Rooting for the Underdog (Stand Up to Bullying)

Stand Up to BullyingEditor’s Note: Today, February 23, 2018 is “Stand Up to Bullying Day.” Jackie Glass, a contributor to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, asked that we publish this article from her about bullying back on Stand Up to Bullying Day in 2012. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have rooted for the underdog. And, this is not simply because I’m a Cubs fan. My “underdog” antenna always seemed extra sensitive. I remember feeling extreme sadness when no students on the bus would move over and let the boy from the farm sit next to them. I remember a girl being called “titanic” even though she was not overweight. I felt weird for crying when people I hardly knew endured pain. I had no idea how this seemingly silly sensitivity would continue to transform my beliefs about people’s value and equality.

Fast forward my life and here I am today, passionate about bullying—passionate about equality for people. Bullying is especially close to my heart because the definition of bullying is an imbalance of power amongst two people with a bully seeking to gain power and control (Garrett). This goes against the very belief that all people are created EQUAL and possess equal value.

However, we’ve been lead astray. We tend to believe that aggressive behavior trumps assertive behavior, and we see children repeating these behaviors in preschools, elementary and high schools, and brace yourselves…even in our workplace and families.

Now, bullying has been around for years and years and years, but the good news is now bullying is no longer going unnoticed or undefined. We are clearer than ever as to the different categories of bullying, including cyber, emotional, relational, and physical.

So, today on Stand Up to Bullying Day, let’s do more than stand together and wear pink. Let’s commit to doing a couple of things. First, let’s practice assertive communication skills—when people express their thoughts in respectful, non-threatening ways. Second, let’s develop ever-growing “underdog” antennas. Let’s be aware of those whose bodies get beaten or ideas get shutdown or opinions that don’t matter. Finally, if you know children and students, call out leadership skills in them. Instill in them courage and confidence to stand up to this issue. 80% of students are bystanders and only intervene 20% of the time. Infuse them with bullying plans and capabilities to talk with adults about this issue. Always be a safe place for them to process thoughts and feelings and ideas and questions.

Together we can bring awareness about bullying and healing to those being bullied.

“Defend and protect those who are weaker, fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, and stand between the defenseless and anyone or anything that might harm them.” Peretti.

For more resources for learning about, and dealing with bullying, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Bullying Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on October 26, 2012.

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Written by Wayne Stocks
Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne previously started I Am A Child of Divorce and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents' relationship. These are now part of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Wayne speaks frequently at conferences and churches on issues related to helping kids learn to deal with difficult emotions and life in modern families.Wayne lives with his wife, three youngest kids, three dogs and an insane collection of his kids' other pets outside of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his work with Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne is a partner in a local consulting firm, an avid reader, coaches his son's soccer team and is a proud supporter of Leicester City Football Club (and yes, for those in know, his affinity for the club does predate the 2016 championship).You can reach Wayne at wayne@hope4hurtingkids.com.