Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spirit Day : I Am Against Bullying

Today is Spirit Day!  Today we take a stand against bullying, specifically bullying against LGBT youth.  But I wanted to share my own bullying story right here:

My child has dealt with bullying since preschool.  At first, her teacher said it was because she was smarter than the kids, and never gave them the chance to answer questions, so they made fun of her.

Then she switched to public school, where not once, but twice she was assaulted by the same boy (who has since moved school districts).

My daughter, who will be 9 next month, has since become overly sensitive.  I want to believe that it's just part of her growing up, but I do feel that bullying has bent (not broken) her spirit.  

Last night she cried about how none of the children in her class like her.  So we sat down and talked.  I asked her if she had any friends.  She replied that two girls in her class like her.  I then asked if she had friends in Girl Scouts (which she just started this year), she replied that all of her Scout friends liked her.  I took this as an opportunity to teach her a very valuable life lesson.  My response to her, "not everyone in life is going to like you.  There might be people who flat out hate you.  But these people probably don't truly know who you are as a person.  And it's their fault for not allowing themselves to get to know you.  You are going to come across a lot of people who don't like you Soph, but all you need to worry about is the people who do care for you.  Because they like you for who you are.  If you try to get everyone to like you, then there's a good chance you're not being true to yourself.  So instead of crying over people who don't like you, smile about those who do."

I can relate to my daughter.  As a child, my only true friends were the neighborhood girls I grew up with.  I transferred schools a lot, I wore glasses, and was tall.  I wasn't a girly-girl.  I was probably the only girl in my class who begged her daddy for a pink shotgun!  But if I have learned one lesson from it, it's to be thankful for what's in front of you; the people who surround you will always be there for you.  It doesn't help to worry about those who are unkind, because them not taking the time to know you is their loss.

In honor of Spirit Day, sit down with your child, teach them what it means to be a good person.  Because the only way to end bullying is to teach our children how to accept things that are different.

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