In honor of Back-To-School Week, I've been thinking about all the issues today's generation faces. Sure, we had to contend with things like boys and cliques and annoying teachers, but everything just seems so much heavier nowadays. Have a question? I'd love to hear it, so feel free to email me (mellow1422 [at] aol) or ask me on Facebook or Twitter, friends! Today's question is...
What do you think is the biggest issue facing schools today?
There's a serious virus going around. A purely evil one. It's an epidemic that's spreading like wildfire across elementary school playgrounds, middle school lunch rooms and high school hallways. And its speed? Well, it's making itself known at unprecedented and costly rates.
Maybe you've seen bullying take place firsthand. Maybe you've been the target of bullying. Maybe you were the one doing the bullying.
Or maybe you've heard the news about the recent suicides of young people who were victims of bullies. Maybe you were shocked that bullying could have such devastating consequences.
I wish I could say I was shocked, but sadly, I wasn't. I wish I could say that bullying was as foreign to us as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
But it's not, and if the national headlines can teach us anything, it's that bullying is surely no longer just child's play. It's no longer just a classmate laughing at the color of your shoes or laughing at the way you throw a baseball. Granted, these forms of bullying still exist, but now the taunting seems to know no age, gender or race boundary. Peer pressure. Insults. Harassment. A snide remark. Taunting.
Is this a sign of the future? Is this the world the next generation is going to call home because they don't know any different? All too often, we forget that words last far longer than the few seconds it takes for them to leave our lips. The sting can last a lifetime, or in some cases, cut a young life short. You'd be amazed at what people still remember in five, 10 or even 20 years after the fact. Words have power, and they can hurt. Plain and simple.
So what can you do? How can you put an end to the cycle of bullies? I've never tolerated bullies; in fact, they've been my pet peeve my entire life. I simply won't tolerate people putting others down. My parents raised me with the mentality that no one deserves to be bullied. I still live firmly by that mentality today.
No one deserves to be afraid of going to school, work or to just walk down the street. Bullies want you to live in fear, to constantly be questioning yourself. Don't give them that power.
That's why I'm so glad to see so many organizations stepping up to combat this epidemic. Silence only perpetuates the problem and gives it a stigma that this is a taboo topic that everyone is afraid to talk about and address.
I won't stand for bullying. I hope you'll stand with me. Together, we're stronger than any bullies and their tactics.
[Photos via We Heart It]