Let us remember that when we laugh at someone, they feel pain.
Let us remember that when we pick on someone they are angry but also afraid.
Let us remember that when we don’t stick up for someone who is being bullied, they are alone.
Let us remember that we bully because we want to feel strong, the boss.
But are we? What have we done?
We have forgotten our own fear by making others frightened.
We have forgotten our own loneliness by leaving one of us alone.
We have hidden our own nightmare in another’s terror.
It is no longer enough to be sorry.
It is no longer enough to boast and swagger.
These attitudes are hollow, skating on the thin ice of our own fears, our own hates.
May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘not me’, ‘don’t want to know’, ‘it’s their problem’, ‘I’m not involved’.
May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘I’m right’, ‘She’s black’, ‘He’s stupid’, I’m me and it’s my world, not theirs’.
For we are all hurt, all afraid, all alone, all different, all me, and the world is all ours.
We all have only one life.
Today is Anti-Bullying Day (aka “Pink Shirt Day”) in Canada. This morning we used the above prayer in our staff meeting. (The prayer is probably by the prolific “Anonymous” and shows up in a number of places on the internet.) And we watched the video for Shane Koyczan’s “To This Day.” We’ve been thinking a bit about bullying in the last few days, as the Manitoba government is bringing in a piece of legistature aimed at reducing bullying in schools. The bill is meeting some resistance from religious schools in the province who don’t want to be forced to allow “gay-straight alliance” student groups in their schools. Which, of course, draws us at CCS into theological reflection on what constitutes Christian values (and what happens when our Christian values draw us into conflict with the Christian values of others!). Maybe you’ll see some of these reflections in the near future.
Be kind to each other.