“School should be a place for children to learn and grow, not where they end up bullied for simply being themselves.” Susan Rowher, Guest Blogger, LA Times
Listening Soundtrack: Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo’ole
Do you remember when Sesame Street took the cheesy pop song by Huey Lewis in the News (I know I am putting myself at risk by denoting this song as “cheesy,” please- have mercy on me!) “It’s Hip to be Square” and magically turned it into “It’s Hip to be A Square”? Love it! And so it goes- this is the perfect song to relate to this blog post regarding all the awesome “squares” in the world. This one goes out to you!
Last week I was driving to work in the early morning, crossing a beautifully tree lined river where tiny green leaves were slowly making their way to the new day sunlight, when I heard a discussion on the radio about a boy being bullied in school for his choice of a My Little Pony backpack (old news to some- but I can’t get it out of my head!). If you have heard this story- I’ll be brief! The school decided that the way to allay the bullying was to have the young boy not bring his choice of backpack to school any longer. Keep in mind that the boy was already being bullied prior to the backpack incident. The mother in her efforts to seek help went to the media with the story.
We Are The Champions, My Friends
How many of us have been just like this young boy in life, modifying the truth of who we are just to appease the grumpalumps that don’t agree with what we chose to wear or the music we enjoy as a way to avoid disapproval? The answer? Everyone. Let’s think…”Revenge of the Nerds” anyone? I mean, who didn’t feel exhilarated and teary eyed at the end of the film when Queen’s “We Are The Champions” was played as Anthony Edwards and all his nerd friends stood up for themselves? Go Booger!
The LA Times published an opinion piece recently about not only this incident, but a girl in Virginia who also was recently told by a school that she didn’t dress feminine enough and if she didn’t change her choice of clothing their school was not the right place for them. Really?! I was a tomboy when I was younger, I had a mullet, buck teeth and played with GI Joes. I’m pretty girlie as an adult. In the end, is deliberately making someone feel like an outcast really accomplishing anything?
In the opinion piece, guest blogger Susan Rowher stated in the opening (and fantastic) quote, “School should be a place for children to learn and grow, not where they end up bullied for simply being themselves.” To elaborate on this point, I feel like life should also be that way, no matter how old you are or where you are working, living.
What We Think We Know
In a way it is almost surreal that human beings would attach so much meaning to a backpack’s theme that they would actually harass them, even physically hurt them. Why do clothes, physical objects, carry so much meaning for us as a society that people actually feel threatened by them? When will a backpack just be a backpack? When will a word that is directed at us just be a word, rather than an internal jail sentence for life? Why do people feel so threatened by something that is different from what they think they know?
It’s Our Choice
The mind is a magician in a pretty big and diverse world. It likes to play games so we continue to engage in its game. It is programmed to perpetuate a belief that we are not connected to one another. And it in turn has the potential within all of us to create suffering. The suffering is not only for others, we experience it as well. The diamond in the ruff of this life is that we actually have a choice about what thoughts we are going to align ourselves with, and we can think about which ones will continue to just make us and others feel badly.
“Don’t should on yourself.”
When I look back at my life, there are times where I have regretted hurting others, and also feel regret for doing something that caused another to want to hurt me. But regret will get us nowhere and as my coaching teacher Debbie Ford used to say, “Don’t should on yourself.” Our life is a treasure to behold, as well as everyone else’s life. If we can just remember this even with a part of our day we can begin to bring change into this world and help people feel better.
In life we will encounter a lot of tough decisions on the way, especially if we have kids and they are hurting inside. Today, I was getting caught up on one of my favorite shows, Parenthood. In the show Max, who is a teen with Asperger’s, is coping with someone peeing in his canteen on a school trip. At the end, his parents finally surrendered to Max’s desire to not go back to that school anymore where the administrators felt they couldn’t do anything to appease the bullying and live life on his terms rather than be harassed for being different. I wish we could all just give one another a hug and go surfing with great music playing in the background like they did in the show right now, but I know that is not really going to happen. So, in my imagination I am doing just that and hoping that we all can forgive one another and remember that same internal spark of light that exists within every one of us no matter our different circumstances.
If it has to start somewhere, let it start with us. It is hip to be A square!