“Hey! Didn’t you wear that shirt the day before yesterday?!” Shortly thereafter, were snickers and laughter at what my more popular classmate taunted me about. If I remember correctly, I was about 10 years old, living with my grandmother who was raising me alone, on a retail store sales clerk’s salary, after my grandfather passed away many years before. She was able to afford my school clothes with her employee’s discount, but with needing to maintain ownership of a two-story single family home, purchase food for us, among other things, she did the best she could to stretch my limited wardrobe by having me wear my outfits twice a week. Though mixed and matched between those days, my classmate seemed to notice. Stunned a bit by what she teased me about, I simply didn’t respond to her question, and continued on about my way.
Some of my experiences with teasing and taunting during my school years were quite normal compared to what some others experience when it comes to bullying. Looking at some stories today, if it weren’t for my faith that God is bigger than any bully our children will ever face, it could render an apprehension to allow them to attend school at all. Many want to end bullying, and that’s a proper and admirable thing to do. I’d like to take a moment to say, however, that though all things are possible with God, and though we can improve upon reducing its frequency, until the New Heavens and the New Earth come forth, that’s highly unlikely. I touch upon why a little later. Thus, I think it’s more important to focus on teaching our little ones to handle bullying appropriately when they see or experience it. And, there are a couple of Kings we can glean a little from, regarding dealing with intimidating confrontation, amicably: King David and none other than Jesus, the King of Kings.
The first thing we can pick up after King David, when he stood under the looming Goliath is, that Bigger Isn’t Always Better. It doesn’t matter how wealthy anyone is or how important one seems, how old they are, how smart they may be, nor how big they are in stature. What we see from young David is that when your child learns to understand themselves, including their values, in light of how God equipped them, they’re able to address certain situations in the ways most fitting to them and the situation at hand, no matter how large the opposition seems. What matters is them knowing the power within them, and understanding how to translate that into what they have in hand at that moment. Take for example, how many young people today have taken on the gigantic challenge of bringing forth better gun control. Certainly, the government, the adults that run it, and the laws the adults put in place are a Goliath to these children. But, what they have in hand is their ability to speak up for their rights for safety without backing down.
Next, Young David decided to Take a Grand Stand. One thing that allows bullies to continue to do what they do is no one standing up to them. David saw this older person, seemingly more equipped, towering feet above his own yet to mature stature, but he offered to stand up to Goliath’s taunting. And, this wasn’t even David’s battle! He decided to stand up for others who were being bullied. A sure way we and our children can be emboldened to stand up to giants, when needed like David did, is to consistently kneel before God. Expectedly, your child may think of standing up for themselves, and much more for others, as frightening, but David knew two things: the right thing to do was to stand up for others and he knew that God was with him; for, God will never ask us to do anything that He won’t help us to do in the most fitting ways.
Third, it’s important for your child to just be themselves, as the Best Fit Is the Skin They’re In! It’s all too easy to fight back with the same type of arsenal of those doing the goading. David tried on armor that wasn’t fit for him, and took it off, deciding to be himself. This can be difficult sometimes, because what’s said directly to your child, or about them to others, can be extremely hurtful, and they may want to retaliate with something equally hurtful. Yet, when they believe of themselves, as David believed of himself to be God’s Masterpiece in Psalm 139:13-14, where he said to The Lord; “You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.”, what others say to, or about, them won’t sting to the point of making them reach for things that don’t fit who they truly are to get through tough encounters. For, winning a battle with a bully isn’t based solely on stopping or disproving what that bully says, but more about what your child truly believes about themselves.
Earlier, I mentioned that we may be able to reduce bullying but never really rid this world of it. Why is that so? Mainly, because Bullies Grow Up Too. As we see, with David and Goliath, Goliath was an adult. Unfortunately, not every child that was a bully on the playground, grows out of that role before entering a boardroom, and sometimes your adult child’s living room, depending on who your child allows into their close circle. So, this is a great reason to teach your young child, now, how to overcome antics of those who need to invoke excessive control.
Lastly, to lessen chances of your child’s heart developing hard feelings, which can, in some cases, cause them to become bullies too, is to encourage them that Compassion Opens Way to Freedom. It’s Jesus, the King of Kings who exemplified this best when after all the hurtful things that others did and said to Him, He found it in His heart to ask The Father, to forgive them because they know not what they do. What exactly does that mean for your child? Well… most times bullies need help too, and bullying is the only way they know how to handle their fear, or their anger at what might be happening to them at school or at home. It may be the only way they know how to feel safe, or how to become or remain popular. In Jesus’ words, they know not what they do in terms of how to achieve inner courage, resolve inner or external conflicts, or how to feel confident. So, they do them in detrimental ways. Helping your child to forgive, strengthens his or her resilience by ensuring they remain flexible, never too hardened to allow these experiences to break them.
As a great start, instilling those five things, in your precious little gifts from God, you can cultivate courage, confidence, and compassion that’ll help them to be healthfully prepared for, and proud with, how they can make a difference during these kinds of confrontations; ensuring they get victory, in battles with any bully, like a King!
I invite you to start the Victory Like A King challenge with this question:
~~ Which one will you begin working on with your child, today?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Love You to Life!
LuKeisha Carr Ministries International, Inc.