Last night, someone thoughtfully raised concern about the most recent suicide attributed to cyber bullying in Florida. The concerned party wanted to know why we weren’t talking about the issue. She was appalled that the world could be a place where someone was treated so badly that they felt they could not go on. She wondered why we weren’t talking about it – I sat ashamed, wondering as well.
Bullying is an issue that is not easily solved. We can educate kids and tell them to stop – but that is not a guarantee. What fascinates me is the apparent dis-coupling of a rise in bullying from what is happening in adult society. While I think kids should certainly be taught not to bully others – I wonder who is teaching adults the same thing.
I do believe that youth model what they see their parents and the adults around them doing. When will we rise to the occasion and admit our part in the bullying problem. When will we understand that how we treat and respect others is how our kids will treat and respect others. When will we hold ourselves accountable. When will we decide it’s worth making a change to save lives.
I think the church has a unique part to play in this. I think we owe it to all of the bullied youth out there to raise the questions that make this society uncomfortable. I think we owe it to all of God’s beloved children to call each other on our misbehaving. While focusing on bullying, we are able to ignore the fact that we have become a country that sanctifies violence. When will we focus on that?