By Megan Wirts
Today I was called a bully. Not by a kid on the playground, but by a grown woman and it got me thinking. Was I being a bully? I have never in my life been called a bully. Only by my 8-year-old when I won’t let him stay up until midnight or eat ice cream for breakfast. After all, I am the meanest mom ever.
Bullying, by most definitions, is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. When did questioning someone’s argument about a topic turn into bullying? Why is it that if one person disagrees with your beliefs on a particular...
matter it is immediately bullying? Is disagreeing with someone bullying now?
Here is the thing. Not everyone among your Facebook friends or Twitter feed agrees with everything you post. If you post something and you don’t want to be questioned or have people make comments on it, don’t post it. If an innocent comment on a blog post is going to cause you to cry and ruin your entire day, then you might not be ready for social media or for the real world for that matter.
Our children are preached to constantly about bullying and its harmful effects. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there are real mean bullies out there. I was definitely bullied as a kid. I was “Moo’d” at and told I was fat over and over. I was beaten up and spit on and peed on, and that was all just from my brothers.
After singing the National Anthem at one of school’s football game, I was told by a teacher that I was “too alternative and made Roseanne Barr sound good”, Some of my “friends” would tell me I was fat and needed to lose weight on a daily basis. Once a girl spit in my food. Another pushed me against the lockers in middle school because her boyfriend looked at me. One time a girl stole my purse and my shoes and proudly wore them while threatening to beat me up if I said anything. I could go on and on.
I’m not telling you any of this so that you will feel sorry for me. I am sharing because I want you to know that I certainly know what it is like to be bullied. I’m sure many of you can relate or had much worse things happen to you. Bullying and harassment are real and we are made very aware of it now. Everyone is vigilant and on the lookout for potential bullies. I think that is fantastic, bullying sucks and it does need to stop. Are we going too far though?
Here is a simple list of what bullying is NOT:
If we throw the word bully around constantly we are losing the weight of the word. This world is full of people who are going to disagree and question your beliefs, thoughts and opinions. Unpleasant? Might be. Irritating? To be sure. But bullying? No. It is not bullying!
We are all unique and interesting individuals and having a conversation and learning about something that might be at odds with your own thoughts and opinions is a way to grow and learn. Stop calling everyone that disagrees with you a bully.
Grow up and talk to each other.
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