We all recall being picked on at some point in our youth, but memories of hurt feelings differ from an experience of systematic bullying. Today, the Obamas are trying to dispel the myth that bullying is a rite of passage. Holding the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, a daylong summit bringing together students, parents, teachers, and the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, President Obama explained its mission: "If there's one goal of this conference, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not."
Obama got some laughter when he mentioned being teased for his big ears and funny name, but cautioned the audience to not chalk the taunting up to the idea that "kids will be kids." Michelle Obama offered some real solutions in her opening remarks. She called on parents to listen to their children, to get involved with their school activities so they're in tune with what's going on. She also said adults should set an example with their own behavior.
Today there's an even greater risk that teasing can escalate to cyberbullying, which includes spying, digital disrespect, and online cruelty. Most of us didn't face the emerging risks associated with technology, but I'm sure many confronted bullying in some way. Since Obama shared his bullying experience, I'm curious: what was yours?