It amazes me when I hear of targets of bullying, especially kids, being told to “toughen up.” Because anyone who endures long, miserable years of being bullied by everyone for everything and still finds it in them to get up and get on with it? These individuals are already tough.
I remember swallowing hard every morning at the bus stop. For any bullied kid, it takes a mountain of courage to step onto that school bus every day, knowing all too well what’s in store for them as soon as they get on and even worse once they grace the entrance to the school. For me, it was like walking into a minefield!
The daily ritual of being name-called, tripped in the hallways, having books knocked out of my hands, my long hair pulled, my head slammed into lockers, slapped, punched, kicked, shoved to the floor, and a barrage of death threats…it was never-ending! But through it all, I never gave up!
I look at these kids today- the ones who endure the same as I years ago (and worse with the internet now at play), and they have more heart and soul than all their classmates combined! They’re the strongest because they have no other choice but to be!
• The finding a reason to get up and go to school every day
• The holding on to your dignity with everything you have in you!
• The daily facing of your worst fear
• The countless insults and beatings
• The choking back of a river of tears that beg to pour forth
• The constant thievery of your pride and personhood
• The never-ending violations of your rights, to safety, and to learn in peace
To face all this, day after day, and STILL, find a reason to keep going? That takes grit! It takes guts! Moreover, it takes balls of steel!
So, if you’ve never experienced what these kids endure, before you tell some poor, bullied soul to “toughen up,” ask yourself this question. Would you have the fortitude to hold up under that kind of pressure?
And if you’re a kid who does face that kind of pressure at school every day, know that I understand, I hear you, I see you, and I have your back. Also know that you’re so much stronger and have more courage than you know! You have the heart of a lion!