We can all take a moment to appreciate how this woman turned a personal attack into a commentary on bullying.
Jennifer Livingston, a television reporter in Wisconsin, responded to an email that was sent to her regarding her weight. The man questioned whether or not she is a bad influence to viewers because of her size. Livingston took the opportunity not to defend herself, but to address the problem of bullying. And she makes some really good points.
What struck me is how she says adults are responsible for kids bullying one another. It’s true, kids mimic our behaviors. It may not even be their parents they are copying when they call someone names at school, it could be an aunt, babysitter or older brother. It’s our responsibility to curb bullying by watching our own actions and words.
The part of the video that I related to best was when she asks the viewer if he doesn’t think she realizes she’s overweight. “To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family.” I’ve always believed that we are our own worst critics. Second, it’s not this stranger’s responsibility to address her weight and health. So often we find ourselves criticizing people we hardly know but the honest question is, why do we care? Unless we are somehow associated with those people, maybe it’s best if we just let them live their lives, unless they are hurting others.
The most important thing to remember? So often we chalk bullying up to an issue within the walls of school, but it carries into adulthood.