A few weeks ago, we had a discussion with my granddaughter, Lizzie about bullies. Apparently, there is a little girl in Lizzie’s first grade class who takes great delight in picking on Lizzie. Nothing physical, just verbal insults about her hair, her clothes, the way she looks. Stuff that doesn’t leave bruises on the outside, but hurts a lot on the inside.
Lizzie had asked us what should be done about bullies. We found the conversation interesting because we are inundated with information about bullying in the media. There is an anti-bullying ad which runs on Cartoon Network that both Lizzie and Liam know by heart – and sing along with it. And yet, here was Lizzie asking us what to do about this little girl.
We gave Lizzie the same answer we gave her mother, her aunt and both her uncles. Bullies are cowards and if you stand up for yourself, they usually back down. However, there are always consequences to such actions – and sometimes they aren’t very pleasant. We told Lizzie that if the little girl was hitting her or shoving her, she needed to tell her teacher right away – and the same was true if the little girl was just being mean to her. That’s the first step. After that, if the bullying didn’t stop, Lizzie was going to have to make a decision – did she just keep telling the teacher, avoid the little girl or find a way to solve it on her own. All of these decisions carry different consequences – and Lizzie needed to really think through what those were before she did anything.
Lizzie is a very bright little girl – so we asked her what would be the consequences of any of those decisions. She answered right away – if she kept telling the teacher and nothing happened, things would go on the same way. She couldn’t avoid the little girl because she was in her class and even if she stayed away from her at recess, the bully hunted her down – so this wasn’t an option. If she found her own solution – depending on the solution – it could lead to the little girl actually hitting Lizzie or Lizzie could get into trouble with the teacher – or both.
Lizzie thought about this for a long time – and she told us she would have think about it more, but right now she was just going to tell the teacher (and her mother) every time it happened.
This conversation took place a few weeks ago. Yesterday, Lizzie’s mother received a note from the school which had to be signed by Lizzie’s parents. The note was as follows (I’ve removed the identifying names to protect the innocent – and even the bully):
Dear [Lizzie’s mom]:
Elizabeth has been grounded from any recess time for the rest of the week. This is due to the fact that she tied [the bully’s] shoelaces to her desk and she was unable to move from her desk.
Elizabeth must also write an apology note to [the bully].
Of all of the solutions Lizzie could have found to her bully problem – this is not one I foresaw! The funniest part of this whole thing is Lizzie hasn’t quite gotten the knack of tying her own shoes – but she found a way to tie that bully’s shoelaces!
God, I love this little her girl, her spirit and her ingenuity! She was willing to take the consequences for her actions and yet she made her point – she is NOT TO BE MESSED WITH ANY LONGER!
Her bully will definitely think twice about picking on Lizzie in the future – because her little creative mind may come up with something even more embarrassing than just keeping that bully tied to her desk.