Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Few Thoughts on Bullying...We Adults are part of the problem.

There are many things that we try to teach as Children's Ministers.  But, more an more I am seeing that we, ourselves, have to be very careful, especially online, if we do not want to harm our own witness.

If you have been online, listening to the radio, or watching the news over the last few years you would see that there has been a huge surge of people speaking out against bullying. And rightly so because it is a huge problem in our society.  Those of us who work with children and teenagers know that it happens.  It's terrible and it's hurtful and it MUST STOP!  Everyone seems to agree with this...until it is time for the elections.

Then it seems that adults all across the country decide that bullying is ok.  After all, the people they are talking about are politicians.  They made themselves fair game, right?  WRONG!  They decided to run for a political office.  They decided to try and make a difference in our country.  They did not decided that they and their family were just going to be "ok" with being bullied.

No matter what our political affiliation, this blog applies to everyone...and I'm talking to the politicians and even the news reporters too. There is a difference between a news story and a smear campaign for ratings.  If we want to teach our children that bullying is wrong, then we have to stop it ourselves.

And while I'm on the subject, this applies to sporting events too.  How many times have we seen someone post something about how they are so glad so and so was fired, or how "Mr. Sports Star" is doing such a lousy job in their sporting event.  Seriously???  

How do we explain why it is ok for us to verbally torture, tear down, and post embarrassing pictures of a politician or a sports star, but it's not ok for our kids to do it of a classmate?  Do we realize what we are doing to the family of that person?  How would you like it if your Mom, Dad, Aunt, or Uncle was being torn down all over the internet by people who had never even met them?  Do you know for an absolute fact that what you are saying is true?  Even if you do, why is it ok for you to post such things about this person while at the same time you are trying to teach your children and teenagers that it is not ok for them to do the same to others?

This is a horrible and tragic double standard that MUST STOP.  Children learn by example.  What kind of example are we setting?

If you don't like a particular politician, don't tear him or her down.  Build up your candidate.  Show off all his or her good points.  I don't care why you don't like the other candidate...tell me why you DO like yours.  Is that so hard?  Or do you really not know enough about your candidate to do that? 

If you are unhappy about how a sports personality is playing their game, don't tear them down, focus on something positive you can say or simply don't say anything at all. Perhaps highlight someone else on the team who is doing well.

We are being watched and our online lives are often have an even bigger impact than our offline lives.  Why?  Because people all across the world have access to seeing what we put online.  But only those literally around us see our real life actions.  How does it look if they see us praising God with our mouths at church and tearing down people online?  What about those who post Scripture about how God loves everyone one minute and then how they hate such and such a candidate the next?  Do we not see how our witness is being damaged?

Before you post something, put your name, or better yet, your child's name in the place of the person you are ready to post about.  Would you still post it? If not, then DON'T POST IT.  Don't SHARE it.  And just because you think it's funny doesn't mean it's not cyber-bullying.  Remember...that person is someone's child, so don't do to them, what you wouldn't want done to your child.  Is that really so hard? 

I know this is different than  the tips I usually post, but this is a topic that is simply too important to ignore.  And as we all know, our actions speak much louder than our words and that applies both to Children's Ministry and to life in general.

Until next week...

* This is an updated version of posts I wrote for my other blog a few years ago.  However, with this ever increasing social media world, I felt it was important to share my thoughts here as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment