Last month over 1000 bloggers from all around the world spoke on Compassion, #1000Speak, to make a difference, however small. They spoke to affect positive change and to instill hope. To get the message out that the world still cares. Is it surprising then that it was a great success? So we are back again this month to speak about compassion with the spotlight being on Building from Bullying.
One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered ― Michael J. Fox.
I'll share a story with you today about a little girl who was shifted to a new school in the year 2000. She was only in middle school then and there she was one day in an unknown classroom, in an unknown school being stared at by a host of unknown faces. Let's call her new girl. Note here that she was the youngest in the family, always loved and cared for. She wasn't really aware of the cruel and mean world at that point.
During her first month there it so happened that a teacher was absent, there was no substitute and hence the girls (it was an all girls' school) decided to play a particular game and include the new girl in it as well. A good gesture, right? Well, hold on to that thought for a moment. Now let me tell you something about the game. It was called 'F.L.A.M.E', a game girls played often in school during those days; a game about puppy love percentages and crushes. You get the idea right? Well, in short, a harmless game really.
But what happens when a class full of students is left without a teacher? Well, they make noise, a lot of noise. And that's what happened on that day as well. Compelled by the commotion a teacher from the next class walked in, all angry and agitated, ready to dish out punishments. But of-course the classic thing to do was ask what was going on there and so she did. It was then that all the girls unanimously pointed towards the new girl as if to say that she, and not them, was responsible for it all. And strangely the teacher believed it to be so as well.
The teacher then walked up to the new girl and found the paper where LOVE and CRUSH percentages had been calculated by every girl in the class. What happened next? Well, for reasons beyond comprehension, the teacher scolded the new girl for teaching her girls a 'bad game'. In fact, she went so far as making the new girl sit alone, separated from the rest of the class every day from that day onward. This was to be her punishment. For what you ask? As hard as it is to believe, it was for agreeing to play a harmless game with girls she thought would become her friends one day. And apparently also for a ruckus she hadn't created in the first place.
It was too much for the new girl to take. She was new there and didn't have any friends yet. On top of that, it was as if she was being penalized for being the unknown face in school. This affected her in a big way. She couldn't sleep at nights and had suddenly become quieter than usual. Then one night her elder sister found out all about it. She found out that this new school was targeting her little princess for no valid reason at all. Of-course, the elder sister would have liked to give the teacher a piece of her mind but she was also just a high school student then. So, she did the next best thing.
The elder sister told the new girl to divert all her energy towards studies. She told her it was okay to be alone but it was important to never feel lonely. She reminded the new girl that she had her family by her side. She told her to turn this to her advantage; in such a way that the students and teachers in the new school are forced to alter their behavior. It wasn't easy but both the sisters worked at this every night, night after night. And after almost 8 months when the term results were out the new girl, the girl they had ostracized, scored the highest leaving everyone behind. And slowly yet certainly they all changed their attitude towards the new girl, not that she needed them anymore because her sister had taught her to be happy otherwise too.
Now, I shared this because I felt the students and the teachers were unfair here. Punishment is alright provided it is justified and within limits. Targeting a new student is nothing sort of bullying. It's not acceptable at all. Imagine the trauma the little girl must have gone through? At-least she could share with her sister and had a shoulder to lean on. There are people who are affected by bullying and have to deal with it all alone without anyone to rely on. Or, sometimes they can't find it in them to share. Thus what happens is that they sometimes lose the battle leaving behind unanswered questions, distraught loved ones.
So I ask everyone today why can't we not resort to bullying? Is it so hard? What is there to gain by being mean to anyone and that too on purpose?
To those affected by bullying , I wish to say that don't let anyone make you feel miserable. Your happiness is in your hands. If people laugh at you, let them. If they taunt you, let them. I think the best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them and not let them win. Channelize the energy to something positive. Build yourself and remember only your opinion of yourself matters, no body else's. Keep fighting!
“Things will get easier, people's minds will change, and you should be alive to see it.” ― Ellen DeGeneres
Oh and that new girl, she's my sister. And I'm happy to say that after that incident she has fought every bully in her life and I'm sure she'll continue to do so in the future too. She has built herself beautifully in spite of being bullied. I'm just so proud of her and I'll also always be with her.
Well, before I end, tell me do you want to share a story about bullying too? And if you do, please also join us for #1000Speak on the blog or the Facebook page.
Labels: Relationships, Social