Why do bullies, bully?
When your 12-year-old asks you this question you immediately flashback to your own adolescence and even moments in adulthood when you’ve been made to feel small.
It’s difficult to conjure an explanation. Perhaps the bully feels small. Their self esteem is fractured. In an effort to elevate feelings of self worth they belittle other people and create a fallacious sense of power and superiority.
Bullying won’t go away. Often viewed as a mechanism of survival, bullying existed when the earliest human beings walked the earth. In William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies, a group of preadolescent boys find themselves stranded on a uninhabited island and attempt, and fail, to govern themselves.
In the 1954 book, one of the characters makes an insightful observation when he says: “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” He suggests that the beast the boys are afraid of is actually the inherent evil inside each of them.
This act of self reckoning may or may not be a consistent fixture in most Cochrane classrooms. A group of Cochrane moms are looking to fill that gap.
The Mom Army has risen and are looking to curb bullying through acts of kindness. The group consists of about a dozen local matriarchs who identified the persistent problem and, with the support of local schools, are bringing happiness to the classroom.
Emblazoned with matching black sweatshirts with “Mom Army” written on the front, the group has been collecting donations from a number of local businesses including gift cards, movie passes, day passes for Spray Lake Sawmill Family Sports Centre, and toys for younger children. The group says they’ve been overwhelmed with donations from businesses who want to get involved.
On their own time, the moms compile the goodies into loot bags and include affirmations. Each child receives their own bag and a smaller bag to “pay it forward” to another peer. The group works closely with schools because schools are closer to the situation. Teachers that have identified challenges in the classrooms can reach out to the group directly. The group doesn’t know the identity of the recipient, other than their gender and age.
The group says they offer these small tokens to give a child a boost or reward good behaviour. They want to uplift someone or inspire them to be kind themself. They want children to know they matter, they’re important and someone cares.
The group works together with Love is Louder Cochrane, also a newly formed group with a presence on Facebook and Instagram who meets regularly and strives to bring the anti-bullying movement home to Cochrane.
On February 27 RancheView School will be hosting their Raising Awareness with Pink!, otherwise known as a pink shirt day. Schools across the country have adopted the special day to raise awareness about bullying and raise funds to support programs that foster children’s healthy self esteem. For more information visit pinkshirtday.ca