Beyond Bullying… What’s Possible?

Beyond Bullying Whats Possible

Choice creates awareness…
What could have been possible if the ones doing the ‘bullying’ actually asked of themselves, “If I do this/say this/message this, what will it create?”
What could have been possible for Libby Bell, the Adelaide teenager who chose to take her own life this week, if upon receiving the messages/comments etc, she asked some questions of herself… “If I respond in this way, what will it create? And if I don’t respond, what will it create?”

I was bullied in highschool and I certainly never spoke up to an adult about it. I was lucky enough to have an aware young math teacher who could see I was really struggling with that girl and so allowed me to have some breathing space (by sending me out of the room to the library) when I was right on the edge of breaking… and for that I am so grateful!

The cause of that girl picking on me??? I have no idea… I was a very scared first year at high school… My entire friend base has all but disappeared, I was the weird kid, the nerd, the one with the horrible sandles that no one else wore, I had pimples and I spoke properly… I was lonely, alone, and quite clearly a very easy target… I had gone from a tiny country school with a max of 40 kids in the entire school to a massive school with about 400…

I was struggling with that many people, trying to make a whole new bunch of friendships, remembering where to go each class, and having to catch a bus for the first time ever… That first year seriously sucked even without the bullying… This girl would touch my legs inappropriately in class daring me to tell the teacher and knowing that if I did she would deny it, would poke me in the back with pens and sticks, she would stand really close to me when we were waiting in line – knowing it would make me uncomfortable and so I would move, she would speak to me in hushed tones so no one else would hear and make me wonder if I was going nuts, she would order me around like her slave, and that carried on for a full 6 months…

The only thing that gave me any joy that year was getting good grades and the library…

What changed after 6 months??? I did… I had had enough… It was her or me…

After 6 months of her bullying we were in the pool for P.E. and we were doing water volley ball… I was unfortunately on the same team as her and the ball went out side the pool… She ordered me to “Go get it!”
I turned around, looked at her totally fuming with rage and demand and responded through gritted teeth with “GO…. GET…. IT…. YOUR…. SELF!!!!!!”
We locked eyes… I saw one of her “minions” quietly slip out of the pool and go grab the ball…
The ball splashed back into the water… and suddenly that moment in time was broken.

She never picked on me again after that. And interestingly for me it was like she just completely disappeared for the rest of the year. Perhaps it was more about the fact I was no longer focused on avoiding her. I knew I had the strength to have my own back if I required it. I got into some other activities and had managed to formulate some new friendships… Oh and I finally convinced my Mum to get me a proper pair of school shoes like everyone else, and while that may seem like something so insignificant to an adult…
The one thing to remember is this… kids can be arseholes, Teenagers can be mega arseholes!

And while I wish we lived in a world where differences were the normal thing, not even something to be seen necessarily as ‘special’ or anything… and there have been huge leaps towards that… The case of Libby Bell shows there is still a very long way to go… Bullying through technology is relatively new in the scheme of school yard antics… and in some ways far more invasive as there isn’t really any respite when you leave the school grounds… It continues well beyond and into the “safe places” of home…

So what can we do as parents, educators, carers, adults and role models????

Teach the kids how to be aware of what their choices are creating… and that’s for BOTH sides of the fence… The bullies and the bullied…

Teach them how to know what’s true for them… so that if someone does say something derogatory they’ll know the truth and the remark will have nothing to stick to.

Teach them how to have their own back and to know that they can ask for help from a parent or trusted adult at any time. Again that’s for BOTH sides…

And as the adults here… ask some (and by some I mean LOTS) of questions…
What is this behaviour actually trying to communicate?
What can be done here?
Is it possible to change this?
Is yes, then How?

What I know is that no one would have ever stopped to ask me or the other girl what was actually going on…
What was happening in her home or family life?
Did she have a family life?
Was she the eldest or maybe even the middle child and was pissed off by having to take all the responsibility but with no voice?
Or did she get completely ignored by super busy parents that she never saw?
Was she hungry, because there was no food in the house?
What if that was the only way she knew to get attention, and it didn’t matter that it was negative… it was the rhythm of her flow to be seen in some way…
I have no idea… But what I do know is this…
Something HAS to change…
It is changing, slowly… and teaching our young ones to be aware of what they are creating for themselves and others, is absolutely stepping things into a whole new realm of possibilities…

If you or anyone you know would like to know about some tools and techniques to create a different future in the school yard, office or home…
Please I invite you to try a new possibility, you can contact me Here

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