Now it’s my turn to chime in on the topic of bullying.
I too was bullied as a child – I always thought it was my fault. I was an average geeky kid growing up and a far cry from the overweight kid who wore plastic-framed glasses and had yucky unkempt hair underneath my baseball hat that appeared in middle school. That kid was not bullied. In elementary school, however, all I wanted to do was play sports and learn. I never could figure out why my neighbour kept threatening me and pushing me around whenever he needed to show off to his friends.
Throughout all this, my mother was awesome. Whenever I used to come home crying or scared after being assaulted she would race over to that kid’s house and rip him and his parents a new one. She kept assuring my sister and I that nothing would happen to us, that words were just words but if they ever touched us to let us know and she would call the police. Looking back, saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me” to a bully made sense but I’m sure the words were lost on him and on us and didn’t help much.
This neighbour who used to bully me… was 2 grades ahead of me in school, but having failed 3 grades, was 5 years older and a LOT taller. He was mean to the core and not that smart in so many ways. His parents didn’t seem to believe that he would be bullying me or my sister so the act kept going until he finally graduated.
While I remember these events like they were yesterday, it was one nasty comment from a girl I sat beside in Hebrew school who caused me the most trauma for a very long time. She was a bully and although I do not remember her name, I remember the look she gave me when the below incident happened.
When I was in grade four I was wearing a t-shirt that my parents had bought me for my birthday – early 80’s here folks – and it was a grey shirt with a sparkling grey iron-on that read; “Behind this t-shirt is one terrific kid”.
The first time I wore it to my Hebrew school this girl turned to me and offered up this comment; “Behind that t-shirt is one fat slob!”
I never wore that shirt again and it made me very aware at a young age that people were looking at me and judging me, and no matter how much I weighed (248lbs when I was 13, or 190lbs when I was 18) I always felt that someone was going to direct a comment like that at me. It hurt and I never forgot.
I guess the point here is that no matter what form bullying comes in – physical or emotional – it’s still bullying and as adults we have all been bullied and in some cases, we have bullied others. By raising awareness around what constitutes bullying I hope our kids will see less bullying than we had to put up with and will be able to identify when they are bullying someone else and put an end to it. Sure, bullying will never completely go away but I don’t want my kids being worried about stepping out for recess because a kid 5 years older than them is going to want to push them down a hill and laugh at them after.
Now, to the title of this post…
I heard about and watched the video of the news reporter – Jennifer Livingston – who received an email from an infrequent viewer who went on to criticize her for being overweight and a poor role model for children. His email was 100% inappropriate and was clearly offensive. He may have thought he was protecting girls of the world from obesity, but he was bullying this woman who was reporting the news.
I tried to figure out what kind of person feels compelled to tell another person how to live their life? It’s not just about what people consume, but how they dress, how they keep their hair or what they choose to do with their bodies. This guy doesn’t know why she’s overweight. He doesn’t know if she is battling an illness or if this is a life-long issue which she has been dealing with. His opinion, and comments were not necessary.
So when reading up on some blogs, I came across this post called You’re Amazing, Jennifer Livingston. It’s extremely well written and prompted me to re-post it, something I have never done before. I recommend you click-through to the link and give it a read as well. Send that author some love too.
I also hope that you will take the time to post about how you were bullied growing up – there was something freeing about getting that out in the open – and I, for one, will be paying attention to my kids to make sure they do not bully others and if I find out that they have – there will be consequences. I think it parents actually paid attention to their kids behaviours and comments they made in front of the kids, then they would not be contributing to the problem of bullying but helping to make it obsolete.
- You’re Amazing, Jennifer Livingston (torontonannyblog.com)
- Jennifer Livingston, TV Anchor, Responds To Viewer’s Attack On Her Weight (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)