Being Beyond Bullying: Series Part 2

Part 2:  The Best Gift Ever

As bullying continues to affect teens across the nation, we are beginning to see that the consequences are becoming more and more magnified. In coordination with National Bullying Prevention Month, the National Educational Association released some very disturbing figures: over 160,000 teens stay home from school in fear of being bullied in the classroom. And that’s just in one day. Given that some teens may repeatedly skip school to avoid bullying, a little math goes a long way in helping us look at the even bigger picture of this statistic. With an average of 180 school days in a year, there are about 28.8 million days of school missed in a single school year, solely because of the fear of bullying. So much time, so little progress.

As this happens, not just once in a while, but on a daily basis, we are left wondering about this fear we teens seem to have. We start to see that bullying is not just a one-time event, but rather is an incident that seems to linger and create extended periods of stress and anxiety. We are left with the questions, Why is our fear of being bullied become so strong? Why are we so afraid of a possibility, and have gone to such a level that we change our daily lives to avoid that scenario? To even begin a conversation on these questions, we need to travel back to the original event: the act of bullying itself.

When we experience an act of bullying, we realize that the amount of time that we were actually being bullied was very, very short. As it takes less than 30 seconds to physically or verbally push a teen’s self-esteem into the ground, the bullying event itself is a very temporary matter that is quickly replaced with a thousand other scenarios, actions, and experiences. It seems as though, when we are bullied, we should just be able to move above and away from the event. But somehow, the bullying event sinks into our minds, and then becomes the center of our psychological attention.

We engross ourselves with our pain of the experience, and so we dwell in the traumas that could have been released. We envelop ourselves in the What If situation, and so we begin to fear the possibilities that could have set us free. We focus our minds, on the past and on the future, to continue experiencing the bullying long after the deed has been done, and thereby keeping it alive. By spending time worrying and suffering, fretting and brooding, we lose the minutes and moments of life and love in between.

But this can change, and it will be changed by The Best Gift Ever: the Present. This isn’t a gift that is received on a birthday or holiday, but it is the only moment that ever truly exists: Now. By living in the now moment, the present moment, we let go of events and thoughts that are past experiences, because they are in the past. When we live in the moment, the fear of “what if” also disappears, as it is not happening now, and may not even happen in the future. As bullying serves to drive teens away from the present by filling their self-esteem with thoughts of past woes and future worries, the present is simply what is happening now. And now. And now. And the best part, is that we always have this gift, the gift that keeps on giving every moment of the day. By being present, we are truly beyond the mind games bullying wants to play.

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at


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  • Erin/IAm

    Beautiful, Lauren!

    I have observed many examples of those ‘engrossing themselves in their pain of the experience’. The best I can do is allow them my ‘point of view’ of this…with a hand put out for them to take & come away from the rut I see them in. Been there, done that, & was gratefully for the sights of others in these times…and very grateful for having taken their hands & heeded their words.

    During the teen years we are bombarded with “Life”…sort of a super-concentrated course in “Human Society of Today”. This class is neither on the list of majors or electives…it is simply ‘mandatory for all’. The ‘grade’ given in this course is not of A’s & B’s, but rather You either grasp the concept or not, and either change it, or not. And the ‘final project’ is simply to “Be what you See” or “Be what you Wish to See”.

    I wish you all a gathering of wisdoms in this process…especially my beloved teens. I wish you grander vision of your choices…and only truth in your voices. And pleeeease embrace the last line above with your heart.

    Good Journey…It most certainly IS!:)

  • Laura Jean Pringle

    Awesome article, Thanks so much! It is indeed a valuable thing to be able to walk away from past hurts and release them to be able to experience each new moment as the gift it is. I commend you for posting these words of wisdom at such a young age! :))))

  • Nikhil

    Larry, thank you for your comment. The msioisn and vision of Progress for Pawling is in complete agreement with you concerning not re-inventing the wheel. P4P rejoices, celebrates, and supports the Town Teen Center and its programs. I, personally, have been very pleased with recent developments and programs at the Teen Center and I hope to become more informed so that P4P can more fully support the Teen Center and communicate its services and programs as one of the key spokes of Pawling’s wheel of services.The Teen Center that has been discussed by P4P has, first of all, been on the coalition’s wish list since its inception, but second, was aimed at youth who cannot or will not go to Lakeside Park and / or fall outside the scope of programs provided by the Town Teen Center. There are youth in our community who are actively engaged in risky behaviors as well as many others who are experimenting or who associate with those who are. P4P desires to see our community provide services to this group of youth as well as those who will participate in more traditional sorts of extra-curricular activities such as are well provided by the Town Recreation Department and Teen Center. P4P desires precisely NOT to re-invent the wheel or to duplicate services and programs already active in our community. This is where Communication, Coordination, and Cooperation are of key importance. P4P would like to see some sort of drop-in service, perhaps closer to the center of the Village, that would be a safe place to hang out and where youth counselors might be available to provide help, in the form of talking, to youth who desire it.The short of it, Larry, is that P4P does support the Town Teen Center and does not seek to duplicate its programs or services. Perhaps in August or September 2011 the P4P Steering Committee could meet with you and the Teen Advisory Board and discuss the youth community of Pawling in total and see just what it is that our community offers and what it does not that perhaps it could.Thank you for your comment. And, thank you for your selfless service to the youth of Pawling and to our community as a whole.+ Jon M. Ellingworth

  • Carlos Rivas

    Thank you so much!:D you saved my life with this post I am free again
    happy again