Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bullying has no Age Limit

As a teenager, I was a mean girl.

If you've ever watched the movie Mean Girls, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Looking back on it, I'm not proud of it.  I wish that I could go back and tell my younger self that I didn't have to act like that.  I didn't have to hide my self-consciousness and self-doubt in being mean to others.

Pretty is as pretty does...

and some shades of ugly can't be fixed no matter what kind of rose-colored glasses you are wearing.

Thank goodness I matured, and I thank my lucky stars nearly every day of my life that I didn't grow up in the age of social media... because those teenagers face WAY more than they should have to.  The need to appear a certain way, everyone knowing everything that goes on in their life...

It's just not right.

Words are much easier to type behind a screen, and apparently freedom of speech gives us the right to post whatever we want to post.

Some days, it is a beautiful thing.  Facebook and Instagram and Twitter allow me to keep up with old friends and family members from far away.  I get to see prayer requests and see pictures of children and grandchildren and watch them grow.  I can stay up to date on scores and ballgames that aren't played on TV.

And this blog, what you are reading now... well, it's just my opinion, really.  And as I express often, my opinion really doesn't count for much.  I can get on this page and write a bunch of lies and some of the people who read this would be none the wiser, because they don't really know me.

In this instant society, we have blurred the values of what is right and wrong and what is socially acceptable.  We can hide behind a screen and offer our opinion of others.  We can be as ugly as we want to be...

And I almost expect this out of teenagers... because they are hormonal (sorry, girls. You know I love you, but I can remember, vaguely, what that was like).  I can expect them to spout out ugly words of hatred and judge people based on their appearance.  I can expect teenagers to belittle others.  Even though it isn't right, and I don't condone it, and I tell Caleb that I better never catch him posting ugly words online, they are trying to find themselves, and often finding out who you are means learning who you aren't.

I can't accept it from grown people, though... and I don't think it should be tolerable.

In a small town community, we all know each other.  We may not like each other, and there may be characteristics you display or I display that flat get on each other's nerves.  I may not understand why you choose to do something.  You may not understand why I am friends with someone.

It doesn't matter.

Yes, we have rights... but we also must stop expressing those rights at the expense of others.

Regardless of whether you like someone as an individual, or whether you respect their position of authority or their belief in politics or religion or whatever...

they are still a person.

America was founded on the principle that all men are created equal and that all men have certain inalienable rights. 



The Pursuit of Happiness.

But where does the line stop?  In order for you to be happy, does it give you the right to hide behind a fake facebook profile and take cheap shots at people that you really don't even know? Or report a picture on a teenager's Instagram account because it was taken with individuals that you don't like?

Today I am saddened because two of my friends were targeted in such a mean and ugly way.  Maybe this post will make me a target, but to be honest, I don't care.

I just think that it's time that we stop and think of how we treat others. We all say we want to change the world.

To change the world, we first have to change ourselves.

I'm sorry if this offends you, but I have a feeling that it won't make it to the target audience, anyway, or even if it did, they have the perspective that they have the right to behave in this manner.

But so do I... and despite how upset I am, I choose love.

Will you please join me? Before you post something or click the like button or spew out words of hatred, will you pause and think... "How would I feel if that was me?" We all know the golden rule... or have we forgotten? If our kids see this behavior, guess what... they are destined to repeat it.

And that is a sad, sad thing.

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