When I was a kid, we actually looked forward to playing outside. You just always made sure to be home before the street lights came on in order to avoid the wrath of your parents. An Apple computer wasn’t flat. It was the size of a carryon suitcase, had a black screen with a green blinking cursor, and you could only play Number Munchers and Oregon Trail on it where everyone in your group died of the plague or from starvation because you couldn’t shoot squirrels and deer good enough to survive. You took keyboarding classes with cardboard coverings so you learned how to type, because Google wasn’t there to do it for you. Floppy disks were actually floppy. Then the hard disks got renamed inappropriately, and you sat anxiously waiting to that horrible fax dial up screaming from your computer until you finally heard those three blessed words…”You’ve got mail”.
You always made sure that you had enough change so that you could use a thing called a payphone to call and let someone know you were ready to be picked up. If you had a pager, you were either in the medical field or considered a drug dealer according to your mother. When you were grounded, you were actually sent to your room where there were no computers, TVs, cellphones, gaming systems, or anything else. You actually had to spend time reflecting on what you did wrong so you could make better choices next time. And disrespecting an adult carried consequences and was not accepted on any level.
You looked forward to chicken nugget day at school and roadkill pizza Fridays. And despite the only option for your mashed potatoes was a gravy that glowed yellow like the nuclear power plant on the Simpsons, it beat eating the lettuce and carrots that was considered your “salad” that you drowned in ranch dressing to make it edible. You actually had a thing called recess where you got to go outside to run off your craziness from sitting still for so long, because back then the school district believed in supporting the sanity of your teacher more than a standardized test. You also had things like art and music just as much as you had gym. You also learned how to read and spell all on your own, and write in the lost form of language known as cursive. It was CRAZY!
Book reports meant you had to use a card catalog at the library to find your needed books, and you had to use index cards to write down your references and quotes that you would put in your paper. Then when you finally typed your report on paper that had thin green stripes throughout it, you had the privilege of tearing off the edges without tearing the whole report to avoid listening to the printer scream loudly as it printed every letter for a second time. Luckily, reports were a lot shorter back then.
Movies were$3 which made the AMC movie ticket books the best Christmas gift ever, and I witnessed the extreme upset when gas bravely rose above the blessed 99 cents at Quick Trip. $15 actually filled your tank instead of wondering if you would get even a ¼ of a tank. Kid’s meals had glass collectable cups of your favorite cartoon and movie characters, toys that were worth something, and Hardee’s bravely gave kids 45 records that you could listen to the story of Gizmo as you followed with the book that was included. Cutting music involved running a cassette tape all day trying to catch your favorite song on the radio, and then using the pause, play, and stop button to cut out the commercials so you could have the most epic car tape for those long road trips. You watched movies on VHS tapes, and set it to record your favorite shows to playback later because DVR wasn’t even a thought at the time.
Despite being a generation that saw the Internet come to life with so much other technical advances, we were blessed with the greatest gift of all. Decompression. Despite if you were bullied at school, at home, or at your favorite after school activity, we had the opportunity to get to turn it off at some point during the day. Sadly, the younger generations have lost this gift due to social media and constant connectivity through cell phones, tablets, laptops and more. This is the biggest reason why I am working on getting a summer camp to help kids decompress and learn to handle bullying without taking their own lives. We have all been bullied at one point or another in our lives. Some of us still even face bullying into our adulthood. It is a disease that will never be eliminated, but at least we were given tools to help us manage it better. We remember a time when cell phones didn’t live our lives for us. We learned from physical books and not ipads and laptops. We had the ability to catch our breath without being constantly bombarded on multiple 24/7 social media platforms. There were consequences to our words, and we were less vicious because our bullying was face to face so we didn’t have the protection of hiding behind a computer screen to prevent us from getting punched in the face.
So if you want to #BeTheChange to help people that didn’t get to grow up as well as we did, please subscribe to this website and learn how you can help to build a world where hurtful words don’t have power over how we feel about ourselves.
I’m not sure when it became acceptable for a child to lie and try to destroy an adult’s life by reporting them for abuse when they had never been touched, simply because they were told they couldn’t go to school looking like a hooker and was forced to dress like the lady they should aspire to always be. Or when kids started the great runaway routine by using Snapchat just because they didn’t like what a parent or family member said to them. Never mind the massive increase of child trafficking currently, or the fact that it simply destroys their loved ones hearts not knowing if they’re safe. When did it suddenly become okay for a child to not only bully other children, but bully their own parents making them feel helpless for fear of losing them all together? When did they simply just stop caring how their actions affected other people?
Today’s world saddens me greatly and makes my heart ache daily, and I absolutely hate it sometimes. Although I know some really amazing kids and adults that are doing so many great things, there's still enough bad that is outweighing any good being done. I was so excited to be asked from a former student to teach her a solo for a spring performance. My heart swelled! I had not been able to teach in YEARS! I couldn’t wait to get started immediately! However, through communicating through the teacher, mother, and daughter I quickly had to make a very difficult choice. You see, the daughter misinterpreted the requirements. When the mother tried to assist, the daughter lashed out like no other. This is not the first time nor I’m afraid to be the last. Although the mother was going out of her way to help the daughter, by simply telling her that she had misinterpreted the information, suddenly the mother was being bullied even worse then I witness the kids do to each other daily.
So I made the choice to sacrifice my own happiness of teaching again in order to prove that bullying would never be accepted in my book in an attempt to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Of course another family member just gave in and gave the daughter what she wanted instead of holding her accountable for her actions, therefore, only teaching the child that if she’s nasty enough to the world they will eventually give in and let her have whatever she wanted.
I do not claim to be any kind of a child psychologist, but I can tell you that I have seen the ending of this story all too often. That child eventually grows up and becomes an adult. Most of the time they don’t “grow out of it” as some people will claim. They just simply continue to terrorize the world until they forever get whatever they want. But how does that help society as a whole? I personally get told "no" constantly, and it makes me a better person for it. Mostly because I find other ways to achieve my goals and get the satisfaction of proving people wrong. However, I never do it in a malicious way to harm others.
So how do we stop this vicious cycle that is causing our suicide rate to exceed limits like never before? I personally am taking steps to build a safe place for those that suffer from bullying at any age. I will continue to tell those kids “no”, because even if they do think they know everything already they have no freaking clue. I was that kid. We all were at one point in our lives. But there were plenty of people that stepped into my life and taught me to have Style, Class, & a little bit of Sass instead in order to get what I wanted while gaining respect in the process. They told me what I didn't want to hear more often then not. They weren't always right, but their intentions were in the right place. I rarely got what I wanted handed to me, and now I have great pride in getting things for myself on a regular basis. I may not always agree with those that disagree with me, but I respect them for their point of views and honesty. So why have so many people given up on what has proven to work for centuries beyond our years? When did we decide to just take the easy way out and give into our bullies instead of fighting like hell to put a stop to them?
Because bullies don't stop. Why would they when it's easy, convenient, and works so well for them? When have you ever changed willingly without being forced to because there was no other way? Just think. What would happen if we stopped giving in to the bullies of today? Would they not be forced to find another way to get what they want if we didn't allow their bullying to have any power over us? Wouldn’t you rather be a part of the solution instead of the problem?
*** If you feel like you are being bullied in anyway, whether from friends, family members, coworkers, or strangers, please seek help. There’s no shame in asking for help to live a better and healthier life. Be the Change that this world so desperately needs by stomping out bullying. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) today.
A girl just trying to find her way, stepping outside of her comfort zone, trying new things, and making new friends along the way!