Friday, April 16, 2010

Bullying 101

As I was teaching yesterday, I noticed a kid sitting in the front row slightly swinging his feet and looking down, as if studying the pencil marks on his desk. Normally, I might never have noticed anything weird about a student like that, but he never looked up. Even as I began the video and other kids began taking notes, he didn't glance up once. He was taking notes, and it didn't bother me that he wouldn't look at the screen--after all, he could be an auditory learner. But, I just got the feeling that he was sad. No sooner did this thought cross my mind when three senior boys from the back row started yellow taunts like, "Hey Joe! Joe! You deaf?" and "Hey Joe, I heard someone slashed your tires last night. Is that true?" and "Hey Joe, are you gay?"

They hit my anger trigger--bullying.

It's unjust, it's unfair, and I absolutely will not tolerate it. Yes, I took care of it, but it broke my heart and it was all that I could think about for the rest of the day. What a miserable life to be Joe. He didn't ask for that. He didn't come to school looking for a fight. He sat quietly and yet still, he was persecuted, and never once retaliated with a single word. It smashed my heart into a million pieces. No matter what he's done (which I suspect is nothing), no one deserves that. No one. But, it reminded me of Jesus on the cross. People yelled insults at him and he loved them. He didn't just ignore them, he loved them and prayed blessings upon them.

When the bell rang and kids were leaving, a girl stopped and said to me, "Why do you care about Joe anyway? You don't even know him. He's the class freak." Wow. This is where I had a short teaching lesson about loving people and how what you do and say affects other people's feelings. It's sad to me that some kids really have no clue about selflessness at all.

Then it occured to me--something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers. And that was all that I needed to make the entire week worth it--that tiny little seed of hope. The fact that a kid noticed something different about me was more than enough. I serve a mighty God, and he can use anything for his glory.

1 comment:

Laura said...

This makes me so sad.
when I worked at FT we hosted a conference for bullying and it was a dad whose son killed himself because of it. It's awful how mean kids are!

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