On a certain day of the school year – sometime in February, I think – kids in Canada wear a pink shirt to signify taking a stand against bullying. I see countless pictures from all the moms, showing off how cute their kids are in their stylish, often times, custom made pink shirts. The whole concept is a good idea… in theory.
One of the things I’ve realized the most throughout this pandemic is that every single person has an opinion about it and what we should do about it, etc. People argue over social media, specifically, but no one changes anyone’s mind because our minds were already made up a long time ago. And no amount of information, misinformation or arguing is going to change it.
So before you get into another pointless ‘discussion’ with your great Aunt Ruth, ask yourself, ‘has anyone who initially had an opposite opinion of me, ever said to me, ‘you may be right’? No? Did it do more harm than good to our relationship? Yes? Then maybe I shouldn’t bother. Do I even know this person well enough to justify spending time trying to get them to see my point? No? Am I willing to actually hear them out, myself and keep an open mind about their opinion? No? Then definitely don’t bother. Most discussions are just people wanting to be heard without wanting to listen anyways. It’s human nature.
One of the main problems with covid, besides the obvious, is that it’s dividing people. And it seems like many people don’t care what they say or who they hurt, they absolutely must get their point across so that others will agree with them. Families are fighting over trivial things like wearing a mask and avoiding each other because they simply don’t agree. People are bullying other people because they don’t agree.
One person on my social media shamed others for posting a meme that made fun of a government official’s hair. Don’t be a bully, they said. But the next thing I saw them post was a meme making fun of a religious persons beliefs. The difference: they agreed with one and disagreed with the other.
Which leads to the hypocrisy of the pink shirt day. We teach our kids not to be a bully, and that’s good. But it’s more of a do as we say, not as we do because the second we disagree with someone, they become an instant victim in our conversations and news feeds. And it’s justified because we think they’re stupid and their beliefs are wrong. If we can’t say anything to change their minds to see things our way, well then by all means, go ahead and make them look like complete fools.
People aren’t going to see it from your perspective. People don’t relate to the stress nurses are going through unless they are one or know one personally. People don’t relate to the stress small business owners are going through unless they are one or know one. People don’t know the stress teachers are going through unless they are one or know one. People don’t know the stress of what grocery store employees are going through, or what Pastors are going through, or what single moms who have to work, pay bills and homeschool their kids are going through, unless they are one or know one. And when we can’t relate to someone or their belief system, we first try to change their beliefs. When that doesn’t pan out, they fall victim to our thoughts and conversations.
So many people have posted stuff about being kind and not to bully. But can we do that also with the people we don’t agree with? Can the right and left sides stop attacking each other? Just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we have to be against each other. Just because I’m not for your opinion, doesn’t mean I’m against you as a person.
If we’re really going to change the way our kids see what bullying is, we have to stop bullying the people we don’t agree with. And that also means not talking bad about them in our homes when our kids are present. It means having the mindset that we’re all always wearing a pink shirt. It means we can confidently tell our kids to do as we say AND as we do.