that the Aledo High School football team wins too much.

You read that right, they win too much, and not only that but they win by large margins.  In fact, every game this season has been a large margin of victory and this unbalance in power is where this story begins.   It’s a typical October Friday night in Texas, the stadium lights are shining bright on the Bearcat Stadium, its Band Parent night and the crowds in the stands are cheering on the undefeated home team.  Opponent Western Hills High from West Ft. Worth is having a bad season so far, having lost all of their games to date but no one expected this kind of blow out.

Coach Buchanan, after scoring an uncontested 28 points in the first quarter of play, makes the decision to pull his first string players and keep the ball on the ground for the rest of the game.  He searches his brain to try and make this a fair fight, doing everything but telling his boys to take a knee.  When the dust had settled Aledo walked away with a 91-0 victory over the Western Hills Cougars, it wasn’t until the next day when it hit the fan.   A lone parent from Western Hills, a Father of one of the players struggling with the words to console his son after the game, files a complaint on the Western Hills HS website alleging that the lopsided victory was, in fact, nothing more than a case of bullying.

This father, and I am sure others who opted to keep silent, wondered why the Aledo coaching staff didn’t ease up when it was so obviously clear that the game was in the bag.  Why did they not have mercy on these boys who were so clearly out of their league.  Despite the fact that support has been overwhelmingly in favor of the Aledo team the controversy has gotten me to thinking about exactly what message we are sending our children.  It occurs to me that there are lists of a words and phrases that are red flagged as trigger words and should one of those words dared to be uttered then we immediately jump to conclusions and cry that the sky is falling.  More often than not we are over sensitized to bullying and the consequences of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize that bullying has come a long way from the name calling and snickers of my childhood, with the popularity of social media and the vast array of technology available to our children there is no escaping the reach of the school yard bully.  However, with that said, at some point we need to teach our children to have a thick skin about things.  Do I still get my feelings hurt as a grown woman?  Sure I do but now I have the perspective to know that words are just that and only have the power to do what I give them.  Because of this we have raised a generation of whiny over sensitive people who are so concerned about being fair that they are not concerned about what is right.

In this case, the Aledo football team has worked hard to get where they are, undefeated and surely heading to state championships in the next few weeks.  Is it right to look these boys in the face and tell them that they need to play down to a team that, for all intents and purposes, appears to have not worked as hard which is evidenced by their winless season so far?  Is it right to tell the Western Hills football players that Aledo is just a big bad school yard bully picking on the weak?  At this rate we might as well hand these boys their worthless participation trophies and send them packing off to college unprepared for the injustices that await them in the real world.  Instead of teaching these kids that hard work pays off and that as long as you know you have tried your absolute best then there is nothing to be ashamed of we are telling them that when things don’t go your way all you have to do is pout and cry the loudest about how unfair it is and someone will step up and change the rules halfway through the game.

NEWSFLASH PEOPLE!! Life is not fair, it never has been.  If it was I would have inherited my millions by now and be retired on some mountain top and never have to work another day in my life.  By handling this generation with kid gloves we have done them a major disservice and in turn have performed a disservice to our nation by not preparing the next generation of leaders to make the hard choices when someone will surely have to make them.  When did we stop valuing hard work and how to we start to value it again?

It Gets Better

22 Sep

Another life gone.

Another child bullied to death.  Why?

I don’t understand it, I’ve never understood why bullies exist.  What purpose they serve, what satisfaction they find in their taunts and jabs.  I’ve never understood why no one stands up when they see it.  I know they see it, the teachers….the parents….the “friends”.  There is no such thing as a blind eye.

Why?!?!

Growing up I was bullied, not for the same reasons, although I suspect that it would be a different case if I was a child these days.  Oh, how glad I am to not be a child in these times.  The fat jokes were bad enough but I don’t think I could have taken the dyke jokes on top of it.

But, I made it through, sometimes hiding just far enough out of sight to still know what was going on, sometimes from just good old-fashioned acting.  I knew the drill, always scared that someone would find out.  Even now, having to keep up airs around certain people for family sake.  Not that I hide much these days, I think everyone knows now, even if it is a unspoke understanding of silence.  Most days I live my own don’t ask don’t tell, but the truth is there at the surface.

I hurt, all over again, for the children, babies still in some senses, that will never get the chance to know that it does get better.  They all cried out for help but no one was there to answer that call.  I wish that I had been there to answer that call.  I wish that I could have imparted some words of comfort and wisdom on to them, taken a piece of their pain and bore it for them for a while.

But now they are gone, Jayme, Raymond, Trevor, Aiyisha, Tyler, Justin and so many, many more who will forever just be another face, another name, another child.  Dead.

And for what?  So that the zealots can save face and look righteous to a God who said not to judge, to not hate, to not condemn.  A God who told us to love each other.  But, as is the often the case with zealots, they see what they want to see and choose to ignore the rest.  I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t have to pass laws to protect each other because we just did it anyways.  I wish we lived in a world where everyone’s differences were celebrated, instead of shamed.  A place where, even though we didn’t share the same believes or views that we still respected each other.  But we don’t….we probably never will.

If you are reading this, it does get better.  You may not see that light at the end of the tunnel just yet, but it is there, I promise.  Just please, don’t give up!  You may be the ONE, the one vote that passes that law, the lawmaker who pushes for the legislation, they activist who saves a live.  You make the world a better place just by being here, just by being you.  And if you ever feel like you are all alone and unloved, you are wrong.  To that one person who is reading this right now, the person who needs to hear it, needs to feel it, you are loved, because I love you.

It does get better, just you wait and see…..

To Thine Own Self Be True

16 Aug

orig. published 4/14/11

Most all of us were teased or picked on or bullied as children…such is
life.  Most of the time parents would tell us to just ignore it and it would
stop, usually this was not the case but what ever the circumstances we made it
through, mostly intact and none the worse for the wear.  It seems these days
that we have decided to put an end to bullying and teasing, whatever the cost
may be.

In an ABC new story on Good Morning America, we meet little Samantha Shaw, an
adorable, precocious 7 year old girl whose mother made the decision to allow her
to undergo otoplasty, more commonly known as pinning of the ears.  She is just
one example of the hundreds of people who in recent years have sought to “fix”
rather than face the issues at hand.  In the last ten years plastic surgery has
risen 30% among children in an effort to ward off the school yard bullies.
Who’s idea is it anyways?  When the reporter asks little Samantha about being
teased she plays it down and says that it wasn’t that bad but ask her mother and
she will tell you that it was the adults who were the worst about pointing out
her ears in front of her, commenting.  Children get their cues from their
parents, it seems that Samantha’s mother’s negativity toward her ears seems to
be rubbing off on her little girl.

Bullying is inevitable, its a rite of passage, perhaps the difference between
now and when I was a child is nothing more than a lack of protective parents,
maybe its a lack of guidance from the parents, I can’t imagine that bullying now
is really that much worse than it was when I was a child but one thing is
certain, plastic surgery was not an option.  Perhaps instead of reinforcing to
our children that there is truly something wrong with them we should reiterate
to them how much we love them, just as they are, and that no matter what anyone
says that they are beautiful and perfect.

Sure, I still have some scars from those years that I was picked on but when
it is all said and done, those events, those cruel words made me the person that
I am today, any deviation or avoidance of those events and I would not have
arrived at this point in my life.  Does some bullying cross the line?  Sure, no
question about it, but when children have a solid, supportive and nurturing
parent to turn to, one who’s answer is not to fix what is “wrong” with them but
to guide them to the place where they know that they are perfect as they are and
stand up for their child when other parents and adults choose to turn a blind
eye, someone to tell them that running is not the answer, that character is made
when you stand up and take the high road.  Its not always the popular choice to
make, it certainly won’t necessarily get you into the “in” crowd, but my answer
to that is that in order to be “in” with someone else, you have to be “in” with
yourself first.  As good old Will Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be
true”

Truer words have never been spoken…