Everything in Moderation — Even Bullying

October 13, 2010

If we walked among the prophets, there’s no way God would stand for such as thing as National Bullying Prevention Month, a lengthy, touchy-feely strike against bullying. On the other hand, God’s prophet Jeremiah would likely accept a position as National Bullying Prevention Month spokesman.

You see, at this point in the Bible, God was extremely upset with people for worshiping idols and ignoring him. As punishment, he vowed to slaughter them, smash them like jars full of wine, starve them and kill them with disease. His prophet, Jeremiah, the sweet, marrying kind, was devastated by God’s wrath and wept for the people, but was too afraid of God to go his own way. Because both were so extreme in their emotions, God appears to be a bully and Jeremiah the victim.

Unfortunately, we tend to focus on the extreme, which is why things like National Bullying Prevention Month exist.  Extreme instances of bullying are not a joke. These instances — 16-Year Old Muslim Beating; Four Teen Suicides in Ohio;  — are reprehensible and the people responsible for them should be severely punished. That being said, 21st Century America is overly sensitive.

There’s no reason to dedicate a month to something the everyone has experienced especially since those experiences are generally mild. If you’ve gone to elementary school or survived puberty, chances are you’ve been “bullied” or what we old fogies might refer to as “teased” and/or “made fun of.”

I have a fat face and when I was in fifth and sixth grade I was a tomboy and spent recess playing basketball with the boys. When I exercise, my round little ball face reddens. Unfortunately for me, side ponytails were the rage during my tomboy phase and after a particularly strenuous game, one of the boys told me the combination of my red round face and side ponytail reminded him of a cherry.

I’ve been made fun of for wearing a bolo tie and being a bookworm but my worst bulling moments occurred in junior. I was teased non-stop by a group of girls in junior high school. After I rounded out and switched social groups, they stopped teasing me.  One even asked if I wanted to be jumped into her gang. I’m not into teardrop tattoos so I declined.

I was never physically harmed like Ralphie in a “A Christmas Story.”

A Christmas Story – Bullying Clip

But, like Ralphie, I survived. We were kids. We got bullied. It happens.

Ralphie Loses It

If we’re going to start setting aside a months to recognize extreme situations, why not create a “National White Collar Criminal Roundup Month;” “National Political Accountability Month;” or “National Spend Less Than You Earn Month”?

Normalizing extreme situations is extremely dangerous. In between God’s threats and Jeremiah’s emotional breakdown, a reasonable outcome exists. But because the back-and-forth focuses on two extremes, it’s difficult to see the reasonable middle ground.

If we, as a society, could stop swinging between freaking out and not caring, we wouldn’t need things like National Bullying Prevention Month. We also wouldn’t cave to political wedge issues or overact to people who think differently than we do. I’m not one for ideals, but it would be great if we could just moderate. Everything in moderation.

This, of course, is coming from Little Mrs. All or Nothing. We’ve all got a little work to do.

Stopping Point: Book of Jeremiah, 31-52

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3 Responses to “Everything in Moderation — Even Bullying”

  1. Richard Corum said

    I just found your website from Mike Cope’s blog. I am a preacher and you might not realize it but you just gave me a great idea for a sermon. I wish you well on your journey and I plan to stop back and visit often. Thanks again for the excellent post. I could write much more, but for now I just wanted to complement you on an excellent post.

  2. […] lives. Forecasting death, cannibalism, fire and starvation is an intense, thankless job. Poor Jeremiah nearly lost his mind. Ezekiel, was much more matter of fact in his role as bearer of bad news. I […]

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