Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bullying is Real

Bullying is real. So is cyberbullying.

I just read an article in TIME magazine, October edition, about bullying. In that sad shocking article, one can't help but feeling upset and nervous. Four US teenagers committed suicide last September after being bullied by their friends. This is not a horror movie, unfortunately, this is real.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:
"In the past four weeks, four US teenagers killed themselves after being harassed by schoolmates. Technology is quickly changing how kids bully one another."
"Bullies can be anywhere but there's no place they show up more than in schools"
"The trouble is, the technology of bullying has advanced much faster than efforts to stop it ever could. If you have a cell phone, you can post to your entire school that a girl is a slut or a boy is a fag - and you can attach unflattering photo or video to prove it. At least bullies of previous decades had to hold you down before they could spit in your face."
"There is a chicken-egg quality to bullying - you get hurt, and then you exact a price for it. And today, if you have so much as a Twitter account, you can exact that price in just 140 characters before any school official has a chance to talk you down. You post your worst thoughts in a heated moment, and the damage is done."
"Hateful behavior is never appropriate, no matter whether it happens online or in person. The idea that one is different from the other is the major problem." In short, it is incivility, wherever it occurs, that launches what can become a vicious bullying cycle."

I have read and re-read the above article a few times, and then I observe my surrounding. I can’t help but notice that in my neighborhood nowadays, a kid as young as 7 year old goes to school carrying a smartphone. As parents, we need to be wise, smart, and up-to-date in handling the issue. Here are a few points that came into my mind:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Courtesy has (not yet) died

My family went out to eat in a small restaurant in our neighborhood one evening. The place was crowded and the space was limited. While we were waiting for our meals, Nina accidentally dropped her cutleries and a small plate onto the floor. A family of four was passing our table when that incident happened. One of the young boys, I am guessing around 10-12 years old, smiled and quickly knelt down to pick up the mess my Nina has created on the floor. My husband immediately stood up and tried to stop him, saying it was not necessary for him to do that, but the boy continued doing it, put everything back on the table and smiled at Nina, "Ini, Dek." His family stood around and smiled too.

I, as usual, was too stunned to speak. I think I still managed to utter an awkward “Thank You.” There is no way I would do what this young boy has done. To a bunch of strangers? Definitely No Way! Let the waitress do that stuff.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sekolah vs Les

Dahulu kala, semua hewan diwajibkan untuk bersekolah layaknya para manusia. Awalnya semua hewan masuk di kelas yang sama untuk mendapatkan pelajaran dasar pertama. Pelajaran dasar pertama antara lain adalah membaca peta hutan rimba, berhitung dan penguasaan karakter musuh.

Lambat laun, kelas dipecah sesuai dengan karakter masing-masing hewan. Para raja rimba seperti singa dan harimau mengikuti kelas mengintai mangsa dan kelas lari cepat. Para pemamah biak diajarkan cara memilih rumput yang segar dan bagaimana cara mengunyah yang tepat.

Tanpa disadari, terjadilah persaingan antar hewan dan antar sekolah. Semua berambisi untuk mencetak murid-murid yang sempurna dan gilang gemilang bak bintang. Status elit antar sekolah juga dipertaruhkan.

Untuk keperluan ini, sekolah-sekolah lalu menerapkan pelajaran yang lebih sulit dan menganut system penilaian yang lebih tinggi kepada para murid. Imbas dari pergeseran ini adalah menjamurnya acara pelajaran tambahan di luar sekolah, terutama untuk anak-anak hewan yang kurang mampu beradaptasi dan untuk anak-anak hewan yang berambisi menjadi bintang. Dipanggillah para pakar dari luar sekolah. Jadilah para anak sapi diajarkan (secara lebih mendalam) bagaimana cara memamah biak yang (lebih) tepat supaya ia bisa ke sekolah dan mempraktekkan cara memamah biak yang benar tersebut. Demikian pula dengan si anak singa. Supaya ia lebih jawara di dalam memburu mangsanya, ikutlah ia di pelajaran tambahan di luar jam sekolahnya, yang mengklaim akan lebih mengasah kemampuan perburuannya. Supaya nantinya ia bisa lulus dan memperoleh nilai yang lebih tinggi di sekolahnya, demikian klaim si orang tua singa.