My last blog spoke about desire for power in connection with racism. I will confess, that desire for power has been an underlying thrust for me, though I often stuffed it, deciding to at least act humble. I believe it is part of the fabric of humanity. It is what causes wars, divorces, rifts in families, and very commonly, bullying in schools or even in the adult workplace.
I asked an 11 year old recently, if people every made fun of him. He has been acknowleging a squeaky voice and commenting on the added inches in height that come from puberty. It is a "coming of age" thing when comparisons are made and there is a consciousness of what you want your body to grow into in the midst of awkward growth.
"I don't really experience bullying," he answered. I got the feeling he is somewhat popular and well adjusted.
"But, other kids tell me I am terrible in sports, and I know that I am doing well. I often win in track and swimming."
"I wonder why that is they would say that," I commented.
And then I thought about it. In order for someone to feel like they have power they want to feel better than someone else, so he or she resorts to "putting someone else down," no matter how ritidiculous the rude comments are. I told him how bad it was when I was in high school. Especially in the gym locker room, when I and others realized I was not as physically developed as others. I thought of myself with skinny arms, big hips and fat lips. Hmm, non of that was true. I was self-conscious and very hurt by others' remarks. Maybe, they were needing to feel better about themselves.
Continuing with the conversation, my young friend blurted, "That's terrible. You mean, kids were allowed to act like that?"
It happened behind the scenes. Teachers and parents were not aware of it, unless they remember their childhood years. From, what I understand, society and schools are cracking down on it.
"We have learned how to respond to bullying and teasing," he said. "It is best not to tattle."
I would say that was true, unless it gets way out of hand. We have to somehow live in a world where we are mingling with all kinds of people trying to "step" on one another.
I am in the midst of helping plan, our 50th reunion. I am getting many flashbacks of life 50 years ago, in those teen years. We all worked it through somehow and grew in strength of character.
I experienced bullying in my workplace, a few years ago. Yes, it is a common problem with all ages? Even in my 50's I did alot of crying over passive aggressibe actions aimed at me and others. What I learned to recognize, even at this age, is to acknowledge and recognize that there are reasons for those actions and often a play for power. Understanding is a key element. It is then that I my true friends and develop the THOSE relationships..