Naturally I despite bullying, and despite the Christian emphasis on forgiveness, I am not inclined to forgive the adults who didn't take seriously the bullying endemic to my elementary school class. Neither am I inclined to forgive the laywoman teacher who was infamous among my generation for her bullying and hatred of children, although I have long since forgiven Sister W at high school for her rather out-of-date disciplinary methods and I hope that she forgave her last students--who bullied her right back--before her mind collapsed, poor woman.
My class was 18 or 19 when Sister W walked out of the classroom forever, and although I am relieved to say I was not involved in That Incident, I had developed bullying tendencies myself--albeit only towards those English Lit teachers I thought were stupid. I have been wandering around in the textual remains of my 19 year old mind,and it is not fun. I feel rather sorry for my stupid English Lit teachers and wish I had been nicer.
But I had a lot more fun at 19 than I did at 12, and the day I began all-girls high school was the happiest day of my life so far, for I had escaped the Class of '85 forever and ever. I was acutely miserable at school from about age 11 to age 14 and to escape I spent 80% of my waking moments daydreaming.
But it never occurred to me to commit suicide. I must have known about suicide, but.... I haven't the slightest recollection of any mention of suicide until I went to high school. Perhaps I heard the story of Cassandra throwing herself from the walls of Troy, or vaguely worried about the soul of the original Little Mermaid. But suicide was just not something in books for children, or television shows for children, or movies for children. Oh! I must have known about Judas. Judas committed suicide. Not exactly a role model.
Suicide never occurred to me as a solution to my problems. I knew that the solution to my problems was Father Time. I firmly believed that once I was in high school, I would no longer be bullied. This turned out not to be true, however, as along with the rest of the girls in her classes, I was bullied by Sister W, and also, as an individual by a physically bigger girl, who became friendlier over time.
In hindsight, my brothers had a worse time of bullying than I ever did because when we were children adults turned a blind eye to boys beating the hell out of each other. I remember it was particularly bad for my brother Nulli, whose musical and artistic gifts drew jealousy and whose small stature and trusting, open nature made him a target. When Nulli was a child, he didn't have a violent bone in his body; it is all the more astonishing and admirable that he joined the militia the minute he legally could.
So we coped. Of course it is a shame we were bullied in the first place. And, yes, I would say that the experience had a detrimental effect on our future happiness and attitude towards humanity. But we coped. When I was twelve and volunteered to try out for the school's ice hockey team, I was informed by male classmates that they would beat me to a pulp if I did. So I didn't. And I didn't kill myself either. It would never have occurred to me.
Why does it occur to other poor children?