So, Eilis came in from school today quite upset. In school, two little girls handed out invitations to the other girls for their upcoming birthday party. Eilis was the only girl in the class who was not the recipient of an invitation, and despite assurances from one of the girls that they just “forgot” her invitation, she was hurt. Because Eilis has been the victim of bullies before, and this sort of felt like bullying.
Now, truth be told, this was an accident. The mom to one of the girls was kind enough to call me and explain that the invitation was misplaced when it was pulled aside to make sure the name was correctly spelled. This was a simple misunderstanding, but the defenses were already up.
It’s always the bigger kid, picking on the little kid. We have this vision in our heads that bullies came in big, burly packages.
But they don’t always. When the group of girls at your daughter’s lunch table stands their lunch boxes up in front of them, then tells your daughter it’s because they don’t want to have to see her while they eat, that’s bullying. Or when they make fun of your daughter on dollar dress down day because her clothes aren’t as hip or contemporary as their’s, that’s bullying.
And those bullies look more like this
They’re the kids that don’t want your kid in their games. They whisper about her behind her back – or they whisper about something else right in front of her.
They make your kid feel less than she’s worth.
And no matter what we do to prevent bullying, no matter what threats the schools make to punish the bullies, they’re still going to be there.
Because some people just can’t accept that other people are different. No matter what the differences are.
In our case, this time, it was a simple misunderstanding. But it isn’t always that way.
Sometimes, it’s just genuine hurt.