I was only thinking about bullying the other day, and pondering a blog post about it, and then that awful news regarding a young girl locally deciding to take her life amidst suggestions that playground abuse might’ve been the cause. It’s spooky when that happens, and I honestly can’t recall the reason the subject popped into my head prior to hearing the news bulletin.
At our primary school there was a girl in our year who endured a torrid time along these lines, and to my shame when I think of it whilst I wasn’t particularly enamoured by such antics I suppose I was complicit in my negligence to stand up to it from my peers and friends. Of course, at that age – between 8 and 11 or so – you are incredibly influenced by peer pressure and acceptance – one being singled out by a baying mob ensures negative attention isn’t bestowed upon you. I suppose in some ways we retain more subtle machinations along these lines into adult life.
So what is the purpose of writing about it? I’m not sure really. Catharsis? Residual guilty feelings from all those years ago? A reminder that whilst I’m feeling this way now, some twenty-plus years on – imagine how those kids in the class of the girl in the news must be feeling, wondering whether they are responsible or not for the straw that broke the back of the camel. There will be those who contributed more directly, those that stood by and let it happen – there but for the stronger mental fortitude of the girl in my class at school could go I and my old schoolmates.
It makes you think, doesn’t it? Well, it makes me think. I like to think that I like to generally treat people kindly and follow the old adage of doing unto them as you would have them do to you and all that; but perhaps we could all take a little time out to do better. It is the season of goodwill, after all. Should it really be confined to a season?
Bonus points if you spot the clumsy pun in the headline!