The kids are all right (but the adults need improvement)
“How can kids be so cruel?”
That’s one of the most popular questions in society today. Bullying has become more than kids not sharing toys. We now know that bullying has become so severe from elementary all the way into colleges that some kids are actually taking their own lives to avoid more shame, embarrassment, ridicule and pain.
The fault does not lie with “kids these days,” as many adults like to complain. The problem is with adults.
If you have not seen the video yet, you must search online for La Cross, Wis., WKBT-TV reporter Jennifer Livingston’s on-air response to a rude and pointless email from a one-time viewer.
Now, reporters in all media markets are accustomed to angry and/or hurtful commentary; it comes with the territory. But as Livingston read through her WKBT email the other day, she found an email from a viewer who took issue with her weight. According to the email, the viewer said Livingston should not consider herself a good example in the community because, as a prominent figure in the community featured on a daily news program, she was someone relaying the message to girls that it was okay to be obese.
Livingston, though she never revealed the writer’s identity, went on-air with the email, reading it to viewers. She acknowledged that, yes, she is an overweight person, but said, “You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you have admitted that you don’t watch this show. So you know nothing about me, but what you see on the outside. And I am much more than a number on a scale.”
Kids are not born knowing how to hurt other’s feelings. They watch their parents and relatives, how those adults speak to others both publicly and behind closed doors. They hear their teachers gossiping about other teachers or students while passing them in the hallway or getting a drink of water near the teacher’s lounge. They see the headlines of magazines and news programs that focus on a celebrity gaining weight as the most important story. They hear the women near them in the pews at church critiquing the outfits of those walking into Sunday service.
The problem is not the kids these days; the problem is the adults who are setting poor – and hypocritical – examples for the kids these days.
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