Bhupinder Singh has written another book for kids – this time with the theme “bullying”. I think this is a topic that needs attention in our community and is something we should talk openly with our kids about. As adults, we share a responsibility to create an open atmosphere to talk about all types of sensitive topics – including bullying – to increase the probability that the kids will reach out to us when they have questions or are facing a problem.
Bhupinder Singh starts the book with a line from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji – “Naa ko bairee nahee bigaanaa sagal sa(n)g hum kau ban aaiee” (translated: “No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger. I get along well with everyone”). I love the way he uses this quote as an inspiration on how to deal with bullying. I believe that to have this mentality of no enemy and no stranger, is only possible when you are living in the mindset of oneness – when you have broken the illusion of duality – that there is one me and you. How the Aman’s Dada ji reacts to the situation is a perfect example of this – instead of indulging in anger out of the mentality of duality (some boys are troubling my grandson), he acts more proactively – thinking proactively what they should do to solve the problem. In the book we also see the negative consequences of solving bullying with anger when Aman gets suspended from school after hitting back at one of the bullies. When you read this with your kid, you can discuss what are healthy and unhealthy methods to deal with bullying.
Through the book we also see that prejudice can be sorted out when you get to know the people you have prejudice against. When more and more kids get to know Aman privately, he gets more friends and they also defend him if any other kid starts bullying him.
Reading this book I feel Bhupinder Singh has covered a lot of topics on how to deal with bullying in terms of gurbaani. If there is something that is missing, I would say that would be to get to know more about the bullies. Sometimes the kids that start to bully, are suffering themselves from difficulties – for instance a turbulent upbringing. If we had got an insight into that, maybe reading the book with our kids would give the kids more understanding and empathy for the bullies. I am not saying that we should allow the bullying because there is a reason the bullies are acting so, but if we can handle bullying with a compassionate and loving mindset, we can make a real difference in this world. That being said, I think this book is an amazing gateway to talk with kids about bullying. This can create more openness between the parent and the kid, the teacher and the student, in addition to giving kids a hope – that there is a way out of bullying.