I've been really hesitant to post this. But I feel like it must be said. I recently watched a church video on anti bullying and then read a mothers blog about how her daughter was bullied in school and in church and how the mother suffered through bullying as well.
I hated high school. And I'm not afraid to admit it, when I was in high school I hated every minute of it. But it wasn't just high school that I struggled with, I struggled with church.
I was in a ward where I couldn't be myself, not that it stopped me. But I had a friend, who wasn't all that active and was a trouble-maker I'm going to call her M. My mi-maid advisor at the time, pulled me into a presidency meeting and told me I needed to decide on which side of the line I was on. I could be on the right side, or the wrong side. She wanted me to choose a different friend. Her daughter and I were really close, and my other friend wasn't very nice to her. But I always stood up for my friends, thats just how I was. I didn't care if you were my friend, if I thought you were wrong, I straight up told you. I wasn't into the cliques or trying to be popular, (Thank you childhood trauma.)
I remember coming home after that "meeting" in tears, I was so confused; didn't the gospel say to take in every soul. Weren't we supposed to be helping everyone we could. How could I choose the right, by leaving my friend out in the cold. And thats when the bullying started. We had an amazing woman for our YW's president. But there was one councilor that didn't see eye to eye with M. And M wasn't very nice to her daughter, but her daughter wasn't very nice either. So it was just a very intense situation. Anyway this YW's president worked very hard with M at this time to get her active; and she started working on her personal progress; and M grew and blossomed and she was so in love with the gospel and I really felt she was starting to gain her own testimony. She had completely changed but there was still major tension between some of the girls and her.
When the bullying started it was just against her, and then pretty soon; everyone that was in the mi-maid class started ganging up on M. Even though she had gone through an amazing transformation. I over heard one of the councilors saying that M wouldn't remain active at all; after her high school years.
I was 15 at the time, and I was so appalled by these councilors treatment of M, not only was the bullying coming from the YW but the YW leaders. Eventually the YW councilor became the YWs president and thats when all hell broke loose.
Every little thing was out in the open. The girls were mean and vicious; but so were the leaders. There was not a moment when M wasn't harassed by them. And at the same time, we're are being taught to love one another, and to accept another even with their faults.
Apparently when you call out a leader and tell them that their actions are different than from what they are teaching. That gets you on their radar. Now the bullying started on me and M. It was so bad that I started to go to primary where my mom was the pianist. And I'd sit and listen to these little children sing through my tears. I would leave mutual every week crying, because of the relentless taunting from the others and their parents. I was so hurt, I was friends with these girls, I stood up for them. And now I was treated like dirt because I did the same thing again for another. I stopped going. I hated going to church and I did over half a years worth of make up work for seminary because I refused to go. And then I started going to go to my grandparents ward. I actually got to see how the YW's was supposed to be run, I got to see love and acceptance. And it was beautiful.
When we received notice that our ward was getting dissolved and that the boundary would be split. I was so excited. But then the YW's president for my "new" ward was released and our old one was called in. I was horrified. Here I had all this hope, and for nothing. But then my Laurels advisor was such an amazing woman. And I grew to love her. (So much that I ended up marrying her son.) ;P
Luckily for me I was called to stake youth committee, probably because I wasn't active in my ward. but ehh, it ended up working out. bullying is a very big deal. And its not just within the youth. Leaders can certainly be the cause of it, even just by singling out a youth. Its like a bunch of wolves circling the herd and looking for the weak link. Its unacceptable and it shouldn't be tolerated.
I have seen it in my life, and in the life of those around me. The girl, M is fully active and was sealed in the Temple. We cannot know another's heart nor why they make the decisions that they do. But our youth and our primary are moldable souls. And we need to build them up and nurture them. Not break them down. No matter if they're "troublemakers" or "rambunctious" we need to find the love that our Father has for them, because he still accepts every single one of us even with our faults. We are ALL Gods children. And we should buoy one another up.
Find the good, there is always good in an individual. You just have to try and find it.