A few months ago, bullying was big in the news. Now that we are worrying about bigger things like football and the weather, we aren't seeing as many sensational stories about bullying but obviously the problem continues. Whenever I read about some of the horrible things that bullies have done, I wondered if their parents realized how their children behaved.
Apparently, some do. And apparently, some encourage it.
I read a really heartbreaking blog entry from one of my favorite bloggers entitled Fat Ladies Eat Small Children. A little background on the blogger: She is one of those incredibly gorgeous women who really turns heads. Gorgeous long dark hair, an incredible smile. And, she is overweight. She has talked extensively on her blog about weight loss, and by eating healthy she lost a great deal of weight this year before she became pregnant.
Her blog entry recounts her recent experience at a store where a small girl and her brother were ducking down in their shopping cart so that "the fat lady won't eat them." In her own words:
I was mortified as they pointed and squealed in their high voices: "there she goes, that was close but she might eat us next time" as I pass their cart.
I was shaking and as the tears started to fall and I purposefully went the opposite direction, I could hear that little high voice "Where did the fat lady go Mom?" And the mother replied? "I don't know, I'm sure you will see her again." "Will she eat us mom?" "She might."
My heart goes out to her, especially with all of the work that she has done to lose weight. Overhearing something like that would have torn me right down to my soul.
The children didn't know better. At that age - she estimates the girl was about three - kids don't have a real grasp on politeness, or whispering, and they certainly don't understand that weight issues aren't something to poke fun at. But the mom had a wonderful teaching opportunity that she failed to take advantage of, and she even went so far as to join in with her own jab. That makes me angry. Livid.
What those kids learned that day is that it is okay to make fun of someone's weight. They learned that it is alright to poke fun of someone who looks different from them. And they learned that mom will join right in.
Is this where bullies come from?