To the 7th Power
The quote above from Henry Rollins speaks to me this day.
Bullying is a grab for power, engaging one of the most limited and temporary forms of influence… coercive power; the power of fear. — BLG
I found myself in session one time articulating this thought. Bullying is an attempt to seize some sense of power, through fear. But, there are 6 bases for power. Coercive, based on fear… and the source of bullying. Reward, based on the capacity to (you got it) reward. Coercive is the stick. Reward is the carrot.
But then there is legitimate power, that based on title… the power that comes from being a parent, teacher or other legally and officially recognized “authority”. There is expert power… that which is based on expertise. A doctor or lawyer can exert it as we listen to them, given their perceived and recognized expertise. There is knowledge power; the power based on the ability to control access to information. Finally, there is referent power; the power that comes from admiration. It is the power of influence that our heroes or respected fellows might hold.
Bullying is of the coercive strain and only lasts as long as the fear exists. It has no power without it. I say this with the understanding that fear has real power, but it is transitory. That being said, we can and should stand against bullying in our schools, workplaces, families and communities. We should stand in its face in the political and popular media arenas… where it is taught so very well. My suggestion this day (and one that I will explore again) is that part of the battle (and a large part of it) has to do with how we stand in its face; with character.
So, I humbly suggest a seventh power; the power of strength of character.
I invite you to watch this personal video. See it. Hear it. Ponder it. If you so choose, share it with someone you know who might be experiencing bullying. It may not be a silver bullet or a magic pill, but I believe that it speaks to a large part of the battle. Strong and high character powerfully stands in the face of bullying. It is a lesson that I did not find easy to learn. But, I did find it a true and lasting lesson.
Strength of character, encouraged in our workplaces and schools and communities, is one of the greatest fortresses and bulwarks we can build to stand in the way of the grab for power that bullying truly represents. As we practice it, and encourage it in others… the market for bullying starts to dry up.
Bullying was not born of our youth. They learned it. We taught it. Somehow along the way, we consciously or unconsciously fostered the notion that might makes right. Actually it is justice that makes right; and justice, the virtue, is born of character.
Strength of character. It is not the only solution, but stands as a truly and deeply and real force in the movement for schools, workplaces, families and communities of peace and justice. We all deserve that.
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™
Some music with this stand in the face of bullying in mind and heart…
… your Hall of Fame.
and, while I or we do not condone or promote violence, this song by my fave band Shinedown, still speaks to the igniting of spirit I experienced that day in Grade 7. I wish those who bullied me and others nothing but peace, but the righteous anger I felt that day helped catapult me to a stronger space. I wish that strong space for us all. Peace. 🙂