Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Growing Old Isn't So Bad

Growing old isn't so bad. I know I'm not 'old' to most, but to my little volleyball team, I'm certainly not young. Especially when they ask how long I've been playing volleyball and I get to reply with '15 years'.  That's how old my players are.

I don't think there's anything I would give up to be 15 years old again. At least not these days. My team is made up of 9 8 girls that all go to different schools. You would think that this would bring them closer together because they don't have 'reputations' that are following them to club ball. That couldn't be any further from the truth.

Thanks to group text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc., it is too easy for a girl to say something and have the whole team see it, then erase it as if it never happened.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"

From an outsiders perspective, it looks like everyone gets along, but what they don't see are the private messages, or 10 second snap chats. Two weeks ago we had a girl leave the team. Not because we aren't a winning team, because of bullying. Bullying that could send this girl in to a tail spin back in to depression. The girls doing the bullying didn't think this was a problem because they bragged that they suffered from depression too.

I've never suffered from depression, but I do know it's not something that should be joked about and certainly not bragged about. It's personal and should stay between people you know and trust. Not with people who will use it to hurt you.

Now, it's the bully's turn to get hurt. She wants to leave the team because the girls are telling her they don't like her. She doesn't sit with the team during breaks, she cries after practice, but she doesn't see herself as a bully. She, and her parents see her as a leader, the captain of our team. I did too.

I have parents telling me this team should disband because of the bullying. Telling me we shouldn't go to our next tournament which is a travel tournament, and I agree. That at 15 and 16 years old, these girls need more parental involvement and a stronger hand, I disagree.

When I was a teenager I realized a friend was lying to me a lot. Purposely leaving me out on fun plans. Telling others she called me but I couldn't come out. Do you know what I did? I called this friend because text messaging wasn't around and we met face to face and talked it out. I didn't call my mom and ask her to talk to her mom. More parental involvement is the last thing these girls need, because they don't know how to handle tough situations on their own.

Parents take a protective stance from the get-go. Their child is the one who is hurt and can do no wrong. It's all hear-say, the information that a parent has. It's the girls involved that know what is actually being said.

You solve problems by talking them out face to face. Certainly not behind a screen. Why do you think there are so many blogs? It's so easy for people to express their true feelings with a few taps of a keyboard or screen.

Kids need to learn to resolve issues and not throw gas on the fire by posting their issues to social media. What you think might be gone because you deleted it will always be floating around in cyber space. In a few short years, these kids will be applying for jobs, those companies will be doing searches on their names, and the past will come back to haunt them.

I'm so glad I grew up in an age when we dealt with our conflicts head on and resolved them face to face. I have a dream, that people my age, who are raising kids, have the same feeling I have and that social media will go away and our (future) kids won't have to deal with the unnecessary bullying.

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