I’m going to begin blogging on our website about a topic that is one inspiration for creating R.E.A.L. Education and Outreach and Reality Check. I am starting with the topic bullying since there was an article on the front page of the local paper yesterday and because this topic is very prevalent these days. When I hear or read the word “bully”, I thinkof a big kid, usually a boy, on the playground in elementary school cutting in line, pushing smaller kids around, and shouting ugly words to smaller less defensive kids. This is only one image of bullying. I know now, that bullying is not limited to elementary schools, or boys but it takes place between young women and men in middle schools, high schools, college, in the home, and even in the workplace for some as adults. You would think bullying would be extinct by the time you arrive at your career destiny, think again. I have been a high school teacher for 23 years and I have experienced bullying at different levels. I never allowed it in my presence or in my classroom, always calling the bully out for a conversation with me. I think the word “bully” could be aptly followed by: “one that is angry, is depressed, gets bullied, is frustrated, and scared” There is so much more to the word “bully” but I’ve learned that it is a universal term for making others feel less than so your ego can swell. Plus, if I am a bully, I don’t have to think about how miserable my life really is.
I remember being called a “goody- goody” in elementary school and my experience of that was of being bullied because at the time I felt something was wrong with me for being “good”, I felt inferior, and embarrassed. I am grateful that when I got home from school after telling my mom about this experience, she validated me and said, “doing the right thing, being good, is ok, don’t listen to those girls, be yourself.” I appreciated that she was on my side and I could talk to her. So many young people getting bullied don’t have anyone on their side, they are afraid to share their experiences for fear of being singled out or ticking off the bully that targeted them. Bullying takes on so many different personas, it can be anything from physical violence, to verbal abuse, to being ignored, to being gossiped about. With the R.E.A.L. curriculum and our one day program Reality Check, we target the areas of life that would prompt someone to bully someone else. We work on the anger, sadness, depression,and frustration that has built up in this young person and is spilling out on others in the form of abuse. We believe by getting clear on what’s running this behavior and teaching them tools to manage their moods the actions will shift for the better. I am frustrated and sad about hearing about young people who attempt suicide or commit suicide because they have been beaten down by a bully. I know it is time for a change and for us to put a stop to this cycle of ignorance and hate. I am proud to be working with a team of young adults who will be transforming young lives and school campuses with Reality Check.