As a child I was bullied. I wont go into details but it affected my life in many ways. My self esteem was damaged, I hated going to school. It wasn’t the physical attacks, although they were painful but the verbal attacks which did the most damage. I recall telling my mother I wish I was dead. I was a small innocent 10 year old child, yet the experiences I was going through really were soul destroying.
Many of us may have heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. it’s not true.
It is the name calling, the verbal abuse, the teasing, the mocking. These are the things which can cause the most damage and parents, adults, teachers have a responsibility to stop when they are aware of it.
I once read a poem by John Bytheway called Sticks and Stones. I’m sharing the first and last verses.
Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.
but oh the hurt I feel inside when friends I,ve known desert me.
For now I,m left to walk the crowded halls of school alone,
And wonder whats been said today when the whispering is done.
Now if you want to break some bones some sticks and stones will do,
But if you want to break a heart just spread a lie or two.
‘Cause sticks and stones may break some bones, but broken bones can mend,
But spread around an evil fib and the hurt may never end.
I love this poem and it’s so so true. I hope as adults we all do our part when and if we see bullying taking place, whenever it is taking place. If we want to raise emotionally healthy children we need to protect and raise our voice against bullying. I am raising my voice.
I watched a wonderful video clip on Youtube where children “actors” bullied another child “actor” in front of adults to see how the adult would react. This was an uplifting video to see adults stand against bullying but at the same time it sent shivers down my spine as I heard words similar to those spoken to me as a child. I hope we can as adults do our part to ensure our children do not bully be it at school or out in public. This is my food for thought.