Don’t be a Bully

So…this is one of those posts that Social Media experts would tell me not to write. They tell me to “stay in my lane” which means I should stick to writing about Leadership and occasionally Sales. I’m certainly not supposed to write about personal stuff. But I started this blog to say what I want to say so here we go. 

This is a post about bullies and Down Syndrome. 

I’ve done a bunch of quick research on the subject of bullying and I don’t like what I’ve found. Bullies start young and if they are not taught the error of their ways early, they carry their bullying ways into adulthood. Sadly, many don’t learn the error of their ways early.

Kids bully other kids who don’t fit in. Bullied kids can be different in many ways. Surprisingly, at least to me, very talented kids are frequently bullied. Kids with few friends and kids with unique physical characteristics get bullied too. Kids of different races from the majority can be bullied and kids with religious and cultural differences are often bullied. 

Illness and perceived disabilities cause bullying too and that is often some of the worst bullying. And that’s what motivates me to write this post.

I’ve always known bullying happened and I’ve always known it was wrong. I’ve stepped in on occasion to stop bullying when I could but then I went about my day. Now I wish I’d have done more. I wish I’d done more because Daisy Jaymes has made everything different. 

Daisy Jaymes is a very special 18 month old girl who happens to be our granddaughter. She is a bright eyed inquisitive kid. She’s also an escape artist who refuses to be slowed down or told that everything within reach is not a toy. She has an incredible smile and at only 18 months her amazing personality is already on display. Daisy also has one another thing most kids don’t have, she has an extra copy of Chromosome 21. That makes her special in sooooo many ways. It also results in Down Syndrome. 

The list of potential challenges for kids with DS is long. We’ve nearly lost Daisy a couple of times in her first year but now she’s doing great. She appears to have been spared, at least for now, many of those potential challenges. But the one thing I often worry about is not on the list. 

As our precious Daisy Jaymes continues to grow and gets old enough for school I worry about her being bullied because she is isn’t a typical kid. She may be smarter than other kids, she may excel in areas where other kids are average but she will most definitely have some challenges to overcome. She will look different and she may talk a little different than most kids. 

That doesn’t make her or other kids with special needs any less of a human being. They aren’t stupid. They aren’t contagious. They aren’t anything except a kid with some different circumstances than other kids. Like all kids. Thinking that kids with DS are less than other kids, in any way, is a form of bullying and it might be the worst bullying of all.

So in this, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month take a few minutes to learn about the amazing people, kids and adults alike, who God has blessed with an extra copy of a chromosome. That extra copy makes them extra special but worthy of being treated only like every other person. Which is all they really want.

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13 thoughts on “Don’t be a Bully

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful truth. Daisy Jaymes will be a blessing to you and many others.

  2. Great post, Steve. Humanity alludes many people every day. May we all have as much grace as we are given. That’s my prayer.

  3. This reminder is always timely! Imo, some people in leadership roles utilize bullying as a “leadership” component- it’s like the grown-up and professional version of childhood bullying. There’s a difference between constructive feedback/hard conversations/motivation vs. taking a condescending and authoritative “I’m better than you” approach to people being led. They minimize best efforts & are often overly harsh when people don’t fit the “perfectionism” mold as defined by the leader or popular workplace culture (which genuinely attempts to exclude/shame almost all forms of diversity and differences). I have your “personal motivation” blog post framed on my desk and shared it with some of my team. Although the main point of that post seemed to be the importance of my own inner motivation, I found it REALLY helpful as a reminder to give genuine praise to those I lead & how much that matters. Positive feedback seems to help people better receive constructive feedback which might otherwise be received as professional bullying – even if that’s not what was intended.

    Hopefully Daisy will be a leader in the workplace one day, or in her own way that is aligned with her purposes and goals. This message about non-bullying isn’t just for kids or those with DS. Wishing all the best for her & everyone who is “different” in any way at all.

  4. Thanks, Steve, for weighing in and contributing to an important issue that could be addressed more effectively if more people were willing to step up to the invitation to respond to the “see something, say something” axiom. I say, “see something, do something” especially with regard to bullying and yes, it starts with kids and unfortunately some adults keep it as a tool in their stash of weapons.

    1. So true Gary but it’s a weapon that produces no winners. I have to believe that even bullies eventually realize that they are hurting others. It may take a while but in the quietness of their heart they must see it. The self respect they hope to steal from others will soon enough boomerang to steal their own.

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