Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.
When my nephew was born, my heart instantly grew four sizes larger. I guess I say it was in an instant because it was unexpected. My Mom had just married my Step-Dad and his daughter soon after found out she was expecting. She and I weren't especially close... we hadn't had the time to get there yet. I expected to really care for her child and to enjoy my time with him, but what happened was something much bigger. He and I, we fell in love. Falling in love with a baby is such a different experience than falling in love with a significant other. This was the first time I experienced being able to hand over my heart fully to someone and know that they would take perfect care of it.
I found myself fiercely protective of my little guy almost right away. He was born with a soft pink birthmark on his forehead and I spent so much time worrying "What if kids make fun of him?" I cried thinking of my sweet boys feeling being hurt. I wanted to shield him from everything bad in the world, but that's no way to grow up.
|At one with his little pink birth mark.|
Well, grow up, he has! He will be five in May and when he comes to visit me, we talk about what's happening at school. He will sometimes tell me tales of bullies "So-n-so pushed me", and sometimes he tells on himself "I pushed so-n-so." It's bad enough to worry about kids bullying him, but to worry about him being the bully? Oy. All i can think to do to prevent that is to lead by example, to correct him when he's wrong, to pipe up and talk about characters in certain movies and shows who are bullies. He needs to know it's not okay. He needs to know it hurts.
My real fear lies in Elementary School. That's when kids get really mean. They learn how to truly hurt feelings and how to hit home with insults. I can still remember the kids who got teased in grade school. I can see their faces in my mind all these years later... except now, I see the pain in their eyes. My heart hurts thinking about them and the way those years may have affected them in the long run.
When I think about my nephew and his pink birthmark(which is really only visable now when he has been running around and is worked up), I worry about the questions and teasing that may come in the future. I worry about his feelings being hurt. I worry about him becoming the bully from being bullied. I worry about him feeling helpless. I worry about myself feeling helpless.
As adults- all we can do is prepare the little ones we love for it. I believe everyone needs to start a discussion about bullying with their children, grand children, nieces, nephews and friends.
This movie is a good way to get the conversation started.
I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.