Posts Tagged bullying

Commentary: A Solution for Bullying by Don Kirkland

don@baptistcourier.com

Published May 10, 2012 

Incidents of bullying — primarily in the nation’s elementary, middle and high schools, and too often with tragic results — are getting much needed media attention these days as this escalating menace tears at the fabric of our educational system and presents daunting challenges for Christians and others who seek a solution.

 Kirkland

Bullying behavior is prevalent, not just in the United States, but throughout the world, cutting across social and economic, racial and ethnic, and cultural lines. Researchers say that from 20 to 30 percent of school children are involved in bullying incidents, either as victims or those who cause them. They also say that bullying can begin even as early as pre-school and grows more intense as children move up the educational ladder.

In the most common forms of bullying, students are made fun of, or they become the subjects of rumors. What is termed “cyber bullying” also is common, as students are bullied online with hurtful information about them spread on the Internet, or they begin to receive unwanted contact online or unwanted text messages.

Mitch Carnell, a member of First Baptist Church in Charleston and a consultant specializing in interpersonal and organizational communication, is the author of an article on page two of this edition of the Courier entitled “How Churches Can Solve the Problem of Bullying.” He challenges every church member to become a role model for speech that reflects obedience to the teachings of Jesus. This, he believes, is the church’s proper response to the “growing menace” of bullying.

Carnell is also the driving force behind “Say Something Nice Day” and “Say Something Nice Sunday” in South Carolina, which has grown beyond Charleston First to include other Baptist churches and congregations of different denominations. The two annual observances are coming up on June 1 and June 3.

Mitch Carnell recognizes, as do many other Christians also concerned about the lack of civility in American society, the power of the words we speak and write. Words can hurt as well as heal. Words can tear down as well as build up. And words can result in discouragement as well as encouragement. It is all in how they are used.

A recent article in the “City People” section of the Greenville News spotlighted Carol Ann Good, who teaches art at the Camperdown Academy, a private school in Greenville for children with dyslexia. She has involved the entire student body at her school in an anti-bullying art project aimed at building self-esteem among the students.

Good has had conversations with her students about bullying, which, as we know, has led to shootings in some schools and suicides by victims of bullying. She makes students aware of how their actions impact the lives of others, emphasizing, “One kind word can be all the difference. One negative word can be all the difference.”

Carnell wonders what would happen if the prayer in every Christian’s heart on June 3, when congregations have the opportunity to observe “Say Something Nice Sunday,” was that of the psalmist, who prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

If words springing from hearts yearning to please God were spoken in our homes each day, and if our deeds were consistent with our words, then our children and grandchildren would head out for school every morning with more than a heavy backpack filled with books; they would also carry with them the Christlike love and kindness modeled by their parents and grandparents to be shared with their classmates, even the bullies among them.

Often, when I left for school as a youngster, it was with this admonition from my parents: “Be nice.” It was good advice then, and it is good advice now.

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Random Acts of Kindness – 103

There is someone who wants to join your movement to stamp out bullying. Include her or him in your campaign to end bullying. You will be glad that you did.

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