“If you're horrible to me, I'm going to write a song about it, and you won't like it. That's how I operate
.” wrote Taylor Swift and that is what two young boys
and some other incredible kids have done. I guess we have all have been bullied sometimes along life. I was too because of the wrong colour of skin, of hair, a strange sounding name and so on. It hurt and as you see has not been forgotten. Bullying is a not OK. Period. And yet it happens far too often sometimes with disastrous results.
The words of the rap quoted above ring true across land, seas, cultures and each and every man made or other difference. A kid bullied in the US feels the same hurt than one bullied in India, the difference I guess is how we grown up react and that is what needs to be changed. Just like sexual abuse, bullying has to be condemned in the strongest words.
My beautiful Popples has been bullied because of his scars. In boarding schools boys can be brutish and any thing can become a reason to push around another. When he was smaller, he dealt with the barbs - burnt banana skin, charred potato skin, shrivelled lemon and so on - with a few tears and soon forgot but as he grew older and shifted to the bigger boys hostel, the hurt he felt was far deeper and complex: humiliation, anger, rejection. We visited the child psychiatrist who sent us to a psychologist to teach him how to deal with the situation. I tried to the best of my ability to sensitise the school and draw their attention to the severity of the situation, but they took me lightly and even suggested that my over protective ways were aggravating the situation. I beat a discreet retreat after having requested a teacher Utpal liked to keep an eye on me. I hoped we had settled the situation but it was to be a short truce. A week later he auto mutilated himself, thankfully with a blunt metal ruler. The big guns were needed and mercifully seemed God was on my side and we found a new school where the child is accepted and cared for charred skin and all. I wish I had done this much earlier.
I urge you to listen to the words of this rap. They are heart rendering. Here are a some snippets:
Here we go. Please help me, God. I feel so alone. I'm just a kid, how can I take it on my own?
Tryin' to fit in, where do I belong? I wake up every day, didn't wanna leave my home.
My mama's asking me why I'm always alone.
Too scared to say, too scared to holla. I'm walking to school with sweat around my collar.
I'm just a kid, I don't want no stress.
My nerves are bad, my life's a mess.
The called me, they felt real bad. I wanna tell my mom, she's having trouble with my dad.
I feel so trapped, there's nowhere to turn.
I come to school, don't want to fight, I want to learn.
Imagine how much pain a child suffers before finding his voice but how freeing it is. Just as Taylor Swift said: I'm going to write a song about it, and you won't like it.
It is time we taught our kids to have a voice as early as possible so that they can scream when harm is done to them and share it with the world. That is what we as parents, teachers, educationists should teach first and foremost before ant tables of 2 or 4! Bullying marks you for life so it should never happen, yet every 7 minutes a child is bullied somewhere in the world because s/he is different! Bullying even has an official song recorded by Rachel Lynn. Its called Dare to be Different!
What I am trying to stress in this rather ranting post is that we adults need to lend our ears to what our children say and act as soon as we are made aware of the issue. And once again we should not fall for the excuses and explanations that will be given as no one can go inside a hurting child and feel the extent of his pain. Burnt banana skin may sound trivial to us, but it sears the soul of the child who wakes up every morning with his scars that look larger than life to him as he glances at the mirror, as in them he hears all the jeers and jabs he is subjected to everyday.
It is heartwarming to see that bullying is finding a voice. I wish Popples could have written a song and those who were horrible to him would have scurried in a hole. But that did not happen. The only thing that did happen is that he found the magic of skating and let out all his anger and vent his rage as he learnt to spin on his skates after the customary falls of course, but as they say: he took to his skates like fish to water. And as one of my favourite quote says: Running is singular. Running is for yourself. The number on the back is yours. The only one that look at is you. No matter what your family does you can run. No matter where they set roots you can run
I guess in Utpal's case we replace running by skating!
What I am trying to stress in this rather ranting post is that we adults need to lend our ears to what our children say and act as soon as we are made aware of the issue. And once again we should not fall for the excuses and explanations that will be given as no one can go inside a hurting child and feel the extent of his pain. Burnt banana skin
may sound trivial to us, but it sears the soul of the child who wakes up every morning with his scars that look larger than life to him as he glances at the mirror, as in them he hears all the jeers and jabs he is subjected to everyday. The scars look uglier and larger everyday till they take over your body and mind.
Every child should be taught to have a voice or a means of expression; its is critical to her/his survival in our times. And every adult should understand the importance of hearing with their hearts when a child has the courage to find her/his voice.
BULLYING IS NOT OK. PERIOD!