The following blurb was originally written on October 11, 2010:
With this comic, I’d like to take a brief moment to share my thoughts on a subject that is currently in the spotlight of the media: childhood bullying.
I’ve made it no secret that I suffered from bullying as a child. Half the episodes Peter endures in the pages of this comic are based around events that I myself went through when I was his age. I spent a good majority of my time in the woods simply because it was the only location — aside from the interior of my own house — where I knew I could escape from the other neighborhood kids. Unfortunately, far too often this type of situation is not taken seriously by the adults in the child’s life. Writing off bullying and teasing as “just another part of childhood” is just as dangerous as the problem itself.
In the past month, the names of several children have hit the waves. Children whose lives met with a terrible tragedy as a direct result of bullying and harassment from their peers. When a child is bullied to a greater extreme than they can handle, they build up a wall around themselves to keep everyone else out. These children could have had their lives turned around if they had a friend or relative break through and confirm to them that there is nothing wrong with them.
“Everything will be all right:” five words that could turn it all around.
Realistically speaking, there is no way to make children stop bullying each other. Kids will always find superficial skin-deep reasons to exploit as a means of harassing others. The way we CAN nip the problem in the bud is to provide children with a stronger platform on which to stand when they face it. The greatest threat to bullying lies in the apathetic strength within the victims.
If you have a friend, sibling, or acquaintance whom you know is being bullied, talk to them about it. Make them understand that the bullies only are powerful if you let their actions affect you. This is the message of the above comic: if you remain happy with yourself and just see the bullies for what they are — temporary distractions from the beauties of real life — the pain will not stay with you. As long as these kids understand that they CAN be strong and that they DO have someone they can talk to who will take their situation seriously and offer support whenever possible, they will have a much easier time pulling through.
And most importantly: Violence is NEVER the solution.
Bullying can easily overwhelm every aspect of a child’s life if they think they are alone in facing it. Please, everyone: stop thinking that bullying is “just another part of childhood” and that kids will always make it through on their own. People have to start taking bullying seriously and reach out to help others overcome it.
Please share this message with as many people as possible to spread the word. We can heal these children and prevent them from being victimized, essentially ending the threat of bullying without having to attempt the impossible task of removing the bullies themselves. If you would like more information on how you can become an active participant in the fight against bullying, you can visit the US Department of Health and Human Resources’ website, Stop Bullying NOW!, or dosomething.org, a bullying awareness site that has a wealth of information, facts, and resources for victims and their families.