Recently there has been interest in finally doing something about the
ages-old problem of “bullies.” Schools are finally addressing this
serious scourge that is not confined to boys as perpetrators.
One of my childhood memories is of the elementary school bully
chasing me home from school, either at lunchtime or at the end of the
school day. Our town did not have school buses, and the elementary
school I attended did not have a cafeteria or lunchroom. This bully was
a boy from a middle-class family whose older sister and brother were
honor students. Years later this bully tied another boy to a tree and
set him on fire.
Another time, when I was a little older, while waiting for my parents
in a nearby town, a female bully who was only an acquaintance began to
strike me. She must have thought that I would never strike back, because
when I stood my ground and lifted my hand, she quickly turned around and
ran away. This bully was what used to be called a “tomboy” who had a
sister who was just the opposite.
At that time, I think that there was physical bullying and
nonphysical bullying, the latter type used mostly by girls. Nowadays,
with the promotion of violent activities such as hunting, rodeos, and
fishing (that’s right – fishing is violent) aimed toward girls, my guess
is that there is probably an increase in the number of female bullies.
I also suspect that some parents directly or indirectly encourage
their kids to be “real men” or “tough,” sending the message that it’s ok
or desirable to be this way. It is ironic that much of this is found in
families professing to be Christian.
There is a distinct disconnect here between what Christ taught and
what these families teach their children. The Beatitudes found in
Matthew 5 are very clear in describing the acceptable behavior of
believers who are true followers of Him:
5. “Blessed are the gentle…”
7. “Blessed are the merciful…”
9. “Blessed are the peacemakers…”
What is so hard to understand about these teachings?
To shrug one’s shoulders and mutter, “boys will be boys,” is a
cowardly cop-out. If they do nothing to correct the situation, parents
of bullies should be held accountable -- or is the root of the problem
that the parents themselves are bullies?