Monday, January 27, 2014

Bullies And Modern Parenting

     There has been much talk recently about bullying, especially as it relates to cyber-bullying. Several suicides of teens who had been bullied on social media sites have been in the news, and in typical fashion, the tragic outcome of a deeper problem are blamed on the most convenient and easiest target. The issues which prompt the taking of ones own life are complicated and can not be tied into a neat little package and explained away by the words and images shared by others on Facebook, Twitter, or one of the many other social media sites used by bullies and their targets.
     I feel for the families of teens, or anyone else for that matter, who feel that death is the only sanctuary from the problems and stresses of day to day living. But suicide is after all the ultimate act of selfishness, the individual being so withdrawn into a world that contains only themselves, that ending it is an act of the ultimate control which they feel is lacking in their lives. Someone who commits suicide does not do so only because bad or hurtful things are being said about them over the Internet, but because they have deep-seeded issues, one of which is knowing how to handle adversity and the ultimate unfairness of life.
     Modern cyber bullying is really no different than bullying of the past. I remember an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which Opie was bullied. Andy instilled in Opie the lesson that if he ran from the bully, and allowed him to have control over his life, he would never stop running. He also inculcated in Opie the understanding that the weakness was in the bully, not himself. Because of the self-esteem movement of the last twenty years and other Leftist psycho-babble, modern parents have taught their children that adversity equals unfairness, instead of teaching them that conquering adversity is a necessary part of building character. Or as Oliver Wendell Holmes once so eloquently stated in a speech at Harvard University in 1895, "the measure of power is obstacles overcome."
     I believe that the inability for many young people in the modern culture to overcome the adversity of bullies is directly related to the constant drum beat from the Left that life should not contain the struggle to overcome obstacles. Many modern children are pumped full of self-esteem and a false sense of their importance to the world by their parents and then sent out into a reality that has no obligation to recognize them as special. They then become despondent and angry as a result of  their parents having not prepared them for the world as it is but rather the false reality of a fair world where adversity and struggle have been magically removed. But this fragility of character is not only cultivated by modern parents, but by a modern culture that has lost its way on a sea of self-obsession and false self-importance.     

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