Bullying – Rite of Passage?

My first book will be published in just about one month! Exciting, right? Yes, and no. I chose to write this book to help shine a light on a very important topic; to help kids (and families) see that suicide and taking other’s lives is not a necessary outcome of being bullied. It was by far the toughest challenge I’ve undertaken to date. Bullying has become so pervasive in our society and something to which many have turned a blind eye.

What makes me an authority on the subject, you ask? I guess you’ll have to read the book. But let me just share this. In the past week, I’ve had people (who didn’t know I’d written my book) tell me about their kids who’d been bullied. I had another adult share the emotional scars that childhood bullies gifted her. And a lovely woman, with whom I spoke last night, wrote a paper on adult bullying and why it needs to stop.

I’m a systems-thinker and I look for root causes. I believe adult bullying needs to stop, but the challenge is, the bullies from the playground are now running businesses, leading churches, holding political office etc. We seem to condone bullying as a childhood rite of passage. I believe we all have the right to a bully-free passage as children, as adults, as human beings.

In 1980 we determined that Sexual Harassment was not appropriate. It’s a violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I’ve been told that no federal legislation has been passed to outlaw bullying because it can’t be tied back to any type of discriminatory behavior, unless it’s targeted bullying based on discrimination of a protected class.

Well, before the constitution was written, the Declaration of Independence was signed. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

I am grateful to the 56 men who chose to sign our Declaration of Independence. And I’m grateful that the pursuit of Happiness was identified as one of our unalienable rights. And I will be grateful when other voices speak up to challenge the defensibility of bullying as a rite of passage!