When I think of bullying, I think of African Elephants. Actually it was a CBS News story some years ago called "The Delinquents."
South Africa Game rangers discovered that a new group of juvenile delinquents had been attacking and killing the white rhinoceros, the rhino they've spent years protecting. The prime suspects were not humans, but elephants. A group of young elephants who were orphaned as young calves were now adolescents. They had grown up without role models. In addition to killing rhinos, they acted aggressively toward tourist vehicles. Researchers eventually decided to kill the elephants.
They may have been juvenile delinquents but there's no reform school for elephants. But the rangers wanted to avoid killing the delinquents. The solution turned out to be the biggest Big Brother program in the world. The rangers decided to bring in some larger bull elephants.
The bigger, older elephants established a new hierarchy, in part by sparring with the younger elephants to discourage them from unacceptable behavior. It was like a group of teenagers who have been acting up who are confronted by their fathers all of a sudden. In short time the juveniles got the message loud and clear. Since the big bulls arrived, not one rhino has been killed.
Elephant or human, adolescents need mentoring. They need guidance on how to become good, productive citizens. During this month of Anti-Bullying Awareness let us, instead of seeking out vengeance against those who bully, recognize and celebrate those mentors who keep them on the right path. Martin Luther King Jr. said "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
The future of our community depends on having healthy men and women as opposed to overgrown boys and girls. So celebrate the mentors in our community during this time of awareness. Next time you see a teacher, a coach, a police officer or others who work with our youth let them know you appreciate their work.