Hello, Mini-Women! I love it when I get to start a post by declaring a winner. Last time I said whoever could name the other two things God requires of us (besides "do justice") would win a free book. GRACE ANNE was right on it with "love mercy and walk humbly with our God." AMY helped her out with the reference, which is Micah 6:8. So they BOTH get the book of their choice. Ladies, will you each email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work that out?
I also love that several of you commented on things you'd like to stand up for (or against) because they're not just a matter of saying, "Cmon, MAN!" and blowing them off. For instance:
AMY is going to stick up more for that guy friend who gets made fun of but who is always there for her. She's also going to try not to be embarrassed being with him because he does have his quirks. Good on ya, Amy. BROOKLYN is right there with you (and welcome back, Brooklyn!)
MARY wants to stand up against bullying, kids being exclusive, and meanness, but she has a few questions. I'm going to get to those below because I think they're questions we all ask ourselves.
YOOMIN gets fired up about countries that won't let their girls be educated. She and some of the kids in her class are starting a fundraiser so they can give money to an organization that helps educate girls and build schools for them. Wow, Yoomin. I don't think the words, "I can't do anything about that" are in your vocabulary.
JUJU BEAR (who we haven't heard from in a while -- welcome back, girl!) wants to stand up to a two-faced friend who treats her like garbage unless JuJu's the only one she knows in a situation and then she's like, 'You're my only friend.' Definitely an unfair situation you can't just say, "C'mon, MAN!" to.
NICOLE (AKA SQUIRRELGIRL) wants to stand up for Jesus with a friend who doesn't really know our Lord -- but she doesn't know how. A worthy cause if I ever heard of one. We're going to deal with that in a separate post.
GRACE ANNE at least understands the "C'mon, MAN!" concept. So for those of you who didn't quite get that, it's the things that ANNOY you. And not to worry, G.A.; most of us have a long whiney list!
AMELIA wants to make a difference on an issue that she can't actually CHANGE, but which she can help other people cope with better. She has a lot of food intolerances (I get that, Amelia; I can't eat eggs or egg products or I am sick for literally days; my daughter has the same thing with corn). She's decided to set an example for other gals with intolerance troubles by not whining when she can't have pizza and by buying dairy-free-gluten-free ingredients and making her own. She can support them when they're having a down day. Show God's love to those who hurt, physically and emotionally. and enjoy the beautiful life God has given her. I love that she added, "I mean, C'MON, AMELIA!" She also wants to stand up to the bully at her church who is literally making people bleed. Yeah, I'd be on that one too.
EMMA wants to stand up to the judgmental thing -- in herself.
You absolutely get this, mini-women. You totally understand that there are some things you just can't let go by. You can't be like a line of turtles on a log who simply slip into the water when the big issues come by. You're ready to do something. (That turtle photo is by our own Miss Crystal, by the way, taken right on the lake where I live)
We're going to address all of your issues in the posts to come. Today I want to look at the bullying thing the way MARY presented it to us because I think it's something we all deal with. She said in her comment:
"What about when that stuff happens (bullying, excluding, meanness, etc.) and it's not exactly your business? Like, when you overhear those sorts of things, but you're not in the conversation, or see a group of kids basically ignoring a few people and you can't exactly go over and say, 'Go talk to those people RIGHT NOW!'" She says most of her friends are really nice, but she sees this kind of thing going on around her and she thinks it's totally worth making a stand against.
I usually try to lead you to figure these things out for yourselves, but this time I'm going to give you some tips and hopefully you'll feel challenged to try them.
1. Know going in that you probably aren't going to change the bullies' behavior, at least not right away anyway. Your goal is to help the victim.
2. Don't become a band of bullies yourselves as you and your friends decide to stand up against this kind of treatment of other people. Revenge is not your goal. Helping people take back the power to be themselves is your goal.
3. If someone is being bullied, you and your friends can simply go over, physically stand between the bully/ies and the victim and say to the victim, "You don't have to stand for this. What do you need? We'll help." That may mean escorting that person to her locker so she can get her books without being harrassed or just talking to her until the bullies take their teasing and go away.
4. If someone is being excluded, you and your friends can go to that person and say, "You new here? Is there anything we can help with?" Or, "Don't eat by yourself. Come sit with us." EVEN IF THAT PERSON ISN'T EXACTLY SOMEBODY YOU WANT TO HANG OUT WITH ON A REGULAR BASIS. You don't have to become BFFs. Just be kind. That is, after all, the way Jesus behaved.
5. If you overhear people bad-mouthing someone or drooling over some delicious piece of gossip that could poison someone if it gets spread around, it really is okay to say, "Um, I couldn't help overhearig you and, just so you know, none of that is true." (or, "That might be true but it could really hurt somebody.") As in the other examples above, take at least one friend with you.
6. The very best approach I have ever found is this: when people are behaving badly and they're hurting someone emotionally or physically, say to them, "Wow, I thought you guys were better than this." What are they going to say? "No, we are not better than this"?
7. If things are really out of control and you know the victim of bullying is hurting, go to an adult. That isn't tattling. Tattling is done to get someone IN trouble. Telling is done to get someone OUT of trouble. If you're told, "You kids need to work this out on your own," tell that adult that no, you can't. If he or she won't listen, go to someone else. Get your parents involved if you need to.
8. In the midst of all this, try to get the victim to stand up for herself, with you as support. Help her rehearse what to say and then stand behind her. Keep telling her she's worth so much more than this kind of treatment. Think about how you would want someone to help you in that situation and do it for her.
9. Don't worry about the bullying being turned on you. If you do this with a group of two or more and if you are simply, "This is the right thing to do" rather than "This is war!", more bullies won't fire back because they are essentially cowards. If they do, you have back-up from your parents and other adults. Don't let bullies turn YOU into a coward.
If you want to comment on this post, mini-women, let's do this:
(a) Tell us about a situation where you could use one or more of these tips.
(b) Tell us what you plan to do
(c) When you and your friends do it, let us know how it goes
(d) SUPPORT EACH OTHER HERE ON THE BLOG. Let each other know, through your comments, that you're praying for each other's situations. Give words of encouragement. Tell us about a Scripture verse that could help us with this.
You can make a difference TOGETHER, so show 'em what you're workin' with, Mini-Women!