I’ll never forget the day my teacher dropped her lesson plan for discussion on bullying. A few people told my teacher about the mean comments being said in class. I knew about it, and I thought she was going to simply speak about it for a few minutes. Instead, she told us to clear our desks. She passed out dry erase markers.
“How do you want to be remembered by your classmates and others in the future?”
I wasn’t sure about my response at first. I hadn’t thought about myself that way. I wrote “kind and helpful.” The answers ranged from “pretty” to “intelligent and determined.” As my classmates shared their responses, I make a conclusion: They chose a value or trait that was important to them. Not a single one was negative.
She mentioned that none of us put “rude” or “mean.” Nobody wanted to be remembered as someone who put people down. We had to reflect that in everything we do. I had never really thought about bullying from that angle before. She didn’t lecture us about kindness, but instead made us think about ourselves.
I think I’m going to remember that day for the rest of my life. I have friends who have been bullied, and I’ve seen the effect it has on them. Bullying can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Bullying should not be seen as normal behavior. It is not “a stage of life” or “a phase.” Instead, we should focus on overcoming that belief. I think my teacher opened our eyes to the effect our words have on people.
If you are being bullied, you don’t have to face it alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online. StopBullying.gov has information on bullying as well as ways you can help yourself or a friend.
There are many ways you can get help. It may help you to talk to a trusted adult about how it makes you feel. They can help you personally and possibly intervene. Remember that if you are being bullied, it’s not your fault.