How The Anti-Bullying Movement Is Setting Up Kids For Failure In Life and Their Evolution of Consciousness
When I see the same recurring theme being promoted across what appears to be multiple unrelated shows, documentaries and general news media, there is a little light that turns on inside my head to remind me how effective neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is among our media outlets.
Our unconscious mind records and stores every piece of data we observe while discarding information we have interpreted as irrelevant and focusing our attention to the relevant. Unfortunately, through the process of repetition, NLP is one of the easiest and most widespread methods of persuasion, especially for those not conscious to its effect on the mind.
This is what psychologists call the illusion of truth effect and it arises at least partly because familiarity breeds liking. As we are exposed to a message again and again, it becomes more familiar. Because of the way our minds work, what is familiar is also true. Familiar things require less effort to process and that feeling of ease unconsciously signals truth (this is called cognitive fluency).
This is the foundation of what is currently underway with the media’s mass persuasion to worldwide populations that anti-bullying policies and legislation will lead to a better society. It will not and let me explain why.
Earth is simply not a utopian planet and likely will not be any time in the near future. Humanity is riddled with incivility, intolerance, disagreements and yes, dirty looks are part of human culture. We are getting there, but most of us are not yet in spiritual unity, having the utmost compassion for others.
Would you like to empower children with the wisdom to be responsible for their own actions based on solid moral principles and empathy, or would you prefer teaching all kids to fit into a behavioral template and abide by certain rules to create a completely safe utopian environment in which everyone is always nice to each other by default, without moral responsibility and the wisdom to know the difference? You can’t have both.
Haven’t we noticed that children continue suffering despite over a decade of anti-bullying warfare. Year after year children are bombarded with anti-bullying programs, lessons, posters, movies, books, songs and bracelets. They have signed pledges stating they won’t engage in bullying and will stand up for victims. They have been informed of the punishments they will receive if they violate anti-bullying policies. They have heard their favorite celebrities rally against bullying. Yet bullying continues.
The great irony is that the solution is simple and has been known for thousands of years. The solution is not government but wisdom. It is about knowing how to be a victor rather than a victim. When kids acquire this simple wisdom, no one can bully them and any thoughts of committing violence against themselves or others evaporates.
Shouldn’t social scientists be considering the possibility that the endless barrage of anti-bullying messages may be making children even more vulnerable and desperate? How should bullied kids feel when they are constantly exposed to the lie of "Bully-Free Zone" posters in school corridors? How can they let insults slide off their backs when the adult authorities teach them that "the sticks and stones slogan is a lie" and "words can scar them forever"? How can they feel empowered when they are informed that they are powerless to handle bullying on their own and need the help of everyone around them? How should they feel when they follow the instructions to inform adults on bullies only to find the hostilities against them intensifying and their peers calling them "snitches"? How can they be optimistic when celebrities declare, "It gets better," but meanwhile it’s only getting worse? Is it any wonder that children despair and take their own lives in growing numbers?
Why is the world’s crusade to eradicate bullying failing? Very simple. It is disempowering children. It is depriving them of their own power and influence to affect how others treat them. Instead, it is creating a nanny system where the very tools needed to eradicate the problem are removed because we don’t think children can handle the problem themselves. But they can and they need to.
In fact, bullying often strengthens the character for many teens who then grow into very successful adults because they have mastered conflict resolution their way.
One athlete comes to mind by the name of Georges St Pierre better known as GSP in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is now one of the most loved and respected mixed martial artists in the world who grew up being bullied and tormented as a child in Quebec, Canada. He also happens to be a a very gifted world champion. His story is fascinating and he credits much of who he is today to his experiences being bullied as a child. One might argue he would not be the person he is today, nor the professional athlete he has evolved into without these experiences, however unpleasant they were perceived at the time. As many have stated, GSP is now a man of wisdom and this clearly comes through in his interviews when he discusses his life, his training and even his opponents.
Many celebrities were bullied as children and are now very successful thespians. Unfortunately, many of them also hop on the anti-bullying bandwagon convinced by their agents to speak out on their childhood experiences to crusade against bullying, which only further regresses the issue.
The anti-bullying philosophy Olweus has spawned can be summed up as follows:
"You are entitled to live in a world without mean people. If people repeatedly treat you badly, please don’t think it has anything to do with you, your attitudes or your behavior; it is only because of them. You are not strong or smart enough to make them stop, nor is it your responsibility to do so. Just inform the authorities when people upset you, and the authorities will make them stop."
Under pressure from anti-bullying activists, state governments have been mandating that schools adopt the Olweus paradigm of bullying. As a result, schools are becoming mini-police states in which everything students say and do is under the surveillance of the school staff, now required to do double-duty as correctional officers.
Anti-bullying laws are a Catch-22, for the harder schools try to comply with them, the worse the bullying becomes. They turn children against children, parents against parents, and parents and administrators against each other. And if the schools fail to satisfy both sets of parents, the disgruntled parents may sue the school district, wasting humongous sums of money while further escalating hostilities. Tension has reached an unprecedented level in schools courtesy of anti-bullying laws.
There is no serious school of psychology, philosophy or religion that teaches this self-defeating approach to life. Yet this is the new anti-bully philosophy eagerly embraced throughout the world and it has to stop.
Aristotle said, "One thing no government can do, no matter how good it is, is to make its citizens morally virtuous." If laws could force people to be saints, every government would have created Utopia long ago.
Children who continuously feel like victims will remain victims if they are not taught how to break the cycle. For consciousness to evolve among our children they must be instilled with the wisdom and principles of how they create their own realities. What we think about, we become. What we feel we become. If we think and feel we are being protected by others as a safety net for our inability to confront our problems, we will only face more of those problems in the future as the issues become more complex and involved in our reality. The matrix will only become our slave if we know how to become its master, otherwise we are hopelessly confined to a reality that controls us instead of the other way around.
No one wants schools to function as correctional facilities. They are educational institutions created to prepare children for the challenges of life, not to provide them with a false hope of a life without challenges. Bullying goes on in all arenas of life. Just as children deserve to be taught the three "R"s, they deserve to be taught the simple wisdom for dealing with bullying. Not only is this wisdom freely available, it will increase academic achievement while preventing future tragedies.
We don’t need more laws controlling children. We need more children controlling their own destiny, who are empowered members of our society and skillful creators of what they perceive as reality.
There’s an old saying, usually attributed to Confucius, that goes "Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a life." Let’s stop giving children all the false idealism attributed by the anti-bullying movement and nanny mentality. Let’s start teaching them about moral responsibility, wisdom and how to think for themselves while creating a reality that flows with their intention, instead of letting others think it up for them.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.
For anyone who’s doubting this, please take a look at Revenge of the Nerds and you might realize that there is a very important dynamic between the "nerds" and the "bullies" (i.e. the jocks / frat boys). Without this dynamic there wouldn’t have been any reason for the nerds to try to "outsmart" those who bullied them. It’s because of this that they attain valuable life lessons. They were forced to get brave, stand up for themselves and work together. This dynamic is natural and occurs in nature. Have you ever seen sibling lion cubs playing together? It can look pretty darn rough.
The "nerds" had all the incentive they needed to attain a higher level of achievement and progress beyond that of the jocks.
Sure Revenge of the Nerds is just a movie and not real life, but there is a very valuable point to the movie. Overcoming a difficult obstacle is an incredibly important part of any developing young child’s life. It’s not all "fair play" out there and there is nothing wrong with standing up for oneself. It doesn’t mean that violence must be the option every time either, there are a number of ways to overcome a bully. It’s about learning to work with ones strengths and at the same time discovering ones weaknesses. "Solving this problem" builds self-esteem like nothing few other things. It can also help the child to develop much needed self respect.
So is there a "purpose" for the bully? Yes, of course there is ...and the solution is not to incarcerate or chemically lobotomize the bullies. They are there for a reason. If governments, schools or parents took away this ability to problem solve on their own they would ultimately be doing those children (and later those adults) a tremendous disservice.