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On Bullying


There seems to be a lot of talk about “bullying” in the news lately. Parents frequently claim that their child has been bullied at school, and are frustrated that teachers and building administrators are not doing anything to prevent these abusive acts.

I recognize that our first response to this conversation could be to brush it off under the argument, “That’s the way its always been,” or “Who hasn’t been bullied at school?” We could also say that we were tougher back in the day and that today’s kids are too soft; needing thicker skin like those who walked “miles” to school in the snow.

It seems logical that we should expect those in authority to work to diminish the problem of bullying in all of its forms. However, the most recent research has revealed that the most effective deterrent to bullying is not a top down model where administration and faculty stop the problem. The most effective way to deter bullying is peer influence. That’s right, peer influence. It seems that if students want to deter or even eliminate bullying, they need to speak up and stand up to bullies on behalf of their peers whenever and wherever they witness bullying. And if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Administrators and faculty are paid to manage classroom behavior. Its their job. They may be able to stop a behavior, but may have little impact on shifting values. Peers, on the other hand, may be less effective in stopping a behavior, but could bear tremendous influence on shifting values and re-shaping a culture.

I wonder if the same could be said of the church?

Categories : Church, Leadership

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