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"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


Bullies -14 Mar 2006
By Mary T. Hoffman

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?

Go on to: Animal Rites: Liturgies of Animal Care - 15 Mar 2006
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