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Think Pink

There’s a missing piece when it comes to bullying.  My son can, at times, demonstrate the problem.   Here’s what happens when someone tries to pick on Ben:


Ben: Mommy!  that kid did _______________.

Mommy: did you use your words to tell him you don’t like it?

Ben: Oh ya!  I told him I’d kill him if he does that again!


Bless that child…..  Can I just add a disclaimer that I have NO IDEA where he gets that from??


Or here’s a recent conversation we’ve had:

Ben: I hate mean people.  I’d beat them up

Mommy: Well Ben, that would make you a “mean people” too.


My son carries with him an extreme sense of justice.  He cares when he and others are mistreated.  Now to just channel his reaction….


There are three different kinds of people in the world: bullies, victims and those who stand by and watch.  You and I fall into one of those categories.  There’s a fourth…. but they’re rare.


A bully can be someone who has been bullied in the past and now puts up this front so no one will hurt them again.  Or they could be a bully to those who seek to hurt their friends.  Our youth pastor,  Chris Primeau was explaining this to me.  He calls it “twisted justice”.  This is the essence of a gang.  “Mess with my friend and all of us will mess with you”, kinda thing.


A victim can be someone who is weak, but they can also be someone who is strong and threatening to someone else.


A bystander can be apathetic, self-absorbed or just plain afraid.  They could ironically be “peace-keepers” who just want to mind their own business.


No matter which category we lie in, what is needed to solve this ever growing problem is a word that I see vacant in today’s schools when I visit them.  That word is “Empathy”.   Empathy means to understand another person’s feelings.  You can put yourself in their shoes, so to speak.   I mean, if we understand how someone feels, we would never want to see them hurt or alone.  We couldn’t stand and watch someone be beat or humiliated.


It would stir in us…. compassion.


There’s been a  number of times I’ve stopped my van to defend a poor boy being picked on by the big guys (who are always bigger than me too).  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid.  But I can’t watch.  I’ve never been beat up – probably because they see a mom getting out of her minivan.  They run for dear life afraid of getting a massive lecture!


Moms, I must pause for a moment and challenge us all to see ways we can encourage empathy in the hearts of our young kids.   It’s not always something we’re born with.  Some have to learn it.   If we can do our part in this, perhaps we won’t be hearing all the horror stories on the news!  Like the one I heard last year of a homeless person dying on the streets of New York and people just walked by.  No one stopped to help.  THAT my dear friends, shows the lack of empathy that is void in our culture.


It needs to stop.


I am encouraged by this story.   A story who represents the almost-extinct fourth category.  Who knew a couple of teens would lead a nation-wide initiative that schools all participate in each year?!   All they did was decide to not be a bully, not be a victim and not be a bystander.  They decided to be the difference.   Here’s the story:


“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied for wearing the color pink…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.

‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’

So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag.

As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled.

The bullies were never heard from again.”

Now every school I know of at least in Calgary participates in “pink shirt day” to encourage youth to stand against bullying.   Imagine these two teens just ignored what was happening?   But look what happens when empathy makes a comeback.   You can check out more at http://pinkshirtday.ca


What could a little empathy do for you?  Well, it may help you with that other woman who seems too high on herself.   It may help you understand your child who seems to be driving you nuts lately.   It can assist you in forgiving someone who didn’t intentionally hurt you…. and maybe for the one who intentionally did….


It would help you see past the “face” of a person and into their heart.  To gaze into someone’s eyes to reveal what they’re going through.


Once you’ve seen into another’s eyes with glasses of empathy, compassion and action become your beauty.


It’s time to think pink.


Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute. – Proverbs 31:8


“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” -Albert Einstein

Categories: The Bully Project
  1. March 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Your own blog and testimony show there is a 4th type person with regards to bullying… The one who stands for justice and who do the right way.

    I was reminded of a time when I defended myself from this guy and girl who tried to beat me up. They didn’t know I could defend myself. Long story short I beat them in the fight in front of the whole entire school. I then marched myself into the principle’s office. The next day I found out the guy got suspended and the girl got expelled. Nothing happened to me as I had acted in self defence. I thought now I’m gonna have to deal with these ppl and their revenge… They didn’t know my brother was the captain of the senior boys football team. He ralleyed the team together on game day and confronted the guy my brother stood head and shoulders above. He picked the boy up one handed tossed him side to side then gently placed him on the floor, fixed the boys caller and threatened to kill him if… But the threat wasn’t for real… Suddenly I had the entire football team saying to this kid…you wanna bully you go through us…they didn’t realy hurt the boy either, they just sent a loud message…

    There are those who seem to naturaly flow towards justice…they are kids wanting to see change.

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