Over the last few years, there has been a concerted effort to teach children that bullying is not acceptable social behaviour. While this focus may be well intended, it is also badly misdirected.
Instead of trying to instruct children, I believe our campaigns should be directed to adults. As I look around this poor, battered world, I see countless examples of adult bullying – vicious, cruel, degrading bullying on a world-wide scale. Some examples:
- Drive Highway 2 south to Calgary, and hang on tight, as you’ll be tailgated by one maniac after another. And every driver is an adult, not a child. A mass of ignorant hot-heads determined to own the road no matter how much anxiety or damage they cause. Or simply drive the streets of St. Albert, and try to enjoy the symphony of car horns blaring away. Every impatient fool driver will blow their horns whenever the slightest issue upsets them.
- Watch the nightly news, and see how many people are screaming their demands for what they want. Watch as they shriek “racist” at everyone whose opinion is different from their own. It would almost be comical if it wasn’t so disgusting, so tragic. Whether the news is from Canada, the USA, the UK, Russia or China, the languages may change, but the attitudes are the same.
- Instead of surveying the world, take a look closer to home. Watch the blizzard of nasty messages piling up in the social media. Consider our recent election. Candidates condemned simply because they tried to make a difference. Existing politicians bullied, endlessly, due to them having a different opinion than the bully. Listen to the media coverage – loud-mouth journalists bellowing, endlessly, as to why they are right and everyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong, but stupid and evil.
- Or, for those of you who still read the newspaper, article upon article dripping with invective and scorn. Angry, cruel souls whose bitterness can seemingly only be diminished by belittling others. Every single article written by an adult and read by adults who scream revenge and fill the remaining pages of the newspaper with toxic letters to the editor.
When you sit back and consider the hilarity of adults telling children not to be bullies, the foolishness surrounding such a set up becomes obvious. The ultimate tragedy is that these same poor children have to witness this constant bullying, and somehow are supposed to understand they should “do as we say, not as we do.” Yes, there are many fine people in this world who would never consider bullying someone else, but these same people don’t seem to make it onto the news, or into the newspapers. Pity the child who is forced to figure this all out, on their own.
Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.