Pyar sehat guru fateh parvan karnee jee,
A loving guru fateh jee : Waheguru jee ka khalsa waheguru jee ki fateh
At the last two samagams (Detroit and Binghampton) due to some time constraints we were able to have just one class. However, the one class that we did have, was about a very important topic – bullying.
What it is and how to deal with it?
Mostly, the answers and questions came from the participants.
I love it when that happens. It means that you are getting comfortable enough with each other to start discussing even personal issues like bullying. Thank you to all of you who were brave enough to bring up situations that might have warranted bullying and then also to share what worked for you.
We also talked about the movie called ROOTS AND WINGS (One Light Films) by Angad Singh. A very charming, to the point, 30 min documentary made by a 14 year old sikh boy from USA. I would urge you to watch it and share it with others.
Angad explores the question, “Does one have to cut off their roots to spread their wings to soar high?”
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uNep99rxmY
I particularly enjoyed Angad’s laid back, clear and to the point commentary. Thank you Angad for all your efforts. May your eagle soar high!!! Dhan Guru Nanak.
Towards the end of our class, a group presented a small skit about encountering bullying. It was quite hilarious, but illustrated the point of not getting enraged but dealing with the situation with confidence and a kind of maturity that our guru would expect from his Sikhs.
The kind shown by Angad Singh.
Bullying happens all the time – whether you are a sikh or not.
Bullying occurs in school playgrounds every 7 minutes and once every 25 minutes in class. (Pepler et al., 1997)
As a teacher I came across several incidents where kids were bullied for the most ridiculous reasons. Anyone who does not fit into the ‘normal’ framework becomes a target. People are ignorant and need to be educated.
The trick is to be calm and consistent. Assert your self by being yourself.
Why try to fit in when you were meant to stand out?
I love this slogan – I saw it on a young sikh boy’s teeshirt.
Sometimes it is easier to be just like everyone else – it requires less effort, less energy, but Gurbani teaches us to walk the path least travelled -to swim upstream rather than with the current.
ਉਲਟੀ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਉਲਟੀ ਰੇ ॥
ਸਾਕਤ ਸਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਉਲਟੀ ਰੇ ॥
Turn away, O my mind, turn away
Turn away from the faithless cynic.
This requires persistence, it requires a lot of energy and is very difficult. Bullying does not only happen in schools, it can follow you even to work later in life. It is worthwhile to understand and come to terms with this social disease and not be affected by it.
Bullying is the assertion of power through aggression. Its forms change with age: school playground bullying, sexual harassment, gang attacks, date violence, assault, marital violence, child abuse, workplace harassment and elder abuse. (Pepler and Craig, 1997)
To become more informed about bullying and other related issues, try this site – it is set up by Sikh Coalition and provides useful information about bullying. http://www.khalsakids.org/
If you are ever in a vulnerable position always seek help immediately from a trusted source (teacher, parent, family member, older sibling).
Be courageous -ask for help when and if you need it.
Here is a story of a young Sikh girl who was bullied, called “Gorilla Girl” just beacuse she chose to stick to her heritage and how she stood up to the bullies – A Testimony on Courage
It is also important to remember that while we stand up for those who are bullied we must pay special attention to the fact that we should ourselves not be part of any bullying.
Teasing, saying mean words, pushing, gossiping, leaving somebody out on purpose are all forms of bullying that we must guard against.
Love for All
Malice Towards None
This is what our gurus have taught us.
With much Love