Monday, July 23, 2012


At Lutheran Church of Hope this past weekend, our pastor Mike Housholder, talked about living life as God meant for you and not what others say you should be, or in fact, can't be. He spoke about the need to be "free" to discern what God has in store for us.  Not others.  While he continued with his message, I couldn't get that thought out of my mind.  And here's why...

Several weeks I saw the movie, "The Help".  If you've already caught it you know what I'm talking about.  If you haven't seen it yet, you need to, because it certainly will impact you.  Much like it did me.  Here is the general theme of the movie:  "An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis".

Frankly, hardships is a word that comes up short in its definition.  It was shocking to see how a  person (white folk) would treat another person (black folk) without any form of compassion.  Utter intolerance might be a better description.  At the conclusion of the movie I was left with overwhelming feelings of shame and disgust of my fellow man.  "How could a person be so evil?", I thought.  "Why would someone bully a person to that degree?"  And that's what I couldn't shake.  The word, B-U-L-L-Y.  A word that we've all come to know if one form or another.  Either as the deliverer or receiver.  Take your pick.  You know your qualities better than I do.

As I said in the beginning of the post, the remarks from Pastor Housholder challenged me.  But I wasn't certain where and in what form.  Today, it has become crystal clear. In the coming weeks and months, we are going to explore the ugly five letter word, bully.  First, we'll explore some of the findings of bullying and then, you'll get an opportunity to hear from some people who have experienced it.  And perhaps we'll hear from those who dished it out, earlier in their lives......and have come full circle in their remorse.

A bully comes in all shapes an sizes

The title I've given this project is "Address Bullyville".  If you think about it, it really has two entirely different meanings.  There is the word address in this manner:  "to speak or write to someone on a particular topic, to treat or deal with"......and then there is "the location at which an organization or person or town may be found or reached".   The numbers I'm about to show you are from Ambassadors 4 Kids Club and focus on our nation's schoolchildren:

1 out of 4 kids are Bullied

77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically.  Cyberbullying statistics are rapidly approaching similar numbers with 43% experiencing cyberbullying.

Of the 77% of students that said they had been bullied, 14% of those who were bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse.

1 in 5 students admit to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."

Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.

43% of kids fear harassment in the bathroom at school.

100,000 students carry a gun to school.

28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.

282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.

Playground school bullying statistics - Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention - 4%. Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%.

If that doesn't say enough about our society and what takes place in our school systems, then let's take it a step further to the workplace.  It's not any safer there.  Here are some numbers to digest:  A 2007 WBI-Zogby survey shows that 13% of the U.S. Employees report being bullied currently, 24% say they have been bullied in the past and an additional 12% say they have witnessed workplace bullying.  Nearly half of all American workers (49%) report that they have been affected by workplace bullying, either being a target themselves or having witnessed abusive behavior against a co-worker.  If you consider the numbers from the survey, they are now five years old.  Imagine how different they would likely appear today!!

Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, non-verbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation.  This type of aggression is particularly difficult to distinguish because, unlike the typical forms of school bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society.  So you can see bullying has no boundaries.  It's in our schools, the workplace, church and in our military.

 Now that we've laid a little groundwork, I'll throw out another message.  In its early early years, BULLY, first meant, lover or sweetheart, then fine fellow, then blusterer, then "person who harms or threatens weaker people".  If that's not confusing enough!!!!

If you've ever been bullied, what did you do?  Were you ashamed, angry, hurt or did you just want to put a shell over you and seek protection?  Hopefully by seeing these words, you'll want to talk about it with others that have experienced the same thing.  Use the comment section of this blog to speak your mind.  Most importantly, I want you to know that I'm here to help you write YOUR story about Bullyville wherever that might be.....Des Moines, Iowa, Laredo, Texas and perhaps even in Aurora, Colorado.  

So what does God say about bullying?  "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"-Romans 2 1-4



P.S.  If you would like to connect with me on any form of bullying that you've experienced or seen, please feel free to reach me at Any conversation we have will be held in strict confidence.  I would be extremely grateful to anyone who wants to help this project move forward.

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