February 24th is anti bullying day. It is a day when we are asked to wear a pink shirt and strive for a world where there is no bullying. It is a day when we are asked to think about how we treat others.
I did face some bullying as a child. I had moved to a new school. The teacher had asked us to check each other's work. I noticed several errors on my fellow classmates test paper. When I pointed them out, she merely took her eraser and corrected her errors before handing them into the teacher. I was about to say something to the teacher when the recess bell went and we all went outside. There I quickly found out that this girl was the "Queen Bee" of the school year. People began to taunt me at recess because I dared to point out her mistakes. Who are you to challenge her? And thus for a few years at the school, I was teased because I had dared to say that the "Queen Bee" had made some mistakes.
Gradually these taunts faded away. I learned not to listen to what others said. Other students had moved to the school and they became targets of derision. We all grew up. But that did not mean that the bullying I faced in grade 3 did not still effect me. I had to learn not to feel bad about myself. I had to find my shattered self confidence. I had to learn who I could trust in the school yard and who I could not. Even to this day, I have decided to shun high school reunions and that sort of thing because of what my bullies did to me all those years ago. The words of a few still linger in my head.
Bullying attacks the character of another. It causes shame and pain. It leaves marks that just don't heal over night. Some people bully because they have low self esteem themselves. They put down others in order to feel better about themselves. I may struggle but they struggle even worse. Some bully because someone else threatens their perceived place in the school. Some bully because they have been taught to fear those who are different. Some bullied because they themselves are bullied.
For years society has taught us to just get over being bullied. You are too sensitive. You need a thicker skin. It is kid's stuff. But this is not the case. People should not have to get over it. People should not have to endure abuse. So that is why we have days like Pink Shirt Day- a day when we take a moment to at least recognize that bullying is not acceptable. Pink Shirt Day is not a panacea. Children who are perceived as weak or different will still be taunted. But maybe it is a start to recognizing that bullying is wrong and it is time that we all live in a civil society. Blessings.