Bullying is tough stuff. When my baby boy (he's 6) came home this week telling me about another first grader who's been hurting him at school, I felt my mama-bear instincts start to kick in. How could anyone allow this to happen to my sweet little cub? Honestly, I wasn't filled with rage or anything (after all - the other boy is only 6 as well), but I did have the urge to march straight in to the office to demand that this be dealt with immediately.
Actually (umm), come to think of it, I did do that. But without the marching... or the demanding. Ok, the school principle walks the children outside after school every day, and he was standing right there. And the moment I mentioned it, he was on top of the situation. Good thing or I may have had to consider homeschooling... again. :-) (...thoughts for a future blog.)
But seriously, how does a parent teach their child how to deal with bullying in a biblical way? You can't just tell them to kick them where it hurts and run away (as tempting as that is). I think two scriptures come to mind to help us with this:
2 Timothy 4:16-18
The first time I was put on trial, no one came to help me. Everyone deserted me. I hope they will be forgiven for it. The Lord stood at my side. He gave me the strength to preach the whole message. Then all those who weren't Jews heard it. I was saved from the lion's mouth. The Lord will save me from every evil attack. He will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Give him glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Don't let anyone fool you. "Bad companions make a good person bad."
ooops.. I lied. There are three... let's not forget the essential one:
"But here is what I tell you who hear me. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who call down curses on you. And pray for those who treat you badly.
So what do I do with this information? I make some time to have a heart to heart with my son and read him these verses. Then I talk to him about what God expects of him. And here they are:
1) Forgive the bully.
2) Pray for the bully.
3) Love the bully - any time there is a choice to treat the bully well or treat him badly, always choose what is good.
4) Don't hang around with the bully - not only for safety's sake, but to avoid being unduly influenced by friends of bad character.
5) Trust God to take care of you (while of course doing what you can to make a wrong situation right - in this case, that was mommy's and the other grownups' job).
6) Remember that you are never alone, even with no one around. God is always by your side.
And I'll be having this conversation with my baby tomorrow night and the night after that too. And punctuating each session with plenty of hugs (I'm hug-dependent remember?).
Oh... and a tip for other mama-bears dealing with wolves near their cubs... ***Don't have these conversations right before sleep time or your cub-lings might have bad dreams. I try to get on the situation as soon as possible after school, so the emotions can be addressed and time can get to work on healing their little hearts.
And don't forget to pray for them. And pray with them. Without God we can do nothing, but with Him, all things are possible. Praise to the Lord, our protector!