Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.
In sixth grade, a few months before graduating from elementary school, someone told me that when I started junior high I would be called a preppy. I wasn't sure what she meant, but I could tell she wasn't saying it as a compliment.
In seventh grade a girl came up to me and told me my hair was nappy (it was long and I didn't know how to style it, that much was true). She had said some other mean things to me in the past, but this time happened to be right after my history teacher had talked to us about why kids are mean to each other. "You're just saying that because you're insecure," I told her. Or, something like that. It's not like me to stand up for myself like that, but I'm glad that I did because she stopped saying mean things and eventually wanted to be my friend. I wasn't willing to be friends with her, but I hadn't learned about grace and forgiveness yet, either.
During my sophomore year of high school I was standing by the door of my English class, along with all of my classmates. It was the end of class and we were waiting for the bell to ring so we could go home for the day. I happened to look over right as one boy grabbed another boy and head butted him in the nose. The bell rang and everyone rushed out (the teacher didn't see what had happened), but I was paralyzed. I wanted to do something, but I didn't know what. I wasn't sure what had happened, but I had an idea. The guy doing the head butting happened to be a big, "popular" guy. The other guy was a little, nerdy guy who couldn't really protect himself from the big guy. I wish I would have said something.
As I watch the trailer for Bully, I think of my own children. What would I do if someone was bullying them? What would I do if someone was incessantly bullying them? My heart absolutely breaks.
One of the many reasons I chose to homeschool is because of bullying. I read a book when Judah was just a little baby and the author talked about his experience as a public school teacher. He said he saw examples where one child would break another child's spirit. I want to do everything in my power to protect my children from that happening. Of course, homeschooling won't protect them from everything. Private school won't. I wish I could keep my kids in a big bubble. If I could, I totally would.
We haven't dealt with any real bullying, but my kids are still young. In junior high I remember kids getting teased because they were too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short...really, at that age you can't win, can you?
I want to teach my children know they are loved and to love the people around them. I want them to be the kid who reaches out to the new kid or the one who's alone or who doesn't quite fit in. My desire for my children is to grow up confident in who they are, knowing their value and their worth and just how loved they are. I want them to be secure in their identity and who they are, so if they do deal with bullying it won't give them a crisis of value or identity. I want them to be love the people around them and play a small part in preventing bullying.
I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.