Sometimes dropping the ball is not a bad thing. This little fellow just loves it when someone fumbles and drops the ball. You would never see him give you a disappointed look when you overlooked something.
Then there are times when dropping the ball can mean the difference between a championship ring and a silent ride home. I realized last night that I was the one that had dropped the ball and I feel horrible. Friday, March 16th, was National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. I told my new friend, Shari Lawsen, that I would be honored to help get the word out and talk about it on my blog this past Friday.
That's when I dropped it. It doesn't matter that I was having car trouble or I was busy at the school or any other reason. My word is my bond and I made an honest mistake by overlooking the promise I had made. Then I realized that while I might have missed the day, I haven't missed the opportunity to shine the light on what unfortunately is becoming almost a national epidemic here in the states.
According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center and Health Resources and Services Administration, nearly 30% or 5.7 million children in the US are involved in bullying either as victims or perpetrators. Unfortunately, my own son was one of those statistics.
When he was in Kindergarten, he was bullied by his own teacher because she didn't like boys in general. I filed several complaints with the school system but was told that since nothing was on "tape", it was my word against hers. I was able to place my son with another teacher and the issue was finally resolved. When he was in fourth grade he was thrown head first into a large dumpster simply because a bully wanted his second-hand tennis shoes...a baffling reason to me because they weren't even a brand name.
Bullying comes in all forms from verbal to cyber to physical and emotional. It take a toll on a child's self esteem and can crush a spirit faster than anything else I've ever seen. Parents who ignore it because they think it's just a phase, school administrators who dismiss a parental concern because they think the parent is simply enabling their child, or a society which condones this type of behavior when they remain silent is adding to the problem and in some ways are just as guilty of violence as the bully themselves.
My solution? Let's go back to the day when parents were responsible for teaching their children right from wrong and being held accountable if their children did harm to others. Provide support for the school systems so that they feel more empowered to deal with this growing problem, but also make them accountable for doing everything within their power to protect the children under their care. Lastly, and probably the easiest thing to do, is to get the word out that bullying is no longer an acceptable part of growing up.
Just stop the bull...