Editor's Notes: Older folks should take bullying seriously
I'm a tad over 50. OK, more than a tad.
I'm old enough to irritate people with comments about how things used to be.
Still, there are topics for which it's important to compare generational cultures. I'm pretty sure "bullying" is one of those. I have a feeling people my age and older don't take it seriously enough.
After all, we were bullied as kids. It was to be expected. It came and it went. If it got too edgy or happened too much, there was likely an adult or older sibling or cousin or observant neighborhood grandma who would intervene.
And bullying mostly stopped at your front door — mean kids couldn't come in.
The truth is, bullying back then might actually have been a much bigger issue than any of us who were lucky enough to have not had too much of it realize. It's probably much more of an issue now.
We perhaps let ourselves be convinced by public relations firms that exposure to TV violence has no measurable influence on real-life behavior. But if it doesn't influence, it at least serves as a societal mirror: it shows us how we are, to some extent. What we look at a lot is reality TV, where it's cool for a chef to scream and push; it's cool for unctuous judges to ridicule would-be rock stars; and it's interesting to watch one survivor bully another into giving up.
There are other differences, maybe more important ones. It's likely there are far fewer adults around — in the homes, in the neighborhoods, in the schools. There might be fewer social activities for kids to engage in and learn to get along (the face-to-face kind, not the digital kind). And now of days, the mean kids can come through the front door, via social media.
Also via digital means, it isn't just geeky kids who get bullied; it can be any kind of kid who is bullied or does the bullying; and the mean kids can do it from afar, where it's safe and they don't have to witness the agony.
So, in regards to the type of anti-bullying work being done, as reported by Griffin Rogers last Tuesday: It's probably helping kids understand how to deal with being bullied and why they should not be bullies, maybe even how to stick up for victims. People my age should quit snubbing them.
Thank goodness for Angel Castillo. The 11-year-old who is battled back from leukemia was celebrating the end of chemotherapy last weekend. He talked to reporter Rob Parsons for a story and impressed all of us with his spark, enthusiasm and creativity. (He kept himself busy through all the time he was in treatment by creating a sketch book of friends and family). Best wishes to all cancer warriors.
I'm just saying
I try very hard, but I have a little trouble being patient with Eeyores. Also, I don't like pure skeptics and naysayers. I have no use for professional cynics and I hate it when people try to make themselves better by making everyone else worse.
So I can't believe I'm writing this about the Associated Press story of how Californians are optimistic and believe, in general, things are looking up.
We generally think the governor is doing OK, we're supportive of things like the health care overhaul, we think the state is headed in the right direction, we mostly think immigrants should be afforded opportunities for citizenship. Half of us, according to the report on the Public Policy Institute's survey of 1,704 adults, expect good economic times in the next year, compared to just 35 percent last January.
I'm just saying, let's make sure we're not so busy being happy that we forget to keep fixing things. It's been a struggle the last half a decade or so. Scary. Depressing. Things are looking up; we want to be in a good mood. But it's no time to let up on continuing to work on debt, inefficiencies, business recruitment and development … all of that.
So … feel good. Go out to dinner. Buy something to help the economy. But keep your day job.