Admin l Thursday, October 27, 2022
LAGOS, Nigeria – Nine-year-old Jane always returned home sad, feeling unloved and worthless. Even after she changed her school, the feelings lingered. The parents, Adeyinka and Prisca, found out that their daughter was being bullied at school.
“On one occasion,” says Jane, “a bully grabbed my water bottle, smashed it to the ground, and broke it.” On another occasion, another bully known for being mean and unkind pulled a chair from under me and I fell to the ground in a large gathering of other students.”
A family use the Bible and jw.org to help their child who had been bullied As millions of children head back to school this year, more than one in five of them will have a similar experience. A new study by Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (NOI) Polls reports that “over 3 in 10 Nigerians have experienced bullying in secondary school.”
Additionally, in a national study on bullying experiences of pupils in Nigerian primary schools, published by the PMC-NCBI, nearly 51% of pupils said they had been the target of an aggressor, or a witness to bullying online or by
other electronic means. According to the study, there was no significant difference between the percentage of male and female pupils who experienced bullying. As parents search for ways to protect their children, a growing number of families are turning to
God’s Word, the Bible for practical guidance. Adeyinka and Prisca, Jane’s parents, talked with their children about helpful Scriptural principles they had learned through their faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“The materials on jw.org, (the Witnesses’ official website), have been wonderful,” says Prisca. “The experiences and videos were very helpful. I specifically picked out articles and videos that speak on the subject of bullying. For instance, in the whiteboard series there is one on “Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists”. I watched along with Jane and it became obvious that we can conquer bullies without getting involved in a scuffle or fight. Also, the article series entitled “Young People Ask” on https://www.jw.org, that centered on such materials were quite helpful.”
Adeyinka and Prisca’s young daughter Jane recovered. “Honestly, without the Bible I would have remained depressed,” says Jane. “I learned that I don’t have to get even to conquer a bully.” Ikechukwu did not report his experience with bullying. “I noticed a puncture on his fingernail,” his mother Patricia says. “He said it was a pencil injury from a classmate, but that it was a mistake. I persisted, and he finally told me that it was a pencil stab after a violent push by a bully. He admitted that the boy had been harassing him constantly. He would not report it because the boy was smaller in size and in a lower class, but related to the principal.”
Patricia turned to the Scriptures and the resources on jw.org. “There is the temptation to get back at the person, and gradually the bullied becomes a bully himself,” says Patricia. “I would advise on what Jehovah wants us to do at Romans 12:17-19, where revenge is not an option. Ikechukwu would often say, ‘Mommy, the message is clear.’ The videos and the cartoons make our work easier,” his mother says.
“Not every situation resolves so easily. But applying the Bible’s advice and focusing on the big picture can help individuals cope and maintain their sense of self-worth,” said Olusegun Eroyemi, Nigeria spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “But the Bible has proven to be a practical resource for many families to navigate difficult situations in life,” said Eroyemi.
“The principles found in this ancient book can help adults and children resolve conflicts and maintain peaceful relationships with others.” Bible principles like the so-called Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated, showing love, and being slow to anger, are tools Prisca said helped her family in many circumstances.
“More parents will do better at parenting with these resources, especially with the challenges that school-aged children face.”