Not on My Watch!

Trip Start Aug 21, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We're here in the Scranton, PA area working with YFC, Campus Life for the week.  Today we were at a middle school and I was able to talk with some students...

You should know that we see a lot on this job and rarely say much, if anything, when this stuff happens.  We don't want to make bullying worse by shaming bullies publically.  But this particular day, we felt like God was really behind us - giving me words to say, giving us wisdom through our prayers.  This is not always the best course of action, but I am certain that today, it was.  With that said, here's what happened...

As the 7th grade filed in the auditorium for the assembly, Mike called my attention to a scene in the front row.  A male student had been in line behind a female student filing into the row of seats.  As she sat down, it became apparent that he did not want to sit next to her.  He looked around as if for an escape route before sitting on the extreme far edge of the seat away from her.  He then leaned over the guys on his other side to ask if anyone would switch seats with hi, pointing back to the girl he hoped to avoid. 

Looking at her, you could tell that she was holding back tears, or anger.  She was trying to appear like she couldn't hear them or didn't care, but anyone with empathy could see it hurt.

Mike and I talked about it a for a moment, "kids are mean."  We decided since being here for an anti-bullying themed assembly, we shouldn't overlook bullying in front of us.  Not on my watch.  Finally, I took a deep breath and walked over to the group.

"Hi, I'm Kelsey.  What's your name?" I said to the girl who turned out to be Stephanie.  "I noticed that some of these guys were giving you a hard time.  They didn't want to sit next to you, if=s that it?" I was asking in full voice so that about 5 students in every direction of Stephanie could hear the conversation, including those boys.

"Yea..." she nodded and diverted her gaze.

Then, I said, "Stephanie, I want to encourage you today.  When someone picks on your or makes fun of you, it is not so much a reflection on you as much as it is a reflection on them.  Isn't that right guys?" I looked to my left and saw little heads bobbing with agreement and guilt.  "See, Stephanie, kids in middle school all have very low self-esteems.  They make fun of and pick on other people to make themselves feel better. 

I'll tell you a story.  When I was in eight grade, a similar situation to today happened to me.  I was on a Field trip seeing some educ atonal play.  When we sat down, I was sitting by Brittany, who I thought was my friend.  After w were seated, Brittany leaned over me to the girl on my other side and said asked us to switch seats so they could sit together because I wasn't as fun to sit with.  I have never forgotten that to this day.  But I remember that to remind myself never to treat other people like that.  I don't want others to feel the way I did that day.

So, we can all take this as an opportunity to learn!  For example, when you sit in an assembly, you don't have to be best friends with the person next to you.  You don't have to hold their hand or marry them.  But you can be kind.  We can take the time to be kind to each other.  Middle school and high school are hard.  There will be challenges.  But you will make it through.  You will be stronger at the end of it."

Then we had our assembly.  That was all. 
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showbizkelly on

i love you kelsey. You are such an encouragement

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