What example are YOU setting for today’s children?

By now I’m sure you’re all familiar with the popular ALS ice bucket challenge, which for the most part has had nothing but positive results for the cause.

I say “for the most part” because with every act of kindness people do for the greater good of humanity, there are always those insensitive, self-gratifying individuals who find a way to disgrace the efforts of many.

It seems a group of teenagers from Bay Village High School near Cleveland, Ohio used the “challenge” to pull a horrific prank on a very unsuspecting 14-year-old autistic student.
If you’re not outraged by what you’re about to read, then I’m sorry to say you’re no better than the teenagers who instigated this prank.

Instead of filling the bucket with the customary water and ice cubes, they instead filled it with urine, feces and spit. In what I consider an extreme form of bullying, the teenagers recorded the entire thing with a cell phone before posting it online – an all too familiar practice of late.

I was bullied growing up in school – though at the time it was dismissed by simply calling it “teasing”. I cannot fully express how angry this story makes me. Bullies seem to think they have some kind of incredible power and courage because they can easily manipulate and torment someone weaker in size or persona to them.

Bullies, and their actions, are so pitifully transparent – they inflict pain and embarrassment on their undeserving victims in order to feel better about themselves.

They continuously hide their own insecurities and lack of control by focusing the attention on someone else. Many even find comfort in getting a laugh over the pain and embarrassment they’ve caused another person. Sadly the audience, who doesn’t have the common sense to think for themselves, often feeds their dysfunction and only perpetuates the behavior.

In his book Singe Dad Laughing Dan Pearce says, “People who love themselves, don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer. If bullies actually believe that somebody loves them and believes in them, they will love themselves, they will become better people, and many will even become saviors to the bullied.”

I applaud TV funnyman and The Price is Right host Drew Carey for offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who helps find those responsible for this deplorable prank. It’s unfortunate that money has to be involved in order for people to do the right thing – I would have thought a person’s morals and character should do that.

Parents, I hold you accountable for the young bullies our world is filled with. You are their first teachers and they’re learning by your example. You are the people they aspire to be like, respect and seek the utmost admiration and acceptance from. If you’re not doing your job 150% of the time, is it really any wonder why so many children these days are acting out against their peers in an effort to make themselves feel better?

Parenting is not a game – it’s a commitment filled with tremendous responsibility. I’d be interested to hear how the parents of those young teenagers who bullied that 14-year-old autistic student will undoubtedly try and defend the actions of their off-spring.

Remember this: “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.” – Joyce Maynard