Bullies are in the news much more recently. We tell children that it gets better as they age. Something about maturity and wisdom coming with age…whatever. It doesn’t. We really should stop lying to them. The reality is that wisdom does not come with age. There are people who are well into their sixties and still bully other people. So perhaps instead of setting up a fairytale that life gets better; that people get better and once you leave the school hallways nobody will ever make fun of you again, maybe we should tell them some people will be miserable for the rest of their life and so they’ll feel a need to make everybody else suffer with them. It’s not how they act, but how you react. In other words, toughen up because bullies don’t go away just because you have a change of place. The in-crowd doesn’t suddenly open it’s doors to the newbie. There are thorns attached to that bed of roses and sometimes you just have to be strong in yourself. Believe in yourself, be confident, surround yourself with people you love and those who love you.
Do I wish all bullies would grow up and stop torturing other people? Of course! But I’m also not stuck in the fairytale that we’ll all get along. I realize that stepping outside of fantasy and recognizing reality means a somewhat forced acknowledgement that there will always be people out there who get off on treating other people like crap. You can’t control other people, so the next best thing is fortifying yourself so that you can withstand the winds of persecution.
The reality is life after junior high really isn’t that much different. You’ll have more responsibilities, but some of the same issues will always follow behind. Unhappy people will always seem to have the need to take others down with them. Is there a change to that reality in site? I don’t know. I sure hope so, but I’m not holding my breath on it.