Over the past several months, I’ve not so much been the victim of, but have witnessed quite a bit of bullying. As a teacher and a mother, it’s probably not a surprise that I’ve seen bullying recently, but most of what I’ve had to watch, read about, or hear about, is less of kids bullying other kids, but adults bullying other adults and even adults bullying adolescents. GROW-UP.
The common denominator that I’ve noted with most of these adults, who possess the mentality of a big child and still can’t get past the fact that they are not 16 years old anymore and the glory days of earning respect by flexing, laughing really loud, and or belittling someone else with unintelligent and derogatory remarks are over, is that they never seem to leave home or go very far from home/where they graduated from high school or if they do move away from home, it’s to a very small town where their occupations allow them to be at the top of hierarchy ladder in terms of annual income.
There are plenty of nice, wonderful human beings who stay in the community where they were raised, because they feel pride and loyalty to the town and want to continue to make the community great for their children, and I respect that. Honestly though, when I reflect on the individuals who’ve been downright mean and obnoxious to my family whether it was a classmate, boss, relative, any type of peer, the majority of them fit into the denominator explained above.
There is that minority of bullies that do turn it around. These are the individuals who were bullies as teenagers, leave home, realize no one gives a rip in college/real world if you were prom king, on the dance squad, had an impressive ACT score, etc. and they do change, but those are the ones that left the small pond they were capitalizing on and thus were humbled about what they learned about themselves: that being a jerk for the rest of your life is a pretty sad and pathetic existence.
I get that many bullies are actually really unhappy people, but do not expect me to feel sorry for them, especially the adult versions I’m focusing on today. Again, GROW-UP. Sadly, it seems to be a never-ending epidemic. A solution? I know, I know. You’re probably thinking: Stop always pointing out the problems, Laura, and offer a solution. To be honest, this problem is so incredibly bizarre to me, that right now I don’t have too many ideas for fixing it, besides walking up to the person and telling them to their face how much they suck….which could be interpreted as bullying and thus making me a massive hypocrite. Wait….there is one thing…..
I have learned a lot from my parents, who work their tails off, and have gotten where they are today because of hard work. Period. Like them, I’ve never schmoozed, connected with any type of “inner circle” at work or socially, nor have I participated in any type of pseudo sorority rush. I’m happy with what I’ve managed to accomplish so far, even though I was never a royal candidate for anything in my life, and it’s because of hard-work, but also treating others around me like human beings and never feeling like I was entitled to anything simply because I have a pulse.
I think the best way to aid and making this culture of immature, juvenile adults, who would probably cry like a baby if I ever picked them up out of their safe little pond and dropped them in the ocean with all types of larger-than-life elements, is to simply lead by example. It’s actually pretty comical to see an adult bully get so incredibly uncomfortable because the person they thought they were going to prey upon is calm, undisturbed, professional, and mature. It’s pretty entertaining, because an adult spitting out the words, “Shut up!” in public, tweeting/posting derogatory words on social media (I recently witnessed this when keeping tabs on the college sports scene), or making blunt/ignorant comments via email or face-to-face with zero research or content to back up what they’re saying, is only damaging to themselves. Unfortunately their skulls are pretty thick that I’m not sure an adult bully always comprehends when they’re making a donkey of themselves, but I’m a big believer in karma and have seen many times how eventually, even if it feels like forever, justice/the good person does win in the end. Let’s get to the happy ending quicker.
Adults: GROW-UP. We need to model for children and adolescents the right way to speak to people and work with others in productive, welcoming, and supportive settings. What a waste of our purpose in this moment to spawn more massive ego-bubbles. Let’s not turn the real-world into a cheesy 1980’s movie (imagine a bunch of Biff’s from Back to the Future running the planet) that ends in a horror film. I would think being the president, or even a member, of the National Antagonizing Association would be an exhausting and infinitely depressing existence. Aim higher. Grow Up.