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Bullying, A Societal ‘Evil’

Image of Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Church in Saint Lucia, Rev. Seth Ampadu.
Image of Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Church in Saint Lucia, Rev. Seth Ampadu.
Seth Ampadu- Superintendent Minister – Methodist Church St. Lucia

BULLYING has become a serious threat in our society today. It has the potential to cause harmful effects not only on individuals, but on society as well. Bullying is a practice of hurting another individual mentally, physically or emotionally. The repetitive action of teasing another person mentally, physically or emotionally is also part of bullying.

It is a criminal act and we should all not hesitate to tackle it wherever we come across it. It is a social evil and just because this type of behaviour seems to be more obvious in children it should not be taken lightly. Bullying has detrimental effects on the entire society as it can mentally affect school children as well as it can reduce production at work places because of its effect on employees. People who are bullied often experience depression and low self-esteem that may last a lifetime along with shyness, loneliness, physical illnesses that may result in threatened or attempted self-harm.

People can get bullied for so many reasons. For the way they dress, their looks, religion, race, skin color, hair color, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Some people make mistakes in their life and bullies try to take advantage of those mistakes to bully them.

It seems to me that one of the fundamental reasons for bullying is jealousy. The bullies may be jealous of someone’s relationships, performance at work, physical beauty and charm and property.

As a people, our destiny is in our hands to stop this ‘social evil’. I strongly believe that in order to curb this social evil of bullying our leaders at the various levels of government should show leadership by avoiding abusive language on the political platform and in their political discourse. Parents at home should demonstrate examples of love and caring to their children and their neighbours for the children to cultivate those values. Teachers in schools should also try to avoid using ‘offensive’ words to “dehumanize” the children in their care.

Again, as a people, wherever we see bullying, we should speak up and try our best to stop it. Often people try to ignore it because they feel it is not their business to interfere in others’ personal matters. However, I ask you please, if you see anyone getting bullied, speak up and don’t pretend that you are not seeing it because you could be the one who saves them. Sometimes people are scared that if they speak up they will be bullied too, but I think if you do speak up then others can be encouraged to do the same and then it exposes the bullies for who they are.

As society, we should educate our children how to deal with bullies. We should teach them how to build self-confidence, make them feel they are not alone, let them see they have their parents or guardians with them and they have friends to support them.

We should also educate our children not to be bullies. We should educate our communities about the harms and negative effects of bullying. In our homes we should teach our children and other family members respect and tolerance for others.

We all need to resolve to expose bullies in our communities so that they stop bullying others. We all need to spread a message of love, which is the greatest quality of human beings. Hate and violence only spread negative energy and emotions.

As we look at our various roles relative to the problem of bullying, we need to realize and accept the magnitude of responsibility that we all have to prevent, remediate, and repair the damage that comes from bullying. Parents, siblings, extended family, teachers, classmates, friends, and colleagues are a few of the relational groups that have both a role and responsibility that can be part of the problem, but, however must be part of the solution.

We must understand each other before judging. We must show love and kindness towards each other rather than hate. We need to realize and understand that we all are different, but still can live together and this is the mystery of being human, this understanding alone will help us to fight this monster of hate and violence in our homes, communities and our work places.

Bullying needs to be seen through the Christian perspective of loving and caring for our neighbour. As we learn to love our neighbour we can respond in a more compassionate way. All of us have a responsibility to live in relation to each other as God’s image bearers, with the call to humbly seek and practice mercy and justice as Christ’s servants in His world.

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