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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



In a video that has gone viral this week a young man from Tennessee is seen talking to his mom about bullying. The middle schooler named Keaton is nearly in tears as he continues to ask why there is a need for bullying and wonders aloud if it will ever get better. What struck me was not so much the feeling that Keaton had about being bullied but how sad he was for other students that suffer from being bullied as well.

I was bullied as a kid. I’m sure that is a statement most all of us could make. My bullies were the bigger kids on the school bus who taunted us for not getting out to the bus fast enough and teased us about our clothes and other things. The words they used aren’t really all that memorable forty years later, but I still remember how it made me feel and the fact that much of my self-worth growing up was twisted by what they did. It was something I got used to after a while and although I never quite forgot it, I do know that it made me feel like my value as a person was less and less with each mean word.

The funny part about all of this is that I know this isn’t the first column I’ve devoted to this topic. As much as we all try to put an end to the practice of bullying I’m disappointed that it doesn’t seem that we have made any progress whatsoever. I still see it happening today and it isn’t only kids that are responsible for being bullies nor is it only confined to school. I see it when I’m out and about, at stores and restaurants in the way that some people treat their wait staff. I see it in church from time to time, which bothers me more than anyone realizes and I definitely see it in the work place.

Now I’m not talking just the good natured ribbing that goes on between coworkers, but real bullying by people who should know better. Maybe I’ve drunk enough blue and gold Kool-Aid over the years to think that I know how places of work should be, but I have always felt that anyone in a position of leadership should be constantly working to better the staff under you, rather than worrying about making yourself look good. Whether it is a manager or a company as a whole, if you have successful people and you constantly strive to make them better, managers and the company as a whole will in turn look good. Maybe I’m just a little to naïve to think this is true?

As parents it is our number one priority to make sure we are raising good kids. If you have a child that is being bullied you need to speak out and stand up for them. And on the flip side of the coin if you have a child that is a bully you need to stop it…now. This isn’t about who is best, or toughest or strongest or who has the most money. It isn’t about any of those things. It is about respect and the way we should be treating each other. If you are a bully…and I am here to tell you there are more than a handful of adults that never learned the “don’t be a bully” lesson…if you are a bully and you are doing so to earn respect, I’ll let you in on a little secret. You’re not going to get respect from anyone acting that way. I’m done with the bullies in my life. I’m no longer eight years old and shaking as I get onto the school bus or looking behind me as I play on the playground. I’m an adult…and I don’t have time for you or the way you feel the need to treat anyone in the world that way. Done….period.

If you are still confused I’ll leave this here. Someone a couple thousand years ago felt these words important enough to document and leave for us as a guideline for our lives. From I Peter 3:8-12, 8Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil." I think it’s pretty hard to argue with that now isn’t it?

I want to leave you with the words of Keaton this week and ask you to reflect on them as you go through your day. “Why do they bully? What’s the point of it? How do you find joy in the pain of other people? I don’t like it when they do it to me and I sure don’t like it when they do it to other people, because it’s not O.K.” See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.