Lately I have seen a lot of anti-bullying campaign ads and blog posts circling the internet. There is more than one movie out right now on the same subject. The message is great, without a doubt. I agree that it is extremely important to teach our children not to bully whether it’s being done at school, on the playground or taking part in cyber-bullying. There should be a zero tolerance for it.
The same goes for adults.
In March we took part in the Make-a-Wish Foundation 5K where my niece came out in support of Gabby along with her good friend and her daughter. I’ve already shared a blog post about what a fantastic day we had. We walked, jogged, laughed and went out to lunch afterward where the conversation and giggles continued. My niece’s male friend was very nice and patient with Gabby which isn’t always the easiest thing when she has been over stimulated from a crowded event. The mixture of her ADHD and Mood Disorder can play into full swing by lunch time.
This past weekend my niece was over for Easter and was telling me how the father of her daughter was giving her a hard time about having the ‘weirdo with no eyebrows‘ around his daughter. He didn’t understand why my niece felt the need to hang out with such ‘weirdos‘. That ‘weirdo‘ he was referring to was the same man that joined us for Gabby’s walk. My niece then explains to me that he suffers from Alopecia Totalis. He wasn’t going without eyebrows, head hair or eyelashes for a fashion statement. He truly didn’t have a choice in the matter, he can not grow hair on his head. My first response was ‘I had no idea, I just assumed he shaved his head, why does her father even care?‘. Because honestly I didn’t see one thing wrong with it. He was a nice guy. He was polite, he stood behind a good cause and if he wanted to sport a shaven head for his own sense of style it wasn’t my business.
Thankfully my great-niece is too young to understand the judgements passed towards her mom’s friend. Times like these I wonder, where are the adult campaigns for anti-bullying? Do parents not realize actions speak louder than words and if we want to teach our children to love and not judge, not take part in stereotypes and not bully then shouldn’t we take a vow not to do it ourselves?
I am not saying every child that is a bully has a parent they stand behind and learn from. By all means I know parents are not always at fault. But I will say, parenting plays a large role in how a child acts. Whether the child is mimicking actions they witness from their parents or an outside influence their parent allows to be around, they learn it from somewhere. Sometimes it’s as simple as the parent not stopping it when it happens because they don’t want to be ‘the bad guy’ and discipline their child.
Let me introduce you to my niece – Coel. As you can see around Christmas time last year she had beautiful long locks of hair. One day in December she had it cut into a mohawk. There is probably a new term for the hair style nowadays but we’ll just go with it. When the family asked her why she did it, her response was ‘I’m only in my twenties once, it’s fun, it’s only hair and why not?!‘
A lot of people see her for her appearance and judge her for that.
I personally would never gauge my ears or have a septum piercing. I wouldn’t purposely shave my hair into a mohawk either. Aside from the pain of the piercings it’s not my style. However, I don’t judge Coel for her choices and I would never bully someone into not hanging out with a person of this choice in style.
When I look at Coel, this is what I see. A gorgeous girl, loving mother and a fabulous niece.
Stop and think the next time you start to judge or comment negatively about another person. A child could be listening. Stop bullying.