A mom looks at bullying

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

I was one of those mothers who fussed and worried about her children all the time. I was also a pushy mother. I would fight to the end of the world for my daughters to get the best teachers, schools, recognitions - the lot. I had made a full-time profession of motherhood.

This was all about to change fast. I had just picked up one of my daughters from school. As we walked through our front door, she burst into tears. She told me that she had been punched by a group of children in the playground. Her body was all bruised. She was a frail child, and the fact that she was always the smallest in her class didn't make things any easier. She was often picked on. She had been bullied for some time but was scared to tell me, in case I made a big fuss. I was all ready to start a pressure group to have the children expelled from the school.

About this time I came across, for the first time, Mary Baker Eddy's book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and started to read it. I read this passage: "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (pg. 261). My change in attitude changed the way I brought up our children.

I discovered that revenge was not acceptable. One definition of "revenge" is: "an opportunity to get even." I asked myself, And then what? The whole circle goes on unbroken. But what if I were to break the link and start a new circle - a circle of love and compassion instead? What I give out comes right back to me. The choice was ultimately mine.

The place to start was to forgive and correct the whole incident in my own thought. Forgiveness is about getting release, not merely relief, from negative attitudes. I was infecting my home with poison. My preoccupation with the hurt done was making me bitter and cynical. It was stopping me from having a close relationship with God and thus being able truly to help my daughter.

I started by making sure our daughter didn't feel guilty or bad about what had happened and that she wasn't blaming herself for it. I reminded her each day how much we loved her and how we were proud of her. At the same time, we talked about her being the loved child of God and that the other students were also the loved children of God. Being loving and caring was a natural result of God's love for each of us.

We made a chart and put each child's name on the chart. Each day she was to see one kind and loving quality about them. It didn't have to be directed toward her, but could be anything that was loving or kind that they expressed to others at any time.

Soon the children were no longer a threat to her. Her whole thought about them changed, and she loved them. I was so surprised to see how receptive children are to love. As soon as she started to love them and appreciate their good qualities, she wasn't scared of them anymore. Their attitude toward her changed as well. She began to see not only her own unique abilities and talents but those of the others also.

Something else happened to me as I read Science and Health. I discovered that God was the original Mother and that I didn't have to take on such a heavy burden of making our children perfect. As created in God's image they had this inherent perfection. Nothing I did would add or take away from their completeness as the image of their Father-Mother God. I pulled back and praised them for what they did. They began to blossom on their own and began to recognize and value their own efforts and talents.

It turned out that my daughter soon began to take off and become one of the favorites in her class. She went through her whole school with that group, and they became firm friends, developing friendships that lasted through university and continue now as young adults.

I the Lord thy God will hold

thy right hand, saying unto thee,

Fear not; I will help thee.

Isaiah 41:13

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