- I was skimming through posts on social media today as I rocked my youngest daughter to sleep when I came across a horrific video. It was one of those train-wreck type videos that you don’t really want to watch, but can’t seem to turn away from. In this poor quality clip I watched as three teen girls ridiculed one of their peers. They punched, kicked, pulled hair, and shoved this young girl until towards the end when they forced her to strip naked for the camera, then taunted her as she cried. It was horrible, and it was one of those instances where you wish you could rewind time and forget what you had seen. I was tormented by the young girl’s shame and disbelief for her own plight. Her sagging shoulders spelled out the defeat that her countenance proclaimed for all viral viewers to see. Why?!! I wanted to know. Why do we live in a world where young girls can treat each other like this? Had it always been this bad? Was it worse, or do we simply live in an era where cell phone videos are easily uploaded to the World Wide Web? Either way it upset me that I’m raising girls amidst such ugliness.
- Just this weekend I was talking with a group of other parents about my fears for my girls. I seldom use the F word (fear), but it’s really something that fills me with frantic anxiety to imagine my girls experiencing a fate in adolescence like the one I endured. Bullies, mean girls, and the like are things I’ve blogged on before, having personal experience with the topic. I can’t fathom watching either of my daughters go through such a difficult experience. As I spoke this concern to a co-worker he explained his opinion that it was good for kids to be allowed to go through such hardship because it developed strength to deal with adversity, that it showed them the ugliness in this world, and prepared them to deal with it for the rest of their lives. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Even I had to agree to some extent at the time, but as I thought of it today it just made me mad. It made me angry and saddened me that my children should go through being the subject of someone else’s mockery so they could grow up and continue to receive such petty behavior from supposed grown women. I got to thinking about that perspective, and maybe that’s part of the problem. We’re so busy training our children to be defensive, to be fighters, to be able to withstand the ridicule of their enemies that we’re missing out on teaching them to embrace the weakness of others, to help a fallen friend, or to give aid to those in need.
- I’m afraid to say that we as parents are fully responsible for the state of our children’s future. We are raising tiny bullies, little people we are teaching to keep their guard up, and fight back. While I’m all in favor of teaching your little one to stand up for themselves and not be picked on relentlessly, I think we’re teaching our kids that this is bound to happen to them. We are raising distrustful, pessimistic children who are ready to throw a punch when someone taps innocently upon their shoulder. In place of teaching the character of Jesus who helped the needy and saw the best in people amongst the worst of people, we are teaching them there is no such thing as good people anymore. They are on the look-out for bullies at every corner, watching in anticipation for someone to say something cruel, and waiting with baited breath to respond in their own defense for such hateful, yet expected behavior. We are working our hardest to toughen up our children, make their skin thick so they can’t be hurt. In our quest to prevent harm to our kids, we are forgetting to teach them how to be soft. We’re missing out on showing them sensitivity, empathy, and self-sacrifice for someone else. We’re raising kids that know how to defend themselves, but have no clue on how to embrace someone who is hurting. They know how to stand with a raised fist, but not how to bend down and extend a hand to the kid laying on the ground. We’re teaching our kids how to survive a cruel, heartless world, but not how to change that destiny. They know how to respond to a bully, but not a friend in tears. It’s cliche, but there needs to be more lovers, and less fighters. Instead of raising kids who can fight against adversity, perhaps we should raise them to change it, to embrace instead of push away, to give a helping hand, rather than a guarded one. We are responsible for our children’s future. We are molding who will fill the world they inhabit.
I saw this on social media as well, and loved it immediately.
That is all 🙂