Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Stop 10,000 Years of Bullies

Bullies can be stopped. All it takes is for the rest of us to be steady, united, and compassionate.

I sometimes think about how the bullying started. If those who write about the ancient goddess cultures are right, there were few bullies in those matriarchal villages and any who attempted to bully others were quickly wrapped in a love that stopped them. In extremes, a bully could be sent into the forest to fend for himself, but that would not be done until all other efforts had failed.

If my history lessons are accurate, domination cultures started about 10,000 years ago in Eurasia and washed from the dry steppes down into the more fertile river valleys. In any case, there came into the peaceful lands, tribes eager to harass and fight and enslave or kill those they found. These same peoples also fought among themselves and established a hierarchy of power based on size and strength and willingness to cause physical hurt or emotional harm.

What is the matter with the bully? He lacks confidence in himself and covers his self-doubt with force and taunts. What is the matter with the rest of us? We've been wimping out and folding up, letting bullies harm us. That's because we, just like the bullies, lack confidence--and we need guidance.

The theme of "the bully and the wimp" is played out in my novel Gideon's River and in Swamp Walking Woman, a novella size fairy tale in which alligators represent the bullies in the story of our threatened environment. While in the fairy tale, people must literally fight the alligators and take back their world, in the novel a mother and son find their way out of the destructive drama by communicating. It has been said that communication is the great solvent.

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