Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bullies at School - Part I

old letter Pictures, Images and Photos
It hardly seems possible that 2011 went without a single entry or post, but it did.

As I look back I have to say that my lack of posting was purposeful...a lot of things happened in 2011 that kept me busy, but one particular event that took place in 2010 kept me from posting.  Each time I found myself at the "New Post" tab, I found myself wanting to purge myself of some very strong thoughts and opinions on the subject of bullying. 

You see, what was supposed to be our daughter's best year in school, turned out to be the most painful. We are homeschoolers, but she did take some classes at a school set up just for homeschoolers. 

Her countenance was different. Gone was her otherwise happy disposition. She was not excited about anything. We asked if something was going on at the school, but she said no. It's the "code of silence." They want to tough it out. Even the bullied abide by it. They don't want to appear weak. And they don't want to make things worse.

In my heart I knew something was deeply wrong. I prayed a lot and asked God for wisdom. He was faithful to supply it. After much prayer, I had a very good sense that something sinister was going on at school...I just didn't know what.

One day we went to the hair salon together. She sat with the hairstylist first. While waiting, I happened upon an article in a popular magazine about a beautiful young girl in the Northeast who had just committed suicide after relentless bullying. When Felicia was done and it was my turn with the stylist, I gave her the magazine and suggested she read the sad story of this beautiful girl (insert my very sincerely broken hearted face here). She started reading.

On our way home, I just had this prompting from the Lord to ask her thoughts about the story, so I did. It was the door that I needed. We talked about the story and we each shared our heartfelt sorrow for her and her family. She shared her feelings in a very restrained manner. Then for a moment it got quite...and the Lord just spoke to my heart, "Ask her." 

Nervously, I asked, "Honey, are you being bullied?" I was nervous because I needed her to open up and I wanted her to be truthful. I didn't want her to protect anyone. After a little hesitation, she said, "Yeah." And then she did it..."But, Mom, I can handle it. Please don't do anything." We talked the whole car ride home about the girl in the article and her own strengths and weaknesses.  I asked her if she ever had thoughts of suicide to which she said, "Mom! Seriously? No!"

This conversation brought up all the bullying I went through as a young girl. I was bullied from elementary school through my freshman year in high school.  I never realized what pain that caused me until I discovered that my own precious daughter was being bullied. Yes, she is stronger than I was in so many ways, but I knew that this would not be the end. 

I could tell that she didn't want to discuss the subject any more so I closed it with "Will you promise me that if this gets to be more than you can handle, that you will let us know?"

"Yeah, Mom, I promise."

I knew that this wasn't the end. And it wasn't. 
Felicia on a missions trip to Nicaragua

Bullying is not just a trivial discord between two people. It's a pain that is inflicted by cruel and treacherous incidents and events. Emotions that are draining and difficult to suppress or dismiss. It's the people involved...teachers, friends, parents. It's betrayal.

It was hard to write because I needed to talk and write about it, but I didn't want it to turn into lines of anger, moaning, and lamenting. My daughter's situation brought up old wounds. I wanted to be able to write from a place of forgiveness even though forgiveness was never sought. For that, I needed time. I needed time to walk  with my daughter in her own trial...as her protector, her confidant, her advisor, and her loyal friend. 

I needed time with God.

Bullies - Part II

Forever in His debt,

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