Bullying: The plague of our generation?

I remember one day in elementary school. It was warm out and I was playing with my friends on the baseball diamond after school. I don’t know how or what transpired because that’s not the part that stuck in my memory. What I do remember is my friend turning to me, pushing me and telling me she was going to kill me. Then, thinking better of it, she said he would have her brother kill me. I was shocked, upset, and as a 8-year-old, I immediately ran home, crying, to talk to my mother.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t think of my friend as a bully. She was my friend! She said mean things to me, but that was just what she did. Looking back, I know better. I also cannot imagine how anyone could deal with this on a daily basis, especially a child dealing with insults from multiple platforms. I know I never wanted to go back to school. I cannot imagine how a kid being bullied everyday can deal with being constantly threatened or demeaned.

The sad reality is bullying is everywhere. Kids are faced with it at school, at home and online. And it isn’t just kids; it’s adults and in workplaces too. Bullying has taken hold of our society and, quite frankly, it’s becoming a plague.

But, amid this growing wave of bullying, there is still hope. Support is mounting for those directly impacted through organizations and initiatives like Calgary’s own Distress Centre, Kids Help Phone and Pink Shirt Day, which happens to be today. Both kids and adults are encouraged to reach out, ask for help and know it is okay to do so. We all need to show support for today’s children as they stand up to bullies. We can encourage them to share their experiences with the people who can help and make sure they are supported to deal with the emotions they are feeling.

How do you think we should stop bullying?

Check out this video from Pink Shirt Day, showing how quickly bullying can be stopped.

— Samantha Brown is Coordinator of Marketing & Communications at United Way of Calgary and Area

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