I saw a post online a little while ago asking the following question: what did you do for Anti-Bullying Day?
Seems like an innocent question? Personally, it made me cringe. Think about this idea just one step further, and you may see my perspective on how utterly ridiculous it is. There are 365 days in the year, and just ONE is anti-bullying day?? EVERDAY should be anti-bullying day
Don’t get me wrong, I do recognize and appreciate the purpose of such a day. Similar to Cancer Awareness, Poverty Awareness, and Valentine’s Day… the idea is to increase collective consciousness around the subject, in hopes of stimulating more efforts to eradicate it. Our society tends to operate in this way for such large scale issues, and to an extent, it works.
HOWEVER, it only works to an extent. Often what happens is you get a large number of people focused and open to the idea of stopping the problem of bullying…for one day. Whoopee. Then all the hype and good intentions fizzle out, people are left to their own devices, and life continues as per usual. This also means that those kids who were being bullied before this special day continue to be bullied.
Again, I do agree that awareness around such a subject needs to be cultivated, but this is only the first step. Actions need to change on a daily basis. In this there is a HUGE lesson applicable to many situations. This is the necessity for persistence in the grind. We are all capable of having these wonderful ideas that bring us closer to an ideal world or accomplishing some goal, like the problem of bullying. If it was only an idea however, and we didn’t go past the excitement of that, nothing would ever happen, nothing would ever change.
This is my point with Anti-Bullying Day. It is great idea, great platform from which to jump, but it is the daily actions of individuals; the ways of interacting, the language used, the demeanor with which we stand, that make the real difference. While the bullies are the problem, this persistence in action applies to everyone. The daily actions of teachers, parents and authority figures set the example, the confidence of those being bullied play a role in the situation, and of course, the bullies themselves need to learn proper conduct. It is only when we all have the dedication to live in this world in a respectful way, through constant persistence and attention, that things can change for the better.
To elaborate on this just a little bit further, the Anti-Bullying Day notion is also restrictive. While it targets help for the victims of bullying, which is obviously important, it fails to acknowledge the other individuals who need help…the bullies.
Children who become bullies do so for a reason. This reason is not an excuse, but it is a problem that needs to be uncovered and dealt with. Often these individuals, for whatever reason, have some kind of pent up anger, fear, feelings of lack of control, etc. They require an outlet for such issues, so that they don’t channel that energy into something like bullying.
There are a variety of ways to do this, and martial arts is one. Through discipline, training and patience, bullies authority figures and bullies can start to learn why they engage in such behavior, and how to best deal with the problem.
This is no small task; it takes constant, dedication and effort. But like I said, not real problems can be solved with a few posters and rallies. Real issues require real solutions. If we are to improve ourselves and our world, we must be committed to efforts daily, not just once in a while.