Perhaps the most important lesson we learn at school is to keep our hands and feet to ourselves. I have thought about this rule every time my sons have complained about an incident at school. I remember my kindergarten teacher, Miss Paula, teaching my class that lesson. Best. Lesson. Ever.
Today is the last day of National Bullying Prevention Month. This month, I’ve thought about friends and their rare disease and chronic illness warriors. Their children go out into the world, without mom and dad by their sides, to navigate the treacherous waters of school. And it’s often one or two little sharks who wreak the havoc.
If a bully is reading this column, here’s what I would say: You cannot know the struggles of a person with a bleeding disorder on a “normal” day. Some children have a rare disease that causes bleeding and bruising under the skin. When you kick that person to make yourself feel better, you cause more than a simple bruise. That kick can result in thousands of dollars of extra infusions to treat the bruise. If you tackle an opponent instead of pulling a flag when playing football, that hard tackle can cause a person with hemophilia to bleed internally and lead to a hospital admission. A casual game of flag football is the closest my son will ever get to the real thing.
So, keep your hands and feet to yourself! Take a good look in the mirror at the hatred and ugliness. Figure it out and leave others alone.
I wish bullying prevention were as simple as keeping our hands and feet to ourselves. Words can destroy us more than any broken bone. Our children, with their kind and compassionate hearts, find it difficult to understand how people can be so mean.
Bullies exist outside the school setting. They are adults in the workplace; they are baristas and bankers, CEOs and lawyers. They are everywhere. So, how do we handle them? I tell my son to try his best to ignore these people who want to make him miserable — but that’s easier said than done.
We move through our days with a smile trying to do the right thing. I hope that when I encounter a person, they leave my company feeling a little better. My lesson to my sons is: Work hard to treat others the way you want to be treated. Isn’t that the greatest rule of all?
If you or anyone you know has been affected by bullying, please visit the national Stop Bullying website.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.