Reflections on Bullying

A DIFFERENT PANDEMIC

COVID19 is not the only pandemic that we are facing; there is another global pandemic that has scourged the world for centuries. It remains rampant, rife and relentless. We see it in presidents, police, parents and not just pupils; we see it on the roads and on the radio, in queues and in companies, in courts and in kitchens. In a word, it is bullying.

In blunt practical terms, bullying is someone using his greater strength (be it political, financial, emotional, intellectual, physical or even moral) to get his own way, to gain an advantage, to come out on top, to be the best (or at least seen to be the best). It is about winning at all and any costs. It is all about position and power; it is full of prejudice and pride. It is living by the law of “Do to others before they do to you” or by the similar law of “Do to others because they did it to you”.

We will all have experienced it, in varying degrees (of suffering and of spreading it); we will all have examples of it; we will all have our expert theories on it. No-one teaches children how to be bullies; there are no lessons in the curriculum on bullying. However we all know they learn it, even from a very young age and we all know it is wrong.

Yet, really, is it not quite simple? It does not matter whether bullying is done in person or in cyber space; both are bullying. We do not address it by removing the gadget; we do it by changing the person. As bullying is simply a lack of respect, we must teach respect by earning respect (not demanding it – that is bullying) and we will earn respect by showing respect. Do to others as you would have them do to you – social respecting. What is so difficult about that? What is so wrong about that? So, please, don’t waste time telling me who you blame. Don’t even tell me what others must do about it. Just tell me what you personally are going to do about it (without bullying me or anyone else).

TIM MIDDLETON  MA Hons. [St Andrews University]; Cert. Ed. [Edinburgh]                                                   

Executive Director

Association of Trust Schools

Empowering relevant, high-quality, holistic education in member, non-profit, independent schools

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