Everyone knows that there are a lot of bullies in the world. Sadly, bullies exist because what they do works enough times to make being mean and hurtful good for them: they get what they want. They get what they want because they steal from others, lie when it suits them and force others to do what they want because no one likes to be called bad names, told they are stupid or inferior or bad; no one likes to be injured,
But can you see that bullies are actually very scared? They are scared because they are convinced that no one loves them, no one likes them, and that they can only get what they want because they cheat. They are very unhappy people! This does not excuse what they do: hurting someone is never kind and if you have to cheat to win, in a very real way you’ve already lost. You’ve lost because you are convinced that you are so stupid or helpless or inferior that you cannot possibly win an honest contest. Bullies are really convinced, deep inside, that they do not deserve any love. Some of them hurt others and act badly because, if they don’t deserve love, it feels better if people hate them. If people hate them, at least they have the attention they need, since they cannot have love.
Terrorists are another kind of bully: these are usually the ones that are so very convinced they do not deserve love that no one ever wants to pay attention to them for any reason at all. Yes, some terrorists tell themselves that they blame this thing or that person, whether it is someone being mean to them or how unfair the world is Some of them grab on to whatever they feel can make them powerful: guns, an angry group of people or believing that they are the only ones that are okay because the rest of the world is as bad and hopeless as they feel inside themselves, and they are not bad at all.
…to be continued…
There is a lot of stuff being said right now about “free speech,” and there seems to be a lot of arguments about it. It does not only mean the right to hold any opinions you wish, it also means that you can express those opinions without the government censuring you, like throwing you into jail only because you don’t agree with something a Congressman, Senator or even the president said.
It also means that you can look for, gather, share and keep information of all kinds in all forms. There are some reasonable restrictions: you can’t slander someone and print something horrible and bad about him or her, telling lies and trying to convince everyone that this person is bad just because they have annoyed you. And it means you can’t use something that belongs to someone else to make them look like fools or hurt them, or make money from some other person’s work.
Free speech does not mean that you can steal someone’s research or writing or painting and call it your own. Free speech means that you cannot tell someone’s secrets, or seal their ideas for something they made: you can hold your opinions and express them, but you need to be kind about it and not cruel. You need to be honest about it and not lie; you need to respect other people’s privacy and you cannot hurt others “just for free.”
So free speech means you can express what you know and learn from what others know, It means you can study new things and follow those studies wherever they take you unless you violate someone’s privacy, steal something or use what you know to do something bad.
The best thing about free speech is that you can respect someone’s viewpoint even though it is very different from your own, because you know that he or she will respect your opinions also. This takes work! But it is so very important!
Think of what you’re really saying when you say, “I hate you!” It usually means a lot of other things. If you tell your parents that you hate them it can actually mean: “I’m angry and frustrated with you and I don’t know how to tell you that!” “You hurt me, and you didn’t seem to care that you did!” “I am feeling frightened and worried about something, and you don’t seem to want to understand that that the way I want you understand.” “I want to do something and you’re not letting me do it and I think I’m supposed to have everything I want!” “I’m feeling tired and scared about something but I have no idea how to tell you that without feeling like a big, stupid idiot.” You see? Underneath the hate is fear, frustration or hurt.
When you tell a stranger that you hate them, it can mean even more things: “You’re different than I am, and that’s scary because I don’t know how to act with you and I don’t know how you will act with me. But I don’t want to show you that I’m afraid, because that could mean that you could really hurt me!” “I hate you because you remind me of something I did wrong that I’ve shoved so far down inside myself that I don’t even remember what it is.” “I hate you because everyone around me tells me that I do.” “I hate you because I’m afraid that you really are better than I am and I can’t look at the chance that I am incompetent. I am afraid to look inside myself and see where I’m not good enough, so I hate you instead.” “I hate you because you’re like me, but not enough like me and I don’t know why that makes me feel uncomfortable.”
Frustration, fear and hurt. Look inside the hate for the real reasons!
Like a great many children, there may be times when you say to your parents, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Sometimes this is because the parents pester you with too many rules, too many demands and commands. In these cases you just want a break so you can think through things on your own. Sometimes you are trying to understand something in your own way and you need to have just your own thoughts making the decisions.
However, sometimes you say “Don’t tell me what to do!” because you know you are doing something unkind or wrong and are acting selfishly and you don’t want to really think about what you are doing: you just want to do it because you just want to do it. Especially if you are doing something mean, you want to see how things would happen if you did something a different way than your parents would, and you don’t want to have to see that it’s a dumb idea to be unkind.
You might want to try out doing something the way a friend of yours told you about and you thought it would be a good idea because you don’t know how to feel how someone else would feel. You think that, if your parents keep telling you their way, the way they do things and they keep on wanting you to do it that way, you want to resist them. How else can you find your own way than by doing it?
Challenging your parent’s structures of rules and demands is part of growing up, But you need to remember that you need to have rules and regulations, structures and traditions in your life the same way you need a boat to go across the ocean or a lake: swimming just by yourself can get very hard. You can get so tired, trying to go that far without a boat, and either do something stupid or even drown. It’s the same with life. Rules for kindness make things easier; rules about caring for others make it easier for others to care about you.