Saturday, January 08, 2011

School Bullying

I Just finishing reading Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco. The ending, just like the ending to her talk at my school, is driving me nuts. After all those kids did to her, how can she forgive them without a second thought, and become best buds with them? I understand how she longed for their acceptance, but I just can't see how she lets go of years and years of anguish and hurt. Maybe she's a better person than I, but it just doesn't seem realistic to me.

Now, it's not like I was bullied as a kid, at least not like Blanco was. I was teased, my peers loved the fact that I cried easily and tried to make me all the time. I was called names as a high schooler that I still shudder to hear now as an adult. I was generally ignored by the "popular kids" throughout middle school, and into high school. On one occasion in middle school, a girl threatened to beat me up, and it terrified me for months. When I was in elementary school, I was sitting in a corner at recess, and a large girl named Mateeka actually sat on me. I was more "unseen" than bullied. So no, my life was not miserable. But I was definitely never one of the in crowd.

Which is why I can't imagine a high school reunion scene like the one Blanco describes at the end of her book, where she opens up to her tormentors, and tells them how glad she is that they like her now. Sometimes I see people that are so great at forgiveness, and their lives are probably better as a result. They say that to hold on to past hurts is like letting someone rent space in your head for free (Rob Bell, paraphrased), and that the only one it hurts is yourself. So forgiveness is a good thing. It's biblical. Jesus calls his followers to forgive a person who has wronged you "70 times 7 times." But I honestly find it hard to befriend someone who has hurt me that many times. That just seems stupid to me, because you're just opening yourself up and allowing them to hurt you all over.

This isn't a very developed post, I know. But I'd love to hear some of my reader(s) thoughts on the subject of forgiveness, the past, and/ or school bullying.

Also, please note - while I have a hard time accepting Jodee Blanco's unilateral forgiveness of those that ruined her childhood, I loved her book, and the action points that she provides for kids and adults involved in bullying. Hearing her speak and reading her book will change the way I counsel my students, and one day, my own children. I highly recommend the book to anyone who ever was a child, who has children, or who works with children. I would even recommend it to high school students who are mature enough to handle some strong language and violence.

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