According to studies, over 3million students in the U.S. are bullied each year and over 150,000 teens skip school because of it. These numbers are out of control. From school shootings to kids getting pushed down stairs, the hurt that is caused from bullying long –term is devastating. I know, my son is a survivor of bullying and I have officially taken a public stand by speaking out through music, a song, Everybody Cross The Line, music that kids and adults can relate to based on the movie Freedom Writers and spending a brief amount of time with Erin Gruwell on my radio show Wake Up And Listen.
For the past 8 years, I have been a person who is not afraid to stand up for something bigger than myself. Having survived abuse and bullying, and then seeing my son go through it, gave me great passion to want to stand up and make a difference. After all, bullying results in many detrimental side effects including, high risk for mental health problems, depression, anxiety, fear, social skill issues as well as a high risk for suicide just to name a few. The question is, what is causing people to bully? Is it a cry out for attention or is it truly un-dealt with issues of childhood? Are they trying to gain a voice and going about it the wrong way? Or is there a wiring impairment in their brain that causes their ego mind to think it’s what they need to be satisfied? Gaining a sense of power is always only a temporary fulfillment, the ego mind tricking you to believe that you have everything in the palm of your hand.
So let’s examine what bullying is, it’s a form of control, a need to control so you can feel in control when in fact it just creates chaos. Perhaps you were raised in a dysfunctional home and you were very controlled by your parents, you then go out into the world using the tools that have been given to you, control, and you exude that on others. Or perhaps you were raised in an abusive environment, you are hurt inside, you go out into the world, carrying your hurts and then you lash out at others because hurt is all you have to give away. Or you grew up in a social status that wasn’t as favorable as others and you were rejected by society, your only knowing is to retaliate and take it out on others because you have not been provided any other coping skills. Regardless of the cause it starts and ends with us. This is the biggest thing I have taught my son, “work on yourself internally, grow, get to know your likes and dislikes, evaluate your dreams, journal and write down your hurts, go back in your mind and recreate the situation to how you would like that moment to have played out, press into music and teachings that inspire you, and know that you have been designed for greatness.” Written on his bathroom mirror are the following words, “I AM …gentle, special, funny, smart, musically gifted, caring, the perfect size, safe and loved” a reminder everyday that he is enough just the way he is.
Now does this stop others from trying to bully him? No he can only control his actions. He has been trained to stay away, don’t taunt, turn in suspicious activity, and teach others that they too are a light in the world. It takes parents rising up and giving their kids a voice, teaching them to have an inner fighter attitude, not with violence, more so through belief in their value, just as Erin Gruwell did with the students in her classroom, The Freedom Writers. “We all have a story,” Erin said, “not to have broad brushes and general stereotypes like the ones I was taught. I had to learn the story as to what would make someone angry, what was their home life like and the choices they were making. In doing so, what I realized is we are more similar than we are different.”
That is the biggest lesson for us all to learn, everybody has a voice, it’s about learning theirs and teaching them ours, getting behind the eyes of others. For when we do that we gain compassion, understanding, awareness, and most importantly relatability, because in many cases if you have come from a dysfunctional background there is something hurtful that we all share. When the hurts aren’t released they bind us with fear and shame, and when we strip it all down, we really are connected.
So we all have a choice, be the hurt that causes or take a stand for equality. As Erin said, “The best way to be a part of the solution comes in education, helping people to realize that there are different ways to be seen and heard that don’t involve weapons, it’s through words, and words can create a movement, with words, there is your legacy.” Together we can shine our lights on the darkness in the world, being authentic and genuine, truly seeing others for their story, inspiring one person at a time, it’s then that life becomes brighter for us all. Now, is the time to take a stand and Cross The Line!