Girl Talk with Lori Summer 2012
In the course of teaching your girls, the subject of “bullying” may come up. When it does, please take the opportunity to talk with them and allow them to talk with you, especially if they’ve had an issue with a bully. I think everyone, at some point growing up, has faced a bully. It can be a very intimidating and helpless feeling. Girls need to know they’re not alone or powerless.
Our girls need to understand bullying comes in many different forms. It can be physical but most often it comes through verbal attacks–many times in text form. It is as dangerous as carrying a weapon. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”—a familiar saying, but one at odds with the Bible’s teachings about the power of the tongue, both to heal and to hurt.
The Bible is very clear about the power of speech to do great good or evil. In Proverbs, words are described as having the power of life and death—the power to build somebody up, or tear them down. “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences” Proverbs 18:21 NLT.
James 3:3-11 NLT reads, “We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.[a]7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?”
Girls seem to be more into verbal bullying than boys. Rosalind Wiseman, an expert on bullying and author of “Queen Bees and Wannabees” says, “If it hurts someone, it’s wrong. If it degrades somebody, humiliates somebody, makes him or her feel small, it’s wrong.” http://www.timeforkids.com/news/bullies-beware/10986. Whatever happened to the golden rule? “Doing unto others” also includes “speaking unto others” as we would have them speak or do to us. The old adage still applies, “If you can’t say anything nice to someone, don’t say anything at all.”
I recommend the following article on “Kindness Counts”: http://www.timeforkids.com/news/kindness-counts/15141 as well as viewing the “Finding Kind” video: http://www.timeforkids.com/photos-video/video/finding-kind-15136.
You may also want to share “10 Ways to Stop a Bully”: 1)Put on a brave face. 2) Have a friend around. 3) Avoid the bully. 4) Ignore bullies. 5) Confront the bully. 6) Report the bullying (encourage girls to talk to an adult they trust). 7) Improve your self-esteem. 8)Control your feelings. 9) Stand up for yourself when it gets bad. 10) Don’t bully back. http://www.surfnetparents.com/1477/10-ways-to-stop-a-bully/
This is a serious and prevalent issue today among girls of all ages and we need to equip ourselves in educating them on how to cope with bullies and what God’s Word tells us to do.
Lori Lewis, International Girls Ministries Coordinator