By now, I have to think nearly every one of us has heard the story of the high school football coach from Utah who suspended his entire team for being disrespectful, failing classes, not showing up for classes and cyber-bullying other students. I can't tell you how much I applaud this man for taking a stand.
(If you haven't read or heard about him yet, check out the story here....Why a high school football coach suspended nearly every player on the team)
One of my friend's children is being bullied in a way no child (or person) should ever have to endure. The story of the bullying and the abuse is not mine to tell so I'll will keep the details to myself. If, at some point down the road, they want me to tell their story I will but I won't do it without their consent.
But the story of the coach got me thinking, what if adults everywhere across the world suddenly put on their big boy (or girl) pants and decided to take a stand against all the bullies in the world. I know, it's a Pollyanna-esque attitude, but I can hope, can't I?
Just think about what a fabulous place we could create if we all decided to be like Coach Matt Labrum. What would it be like to grow up in a place where teachers, faculty, staff and parents condemned bad behavior instead of glossing over it? Kids who are suffering because of bullies wouldn't be afraid to get up each morning and face the school day and their tormentors. I can't even imagine such a wonderful world.
I've been bullied more times than I care to remember. The big ones have stuck with me....The time I got a drink thrown on me at a bar by a girl who decided she didn't like me for whatever reason. The same girl went on to write, "BITCH" on my car in red lipstick. She was a charmer but that was in college when I was beginning to date Stan so I could handle the stress of being harassed a little better. I didn't fight back but I didn't put up with her bullshit, sorry ass either. The times in high school were a different matter. Those are the times are times that truly stand out and make me empathize with all the kids who are being bullied today. There were days I didn't want to go to school because I was so afraid of the girls who stalked my daily routine and tried so hard to break me down. I don't remember exactly what those girls did to me, but I do remember the fear I had every day as I approached the doors to my school. Even though I don't remember exactly what they did, I do remember exactly how I felt everyday at school. Scared and helpless. But I was lucky and maybe a little stronger than I realized.
I told my friend's child my story. I hope it helped, just a little, for them to see that I was bullied and I came out OK. I also told them to remember they are about 6,000 times better than the bullies who are tormenting them. I hope they remember that...always.
But I also hope the faculty and administrators at my friend's child's school can take a page out of Coach Matt Labrum's playbook and clamp down on the bullying and bad behavior some of these kids engage in each day. If they did, they would create on giant slice of daily kindness that kids all over could revel in and enjoy. Way to go, Coach!!
Oh, for the love of all of our children...