I remember the pain of bullying. I had graduated from a Christian elementary school made up of just 200 kids, and then started grade nine at the biggest public high school in my city with over 2000 students. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. I had always been a confident girl, but in that environment I was a fish out of water. In vocal class, I would choke on my words and in my nervousness would watch the “cool” girls, wishing they would invite me in. They didn’t, instead they mocked my singing and made fun of me in front of the entire class; making me want to flee and never return.
Every day it continued, except they got meaner and meaner. I would hide in the hallways if I saw them coming and would never use my locker because I was worried they would find me alone. Then the day came when they called me to fight in the locker room. I was petrified. I remember the excited screams of everyone running, yelling “fight, fight”. I no longer felt safe in my school. I don’t remember much after that, except my sister going to get help from a teacher. As much as I was embarrassed that my sister ‘tattled’, I was relieved that it was finally in the open. After months of receiving their cruelty in silence, I felt freedom.
Today is Pink t-shirt Day in Canada (anti-bullying day). I am wearing pink to remind people young and old who are being bullied in silence to bring it to light so it will lose its power. Anti-bullying day is the perfect day to make a change, remind yourself that you are made in the image of God and that you are beautiful and not alone.
My story is not unique; we all have stories of mean girls (maybe you were/are the mean girl). Often it’s subtle actions over and over that make another feel inferior or not good enough. As a mom of three girls it breaks my heart to see how mean girls and boys can be to one another. And it always leaves an awful mark on people.
My daughter loves the song Mean by Taylor Swift, “All your ever gonna be is mean…” I think it brought comfort when she was having a hard time with some girls at school. I had to remind her that God has the power to change hearts, even the hardest. Even though someone is being mean, doesn’t mean they are a mean person. So when my girls come home sad I try to explain, that we only see a snapshot of peoples lives, we don’t know what’s going on in their hearts. Maybe they are scared or sad. Then we commit to pray for each girl by name.
I asked a bunch of boys and girls in our neighborhood and our school today why they are wearing pink – and here is what they said:
I am wearing pink because it is the anti-bullying color. We are all wearing pink because everyone's kind of a team. Together we are trying to be nice and kind to each other. Everyone is together! M – age 9
I am wearing pink because I hate bullying. It hurts my feelings when girls are mean. Everyone says mean things sometimes, but bullies always try to put other people down. I don’t know why they do it. Maybe they are sad or jealous? I wish the mean girls knew that God made them special so they’d like themselves and wouldn’t compare and put others down. S – age 9
I am wearing pink because it reminds me of love. If you love people, they might love you. We should love our neighbors and our friends and everyone around us. H – age 7
I am wearing pink because bullying is not right, and being nice like helping someone will always make our world a better place. I got bullied today at recess when I was playing a game, and it made me feel sad and frustrated. I don't want anyone to ever feel sad. Z – age 7
I am wearing pink because people should never be mean to the friends around you. When people are mean to me I feel left out and I feel sad. I don’t want to ever be a bully. When I’m having a fight with my friend, I can try to figure out what to do. If I can’t figure it out, I can go find a teacher. H – age 7
I am wearing pink because I usually play with my friend but when we were at our secret hideout, my other friend came in and said, “I’m going to punch you in the face”, that made me sad. B – age 5
I am wearing pink it reminds me that you should always love each other instead of bullying. You should never put down others because it’s discouraging and mean to other people who don’t want to be bullied. I wish the older boys and the younger boys don’t have to be so mean all the time. E – age 9
Today, join with us as we wear pink and we say “NO” to bullying. It’s not going to happen by accident. The change needs to start at home. Let’s guide our kids to show love and kindness to our neighbors and to stand up for injustice. Together we can make a difference.