I beg of you, please don’t become someone who bullies. It’s not that I think you have it in you. I don’t. I desperately want to think of bullies as mean spirited little humans that come from mean spirited big humans. But I think bullying escalates because of mob mentality. It can start with one small thing and quickly get out of control. So let me rephrase – please don’t join the mob. I know, you’re only in kindergarten, but I get nervous when I hear (from you) that you weren’t allowed to play outside today because you were teasing someone. You tell me you were just saying what the other kids were saying. You think it’s unfair that you were the only one who had to stay inside. You didn’t start it, you say. I explain that doesn’t matter. You were a part of it. You hurt someone.
You were just doing what the other kids were doing. I get it. I’ve done it. And I’m ashamed. I’ve been a part of it and I’ve watched it happen without speaking up. I wrote the anonymous love letter to the loner kid because someone told me to. It will be funny they said. It wasn’t. I’ve laughed at the girl in the car who didn’t know the right words to the song, teasing her for not knowing what the rest of us did. I’ve sat quietly on the bus, watching as the “fat” kid was kicked and pinched every damn day. I’m furious at myself whenever I think about it. I still can’t forgive myself for not acting.
So you see, I understand it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. I know you’re only five and this thing is small, but there will be so many more things like this and bigger. There will be tests of friendships and tests of character. You will pass and you will fail. You will most likely find out what it feels like to be bullied yourself. If that’s ever the case, I hope you will walk away with your head held high and a drive to do good and make people feel good.
So dear daughter, hear this. I know your heart is good. I know you are caring and kind. I know you know what it feels like to love and to be loved. Remember those things and those feelings. I promise that if you join the mob, I’ll help you navigate your way out. I will do my best to teach you kindness and compassion. And you must promise that if you feel badly in the pit of your stomach, you do not ignore it like I did. This means an injustice is happening and you must speak up. Even if your voice is small and all you do is tell someone that you care, this is something to someone. Please don’t ever hesitate to ask me and your dad for help. You may not always make the best decisions, but we are here, pass or fail.