I’ve noticed that bullying has become a buzz word in the news cycle. Somehow this generation has become more susceptible to bullying and it’s destroying our young people. This alarmist viewpoint is silly. Time and time again reports about rising violence and panic about “today’s youth” turns up to be false when the numbers are checked. If we want to help the victims of bullying, we need to be honest with ourselves. Bullying isn’t new, it’s not a phenomenon restricted to youth and it’s not a human invention.
Dany Morin, an MP for the NDP put forth an open letter about “bullycide” and called it the “most important issue facing Canadian youth” I literally don’t have the adequate words to describe the outright silliness of that statement. Dany describes what bullying is in his essay.
These kids represent the entire quilt that is Canada. Some of them were called weird, loser, or faggot. They have been picked on because of their sexuality, their gender, their language, their religion, their race, how much money they have or whether or not they have some sort of disability.
If this is the most important thing facing youth, Canada is a great country indeed. Don’t misinterpret me, I don’t condone bullying and I don’t think it’s a minor issue. I do however think it’s a common issue and it’s important to see it in a wider view than school yard interactions. My problem with protectionist legislation is that it shields victims instead of giving them tools to deal with the harsh realities of life. We, as a whole, should be teaching our citizens how to deal with bullies. Removing kids from danger teaches them that we can police bad things from happening. We need to teach skills. We need to instill confidence and pride. We need to create values in our society that honors those who overcome adversity, not those who avoid it.
There is a study in the UK that states kids are avoiding activities because of bullies. They don’t want to showcase their talents because of ridicule they face from their less talented peers. When they show the world what makes them unique, the world tries to drag them back down. Dany’s solution would be to crack down on the bullies. Then kids could flourish and follow what ever path they wished in peace! That is until they leave the playground and find themselves in a boardroom. Once they try to bring new and unique ideas to a corporate setting they will be met with resistance. They didn’t learn how to deal with adversity, and bullies are found in more places than the playground. We assume that adults have the ability to deal with bullies, but if they don’t learn as kids, where will they gain this ability? It’s an injustice to cover our future generations in bubble wrap and expect them to flourish when the nature of the universe starts to poke at their soft skin.
We should teach our children to be caring and respectful to people, history and nature. We should also teach them that not everyone they meet in life will do the same. We should give them outlets to vent frustration and activities to keep them occupied so they are too busy to bully each other. Idle hands is our problem. Investing in sports, arts, STEM programs and after school care will reduce bulling and create well-rounded citizens for future generations.