By Karen Weese
Bullying is in the news nearly every day. It is a problem our schools are trying hard to deal with, and access to the Internet has simply provided an additional outlet for this behavior. It is a multi-layered issue that must be addressed on every level.
I cannot tell you what to do about “bullies” at your child’s school, but I can tell you a lesson I recently learned from my grandson about dealing with bullies.
My 7-year-old grandson has a classmate in his grade at school who has bullied other kids in the previous school year, including my grandson. On the first day of school this year this student punched my grandson and threw dirt in his face.
So yesterday when my grandson called me, I asked him about how school was going so far. Toward the end of the conversation I asked how the “bully” was doing.
My grandson, said, “I wouldn’t call him a bully.”
“Oh,” I said, “I thought your mom told me he punched you and threw dirt in your face the first day of school.”
My grandson replied, “It was the first day of school, it was rough on a lot of people.”
Out of the mouths of babes…
It makes me think of Matthew 18:1-4 (KJV): “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Isn’t that a wonderful attitude? I wondered if I would have had that attitude towards someone who punched me and threw dirt in my face. Remember, this was not an isolated incident of aggressive behavior. This student is someone known to be a bully and who had bullied my grandson and others in the past. Yet, my grandson showed an attitude of understanding and forgiveness.
This is exactly what Jesus is teaching us about forgiveness in Matthew 18:22, when he says, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (KJV). Forgiveness is not a “one and done” thing; it must be applied whenever it is needed—even if that is 490 times.
Forgiving a bully will probably not stop the bullying behavior. Bullying is a distressing issue that parents and schools must continue to strive to end.
However, the next time I am faced with a “bully,” or when I feel I am being mistreated in anyway, I will call to mind and seek to imitate my grandson’s example of peacefulness, understanding, and forgiveness. Hopefully, I will be able to copy this childlike attitude and say, “Today was rough on a lot of people,” and offer forgiveness.