Bullying: A Big Complicated Problem with Many Simple Solutions

If each one of us untangled one string at a time...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kids, Bullying, and the Holidays

This is a challenging holiday season for me and my family. It's been a season of loss. No matter what, loss makes you sad and there's no room for sad during the Christmas season.

When things are going well, the holidays make everything that much brighter. But when that's not the case, the holidays somehow make your lows feel lower.

Then I started thinking about how kids feel when they're being ridiculed or ostracized or physically pushed around. Are the holidays a needed diversion or are they hard? Isolating? Lonely?

When kids are happily buying gifts or making cards for their friends, do bullied children feel worse? When kids are getting together to go to the mall or go ice skating or caroling -- or whatever the traditions are for whatever religion you are -- or whatever region you live in -- do kids on the outside looking in, feel despondent?

I love the holidays but this holiday has made me more aware of kids who don't have the skills yet to understand that it's not their fault.

The point of this post is simply to say that during the holidays, perhaps we could give the gift of awareness, eye contact, interest, time, or just a kind word. Every child deserves the warmth of friendship.

It's too embarrassing for kids to admit that they're not happy during the holidays. Perhaps we can help lift that burden. Even if we can't fix their problem completely, we can remind them that there's still a reason to smile. Can compassion be wrapped? No, thank goodness. It's a gift that doesn't need tape and nice neat corners...but it does need an open heart and maybe a little glue.

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