CyberParenting topics Tuesdays on TheFish103.9FM – this is Part 1 of a two part segment on Confronting the bully.
On Sunday, Oct 14, 1 p.m. Joanna will be talking about confronting the bully at Barnes & Noble in Roseville. If you bring your nook with your purchased copy of Joanna’s book, The Authority In Me, you will receive a free tall drink at the café.
Who is the bully?
Bullying is the abuse of power. So anyone who abuses their leverage or advantage over another in an aggressive or intimidating way (physically or emotionally) can be considered behaving like a bully. And equally important, I apply the concept of bullying to the impact of culture on individuals who can be bullied by popular beliefs that are not necessarily true, and peer pressure to conform.
Paradoxically, it is a sign of weakness to abuse power. Bullying is a result of victim mentality trying to exact some form of vengeance to feel better or to simply have your way. It actually requires strength to refrain from abuse of power.
And for the bullies’ targets, be it the 9/11 attacks to convince Americans they will never feel secure again, or the teenager who committed suicide in response to relentless, endless, 24X7 cyber-powered harassment, this abuse of power can make it seem like there is no hope, no point of resisting.
In order to find some measure of peace, children need to understand human nature.
When we give power to the insecure side of ourselves, then bullies, victims and bystanders emerge. A bully presence cannot get play without a victim mentality on the part of bystanders and the bully’s target.
Why faith matters in confronting the bully
The thesis of my book, The Authority In Me, is that we are all bullied to some extent by the cyber-powered pressures of our time, and our children need to be self-governing at earlier ages, equipped with the beliefs and values of our homes to serve as their compass. The role of the parent in this regard is to model the legitimate use of authority which is how to confront the bully.
Take a look around. The spirit of fear is strong as we wade through the uncertainty of global transformations:
- Economic shifts that are structural (austerity measures in Europe, US debate about the role of government in healthcare)
- Geo-political events and campaigns (Arab spring)
- Children are introduced to and have access to WWW connectivity at earlier ages over exposing them to the nefarious influences of the network
In this context of the global network culture amplifying all things changing and uncertain, the American Republic is a model of authority that empowers us to confront the bully, or the insecure side, which for the founding fathers was simply defined as tyranny.
What is their antidote for tyranny, oppression or abuse of power?
In this model God’s authority is supreme and I designate it with a capital “A”.
And in this model the supreme authority, “A”, grants individual authority in the form of free will, which I designate as a small letter “a”.
This individual liberty, to choose our thoughts and actions, and express our beliefs, ideas and talents is granted by our Creator. So the premise of this republic is that every individual has power to govern their own life and pursue happiness. As a people of free will we give up limited power to government in order to protect individual liberty.
So much like the actions of the founding fathers, confronting the bully is a matter of holding on to personal power; not surrendering despite the perceived power indifference of the bully.
This is also known as individual resiliency; the internal fortitude which enables us to weather the disappointments, trials and storms of life.
When our faith is rooted in the authority principle of the American republic, it is possible to choose to give power to the hero in us which is symbolized:
When we choose to be in alignment with the authority boundaries God has set for peace, security and prosperity (“Aa”) and love God above all things, then we can weather the storms of life with some measure of peace and joy and receive more of God’s grace and blessings.
To review samples and order in all ebook formats (Kindle, Nook, Apple, etc.), go to The Authority In Me.
When we lose sight of God, the model reverts to a powerless one: “aa” – which the founding fathers called tyranny. It is also known as co-dependency. Another example is “helicopter parenting”. It is simply a boundary violation of legitimate authority in the life of the individual.
The misuse of the authority inherent in us to choose our thoughts and actions leads to dysfunctional relationships and suffering. There can be no peace because it gives power to the insecure side of us. (For more on this topic see: Townsend and Cloud, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life (1992).
Next week on CyberParenting Tuesday on TheFish103.9FM, we will talk about the role of parents and educators to help children be the hero and confront the bully.