Are We Teaching Our Kids to Bully?

How to Address Bullying Part 3 1

I saw her coming, eyes flashing and surveying the crowded checkout lines. Her cart was full. Mine was too. I shifted my gaze to the lines as well. It was time to go and there was no way I was going to let her find the shortest line first. I was going to win!

The desire to be victorious, to be superior, resides in all of us. This desire takes many forms. At shopping centers we rush to snatch up parking spots, limited-supply free samples (I really love the prime beef at Costco!), and the shortest checkout lines. When in conflict we do what we need to do to win. Some of us get loud. Some of us get quiet. Some of us get mean. We all want to win.

We do it with our kids, too. We put our hands on our hips and raise our voices. We do what’s needed to command respect, but it often creates fear in our children. We “win” when they comply. In subtle but powerful ways they learn that winning is what matters. This is how our children get drawn into the world of winners and losers – the world of bullying. A world where no one really wins.

What if just today we engaged our kids, our colleagues, our spouses and our fellow humans with no need to win? What if we treated them like teammates, not opponents? What if today we decided to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,” but “rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”? (Phil 2:3-4)

What if?

To learn more, check out part 1 and part 2 in our series on bullying.

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