When someone makes a witty or cruel joke, the reaction of others can be more important than the person’s feelings. Whether they know it or not, saying hurtful things in a joking matter doesn’t always come off as funny. The moment when joking is confused with being rude, it’s hard to understand where the line is with others.
Growing up homeschooled, I found myself being the victim of a few homeschool jokes. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved to be out of high school and able to take on the new title “college kid.” Even though I was made fun of for reasons I may have deserved, being able to move past the joking was something I was happy about. I tried my best to not take some of the jokes personally, but it also seemed like no matter what, I was out of the loop on something.
After experiencing some of the joking that goes on, I know exactly what it is like for others to cross the line. A simple “I’m just kidding” doesn’t repair the damage done by crossing the line. Even though I dealt with some of the problems that came with friends who didn’t know how to quit teasing me in high school, I find myself being thankful for knowing how to deal with people who try to bring others down. As Chris Colfer said, “When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper. They may scratch and hurt you a little bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.”
Even though it didn’t feel good at the time, the people I called my friends helped me to not care about what other people thought and to see how what I say or do affects others around me.
With the positives that come with overcoming the situation, the negatives can be hard to bare. It is estimated that over 3.2 million students are victims of some form of bullying each year. When the joking becomes rude, it qualifies these people for this category. Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying. 17% of American students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month or more within a school semester (DoSomething.org).
It isn’t any question being made fun of or bullying is a real problem. The best thing we can do is stand up for others who are being affected and choose to not take part when joking becomes hurtful. Getting a cheap laugh at the cost of the quality of your character isn’t worth it. Stand up for others and spread the love. There isn’t any reason to make fun of others at the cost of their self-esteem, and it’s important to remember to always love God and love others.
For more information about bullying, visit https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-bullying.