by Paul T. Coughlin
Much of what we believe about bullying isn’t true.
An estimated twenty million oppressed children need our help today. A critical mission field awaiting Christians is to combat bullying and proclaim liberty to wounded children.To counter bullying, we must first understand some common misconceptions.
- It is not necessarily true that bullies have low self-esteem and come from abusive homes.
- It is not true that kids who aren’t bullied are indifferent to those who are.
- Bullying is not a “school problem,” and teachers are not the frontline defense.
- Children who are bullied do not become stronger adults.
Bullies cannot be stopped merely with more compassion and understanding. In fact, bullying stems from the same roots as racism, sexual harassment, and even genocide, and it requires people to combat it in similar ways that they combat other forms of oppression and injustice. We often think of combating injustice overseas, but we can combat a very real and dangerous injustice in our own neighborhoods.
After more than a decade of working with tens of thousands of students, teachers, parents, and pastors, Coughlin knows that bullying represents the worst in human nature, but combating it promotes the best. Kindness and awareness—two buzzwords in today’s anti-bullying movement—will not end bullying on their own. They must be activated by courage, transforming bystanders into righteous, loving protectors of targets. When we join this mission of love and justice, we will become peacemakers who are blessed and called children of God (Matt. 5:9).
With interviews from popular Christian authors like Frank Peretti and Dr. John Townsend, Free Us from Bullying is a much-needed resource that encourages students and parents to act with courage against the social injustice of bullying.
PAUL T. COUGHLIN is the Founder and President of The Protectors, an official ministry partner of the Association of Christian Schools International, working to reduce adolescent and workplace bullying. Coughlin has helped thousands of children apologize for bullying during his Courage to be Kind presentations. A former newspaper editor, Coughlin’s writing has appeared in numerous media outlets, including Fox News, and he has been interviewed by The New York Times, Newsweek, and C-SPAN. Connect with him at www.theprotectors.org, Facebook (@freedombullying), Twitter (@BullyingDenied), and Instagram (@freedombullying).
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