I was faced with a lot of bullying growing up. We had a family who were very close to us and their children always told me that i wasn’t pretty and that my voice sounded like that of a man and also they mocked me saying i had a hunchback (which i didn’t have by the way) and that i will look awful when i grow up.
I was bullied a lot by my mates in primary school for being intelligent and because i was loved by my school teachers. In secondary school i was bullied shockingly for being the little intelligent girl with dimples (strange i know). Despite i had a lovely family, the impact of the bullying led to me questioning my identity a lot.
I remember crying to my school principal in secondary school as 3 boys in my class mocked me because of my dimples. And my principal said something that stuck to me for life. He said people will often bully you because you have something they wished they had. He also said what others say to you is not what matters but what you accept.
I understand that we have to raise an awareness of these issues especially as they have a long term negative impact on everyone who experiences it. However, we sadly live in a world which i don’t think will ever be bully free. Raising an awareness is one thing and teaching our kids to know who they are is another thing. I can link my principal’s word to the bible scripture which says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:……” (Proverbs 23:7a).
What others call us isn’t really what affects us. What affects us either positively or negatively is what we accept. I wrote a blog post a while ago about lessons learnt from a school boy. The mindset and perspective of this little lad who was being bullied really shocked me. He refused to be a victim of this. Actually in my eyes, he was the victor. His resilience struck me. This doesn’t just apply to bullying alone but it relates to other areas of our lives.
I applaud the current wave of awareness that is being raised regarding this issue and i think more should and can be done by us all. The same time, resources and energy spent in trying to correct this epidemic in our society should also be spent in teaching our kids who they really are. Sadly there are very bad and wicked people out there. The world is becoming darker by the day. With this mind, i have decided to make it a point of duty to teach my kids about who they are and who God says they are. I also make verbal declarations to myself. It doesn’t matter what anyone says or thinks of me. What matters is what my Maker says. He says i am wonderfully and fearfully made. He says i am beautiful and good. If my Maker says it, then that is final. I can’t control what others think about me but i can control what i choose to accept.
Words are seeds. When we hear them, they stay in our minds and later come back for us to ponder on. The way to conquer this is in 2 Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
I just love the bible because everything we need to conquer life challenges is right there.
I pray my kids never experience bullying. However i will arm them with what they need to conquer it should they ever experience it.
I will continue to speak out against bullying. I am by no means trying to belittle the effects it has on individuals. It had a negative effect on me growing up. However i feel one of the ways to conquer its effect is when we know and teach our kids who they are. This isn’t just for kids. Someone has tried to bully me in my place of work. People experience bullying because of their health challenges, race, accent, gender etc. So the principle of identity is also applicable in these cases. When we understand that God affirms us then we will be able to shake off words contrary to what God says concerning us. I always tell my kids that no human being on earth knows them enough to define and label them.
With all these said, i so look forward to heaven where no one will call me names because of my accent, skin colour, look, gender, etc. I look forward to a place where people will not be labelled as something else other than what God has called them. I look forward to a place where we all can truly celebrate our differences and appreciate one another for who we are. We all are children of God and that is what will be celebrated in heaven.