Friday, September 27, 2013

crumpled paper

You may recall this story. I've told it here before, but I really like it. It is a story that has been told and retold over the years. It's about a teacher who was telling her class about bullying and gave them an exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up, but not to rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they are sorry.
Okay, that may seem rather odd - talking to a piece of paper, but think of the deeper meaning here.  Sometimes a child who is bullied will later receive apologies, but the damage has already been done. In this exercise, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child - they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever.

Bullying isn't just done by kids of course and it isn't somehow worse in some cases than in others.  ALL bullying is bad.  ALL bullying hurts and damages another person.  ALL bullying needs to stop.
We have heard a lot in recent years about the bullying of gay kids, but let me be clear. While gay kids are so often the targets of bullies, ALL bullying is bad. We need to get rid of it ALL.

The kids in that classroom learned an important lesson. The looks on the faces of the children told their teacher that the message had indeed hit home. I hope this hits home with all of you too! What will you do to help end the bullying?   

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