The Bullying Problem is an Argument for Local Government

As I was making breakfast this morning my thoughts began to wander, as they often do, to the current state of our society.  You know how it works when you let your mind wander.  One minute I was thinking about the problems with education in our country (yes, homeschoolers DO care what is going on in the public schools) and the next I was thinking about the IRS scandal.  At some point the word “bully” popped in to my head.  I don’t know if one of my kids said it in the background or what but once that word made it into my thought process I had an epiphany.  Our current societal epidemic of bullying is a a perfect example of why local government is the best way to solve society’s problems.

Let me explain.  150 years ago if a child came home after being roughed up by another kid, what happened?  The parents of the victim contacted the parents of the aggressor, the bully was then punished by his parents, and (unless the bully’s parents were bullies themselves) the child learned a valuable which would make it much less likely that he would repeat the behavior.  Remember the good old days when the phrase “I’m going to tell your parents!” used to strike fear in to the hearts of children everywhere?

The chronic entitled, “spoiled brat” attitude that was once only found in the homes of the extremely wealthy is now in nearly every home.  Every generation has given their children just a little bit more leeway and now we have to live in a society filled with greedy little monsters who think about nothing but what they want and that they want it NOW.  The kind of behavior that was once seen only in toddlers is now widespread in adults.  No wonder this country is spiraling out of control!

What does this have to do with local government?  Here is a list of government systems in order of most to least “local” here in the United States.

  1. Self Government – pretty self explanatory: Controlling yourself.
  2. Family – Parents set the rules and boundaries.  Children obey or suffer the consequences pre-determind by the parents.  Our family government is not a democracy.  Our children are ruled by benevolent dictators.
  3. Neighborhood – Not all neighborhoods have a form of government, but some do.  Home Owner’s Associations (HOA) are a form of government (a form that I personally despise, which is why we will never again buy a home that has an HOA if we can possibly help it).
  4. Other Small Government Bodies – There are several small government bodies before we get to the city/town level such as school districts or church organizations.  It needn’t be an “official” or elected government to be a governing body.
  5. Town/City – Mayors, city council, etc.
  6. County – Sheriffs, clerks, commissioners, local judges, etc.
  7. State – As far as I know, each state has an executive (governors), legislative (state senators and assemblymen) and judicial branches (state judges).
  8. Federal – Executive (president enforces the law), legislative (congressmen writes the law), judicial (interprets the law based on constitutionality).
  9. World – We currently have no world government though a lot of people look to the UN to fill that role.

I am of the opinion that if there is a problem it should be solved on the smallest level possible.  Again, lets take my the example of bullying.  If one of my children is being bullied I would first discuss within our family if there is a way to solve it.  If that doesn’t fix the problem I then take it to the parent of the other child (and as I once unfortunately had to play the part of the mother of the bully I can tell you this is a very effective strategy).  If the problem persists I would then go to the authorities where the bullying has been taking place (school or church).  For small, isolated cases of bullying this is as far as it should go.  It should only be addressed at a higher level there is a chronic problem that the school cannot handle (aka if the bully is breaking laws).

Rising levels of bullying is a symptom of parents no longer taking an interest in their children’s lives and/or being so self absorbed to think that your child can’t possibly do any wrong.  Parents for years have been told that they alone are not good enough to raise their children to be healthy and productive members of society and as a result, they think their children’s behavior isn’t a reflection on them or worse: they are so blinded by their pride that they can’t admit that their precious little darling child is actually a spoiled brat and if they misbehave then it MUST be someone else’s fault.  As parents (and mothers especially) we have the ability to mold our children’s lives.  If we don’t give them boundaries their characters will never take shape!  As a mother who is currently trying to “de-brattify” her toddler I get it!  Realizing you have allowed your child to become a tiny monster is a blow to the ego but we have all done it in one way or another.  Now is the time to nip it in the bud.

Bullying is a nightmare for those who live through it and no one should ever be made to feel worthless at the hands (our mouth) of another person.  It’s SO much worse now then it was when I was a kid.  Social media allows mean spirited brats to take it to a whole new level.  Parents, you should know EXACTLY what your child is doing online.  You as the parent need to know if your child is bullying OR being bullied!

Why are parents this disinterested?  I will reiterate something I said a few years ago:

The truth is that bullying is happening for no other reason then parents have lost interest in and control of their children.  Parents have been told for years that they are not allowed to pry into their children’s lives.  DON’T read their email! DON’T look in their rooms!  DON’T screen their phone calls!  DON’T check their text messages! And DON’T check their internet history!

Parent’s aren’t ALLOWED to parent and now people are SURPRISED when they wake up one day and their kids are out of control!?

C.S. Lewis said it better than I can in The Abolition of Man:

And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible… In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Our children are told by none other then the former Vice President that there are things that older people just don’t know.  And they are being told by those who have worked for the current administration that there is no longer any reason to respect your elders.

And those same people are wondering WHY we have problems with today’s youth?

You know what?  It doesn’t take a village.  It takes a parent.  The village’s only job should be that of supporting and helping the parent, not usurping their authority.  I believe that children, like most people and things, need to have personal and individual attention by those who love them and with rare exception NO one loves a child more than their parents..  The child that belongs to everyone belongs to no one.  We see that every day.

Let me give you another example, but before I do I want to give you fair warning that from henceforth in this post I am going to be completely abandoning my attempt at diplomacy.  From this point on you should expect dripping sarcasm and distain for people with no common sense.  I have given you fair warning so feel free to leave before I offend you :)

Here is an article entitled “Feet Can Be Used to Get To School“.  The article celebrates a school district that was concerned about children not getting enough exercise so they received a grant to “organize a brigade of parents who will walk a large group of students to school.”

I walked to school almost every day of my school life and I managed to do it without a federal grant from the Department of Transportation.  It was called “No Courtney, you can’t have a ride to school.  Get off your butt and walk.”  To be fair, I did live only a half a mile from the school and it was a small and fairly safe town.  I understand that not every city/town is safe enough to let your child walk to school alone.  That being said, I want to know why the VERY same parents who are part of this “walking school bus” couldn’t do it without the school paying to organize it.  Were they seriously sitting there, wringing their hands saying “if ONLY we had approval and a government grant to walk our children to school!  That would make ALL the difference in the world.”  Use your brains!  Walk to your next door neighbor with kids and organize it yourself.  We do still have phones and student phone lists right?  Why are they celebrating the fact that they now have permission from the school and the government to act like parents?

As far as getting children enough exercise is concerned… what ever happened to sending your kids outside to play until dinner time?  I don’t know about your kids, but as soon as my kids go outside they completely forget about food all together!  Playing outside = less fat kids.  Two birds, folks.  I know it’s hot.  Take a water bottle out with you.  You won’t melt.  If it’s REALLY hot break out the water balloons and sprinkler.  I know it’s cold in the winter.  That is what sleds and ice skating and coats and mittens are for.  Mom, grab a book and sit on the grass while your kids ride bikes.  Take them to a park and sit on a bench and read while they run around on the grass and play!

The fact of the matter is that most of society’s problems can be solved without a “national campaign”.  Let’s take care of what we can at the smallest level so that the larger levels of government don’t have to waste time and money on shrimp treadmills and squirrel sanctuaries.

Oh yeah, and when some idiot says “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents” just turn to her and say “I’ve seen the ‘community’ and … I’m going to take my chances.”


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Heather B. says:

    FANTASTIC post, Courtney!


  2. Jane Payne says:

    Well said. I’m excited to read more of your work. Thank you.


  3. Cari says:

    As always, a dose of common sense! Wish more parents and government leaders had a little of this. You are so right, parents do need to know exactly what their children are doing especially online. Teenagers with smartphones should be turning them in at night and mom and dad should be reading their facebook posts and texts. It’s not spying, it’s parenting. If the government would stop trying to undermine the role of parents we would not have this problem (or half the other problems). Instead children are taught how to strike fear into the hearts of their parents by threatening to call social services. Don’t even get me started on the idiot syndrome. Are people really so dependent these days that they must form committee’s for everything? Living in Germany has taught me a lot about children’s independence. They might do a lot here I don’t agree with (such as govt daycare disguised as kindergarten starting at age 2) but some things they do get right. All children walk to school. There is no such thing as a school bus in our city. And they don’t walk with their mamas. They walk alone to and from. And they have *gasp* recess. Lots of it. They get at least 3 breaks a day and school is only from 8 to noon. They are very much into getting in nature and walking. European’s walk every single day of their life, rain, snow, ice storm, 5 or 85, they are out walking It doesn’t take the government to mandate walking, it’s just what people do, and it’s very catching. I walk a lot more just because my neighbors do. Less campaigns…more common sense. It’s so refreshing to read articles that are full of that ever scarce commodity, thank you!


  4. Lisa says:

    yes, yes, and YES!


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