By Dolores Bader
Almost every newspaper you pick up in this “advanced” age carries a story about bullying. As a new school year approaches I would be the first person to agree that this is a scourge that needs demolition. But looking back on history I also can tell you, “It ain’t going to happen.” Remember the Biblical story of Joseph? Talk about bullies! His brothers sold him to slave traders. If you don’t know the story, find a Bible and read it. Read it from the beginning of the boy’s life until the end. Then teach your children about their own power to rise above circumstances.
As a kid, I had friends (some who would turn on me at the drop of a hat), but I felt like a loner. I wore glasses (four eyes), I was left-handed (the odd kid in class), I couldn’t catch or hit a ball…a born target for nasty words. But my parents armed me with a simple saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never harm me.” They taught me to rise above the mean and ignorant actions of others. In so doing they gave me the key to life-long freedom from intimidation.
If my mother was alive she would be celebrating her 106th birthday today. It was her childhood experiences that delivered me from the bullies in mine. She came to this country from Germany after her father found a job in the Ohio steel mills when she was about two years old. She didn’t talk a lot about her childhood but you came to understand that her German speaking family was about as welcome as cyclospora, as the world approached World War I. Are you beginning to see that the answer to bullying lies not in stopping the stupid actions of others, but in climbing to higher ground and naming ourselves the victor?
I have high hopes for the coming school year. May EVERY child be blessed with parents and teachers who know how to rise above the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Victory belongs to those who claim it. Just do it.