"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."
A family friend recently brought the above idea to the forefront of my mind and, as soon as I heard it, I knew I needed to write about it. I chose this particular quote because, recently in the news, a lot of issues with bullying in middle and high schools have arisen and I want to express my take on the matter.
Most often, when addressing the issue of bullying, people focus on punishing the bully or making sure the student bullied is okay -- which are both entirely valid approaches. In fact, those are things that should be done. However, I feel all too often no one ever really takes the time to help strengthen students against bullying so as to put bullies out of business, if you will. They should encourage students to become so self-confident that if they are picked on for being different than the norm, which is usually the case, they won't allow it to make them feel bad for just being themselves. It's like the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never harm me," or, more familiar to me at least, "Mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."
I do have to give credit where credit is due. The television show Glee does a great job of highlighting bullying, its effects, and ways of combating it. The entire club is a melting pot of students: from football players and cheerleaders to theater buffs and a girl who was only asked to join so that they could meet the minimum requirement of students in the group for competitions. Anyway, although no one would ever expect such a group to get along, they all share a common joy in singing and performing, allowing them to transcend the norm, thus catching the attention of bullies. Did I mention that the cheerleading coach is out to destroy the group in any way she can due to her (rather comically conveyed) hatred for the man who runs the group? As you can see, they don't exactly have it all that easy for the reasons above and many more I didn't mention. However, at the end of the day, they always pull through and take the slushies in the face or the latest insult from Sue (the cheerleading coach) because they know who they are and won't let anyone take that away from them.
There's also a book that I asked to get for Christmas this year called Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher that also, from what I've been told, addresses the issue of bullying and especially its impacts very well.
Going back to Glee, that's what I'm talking about: getting students to the point at which they don't let others bring them down for any reason. I think the quote at the beginning encompasses this ideal very well. If you don't firmly believe in something, you really will believe anything. And where's the fun in that?
What do you think?