Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Have We All Become Bullies?

I'm reminded by Spencer's recent reaction to returning to school that life isn't always kind.  He's always loved going, but this year, since he's turned ten, his autistic differences from his peers are definitely more noticeable and the kids less forgiving.  If we could write the outcome of "the story" we could manipulate the ending, but sadly, life isn't fiction.  We don't have creative license.

As adults, we're  supposed to be role models, but from the recent bitter threads I've seen on the Kindle Forums, specifically aimed at self-published authors, to the Facebook scratching and clawing over political views, I can't for the life of me figure out why we can't or won't accept there are certain inalienable rights that come with being Americans...people in general, and be better examples.

Having an opinion is guaranteed, and a good thing, so why don't we expect others to have them or respect that fact that they do?  I think because it's in how they are expressed with such hatred...don't you?

So, you like Obama, I don't.  I like Romney's running mate, you abhor him.  Should that make us enemies?  I think what we forget is there is no tone in written words, and sometimes smiley faces or "lol" just don't translate.  As an author, when writing a novel, I try to solicit emotions from you...make you feel what the characters feel, see and hear, but in real life, it's best to feel free to TELL instead of SHOW because the showing usually isn't a pretty sight.  Claw marks are ugly and I don't like seeing blood. 

I recently responded to an email with the same tone that I suspected I read in it, and I almost lost a good friend because of it.  So, it's not always what we say, but what we say back.  Think about it before you hit the send button.  Let the email sit overnight and then re-read it the next day.  I'll bet you'll have a whole different perspective.  Luckily, my friend and I both apologized, and had this caused a rift, I would have felt a genuine loss over something very petty.

For Spencer, I expect this is going to be a tough year.  Kids are asking him "what's wrong with you?"  He doesn't understand, although despite his mother's better judgement, I did try to have a little chat with him about autism and the fact that one in ten babies...mostly boys, are affected with this disorder.  His mother tells him he's special, but to me that equates "Special Ed," and I cringe to hear him tell others that.  She doesn't want him to declare he's autistic, so we're at a impasse.  I told him he isn't special...being autistic just means he has to try harder to catch up with his age group.  I respect that Mom is Mom and Grandma is, in this case, NeeNee, but I suppose I didn't set a good example for my topic today. It isn't always easy to be silent when we all feel so strongly.

It's not so much what we do, but how we do it.  Reviews on Amazon have become nasty and biting, and although constructive criticism is always welcome in my world, I don't understand those who need to tear a person's confidence down to the ground floor, and don't suppose I'm just talking about writing.  Do you stare at the person who's really fat?  Do you grimace at people in wheelchairs?  Bullying comes in many ways...and not always how to mean it, but how our actions are perceived.  I wish I had a solution.

  I guess we can just chalk up a lot of what's going on to "Misery Loves Company."  And so, as I sit before my computer, I laugh at those who are making themselves look like 'bullies' and wonder what in their life is getting better for their actions?  Can't we all just play nice?  Hug someone today....tell them they look pretty, even if you have to fib a bit.  Do something constructive...just for one day and see how it feels.


Jannine said...

All valid points, Ginger. This was a wonderful and timely blog article.

As a child I had a handicap and had to wear leg braces. Mothers would pull their kids away from me as if I was an alien. Perhaps that is why I'm sympathetic toward and tolerant of those who are different.

My love and hugs to Spencer.

Anita Davison said...

Lovely, Ginger, and it comes through clearly that you feel that little boy's pain as if it were your own. He's so lucky to have you in his corner.

Cathie Dunn said...

A great post, Ginger. Yes, lots of bitching going on online, very true. I tend to stay away from them after I ended up being caught in a whirl. Not nice at all.

I feel for Spencer and I agree with you. He needs to have the information, not the sugary version. As much as his mother's trying to protect him, she won't do him any favours in the long run. Hugs to you both.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
Great blog and so relevant in todays climate of denigrating anyone who doesn't agree with us.
"Can't we all play nice." What a pity so many people don't adhere to that. The world would be a much nicer place for everyone.
Hugs to Spencer. He'll do o.k. with you in his corner.



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