Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Veterans and Bully Victims

Children, kids, and teens aren’t the only ones who can struggle with self-esteem. Sometimes the bullies aren’t the ones in the classroom or on the playground. When our soldiers go out and fight a war, they are fighting bullies—or at least that’s how I see it. Our soldiers can come back as disabled veterans recovering from traumatic injuries, burns, wounds, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

I came across this article Beneath the Surface in the July 2011 edition of Texas Co-op Power about diver instructors who are trying to help these veterans. “Serious injuries can take an individual to a dark place. Thompson says: ‘But when soldiers see they can do something as challenging as diving, and do it as well as anybody else, it’s a real confidence booster. They figure, “If I can scuba dive, I can kayak, or golf, or whatever.” ‘ “ These veterans and the kids who are bullied need a confidence boost—something that will remind them they CAN do something they ARE valuable.

“ ‘Diving definitely helped me,’ says Gill, who wears a prosthetic leg in the water. ‘Physically, [while diving] I have my own independence. Mentally, it’s very calming. A lot of soldiers, like me, have PTSD and deal with a lot of stress. In the water, there is no stress.’ “

And it’s not just about us TELLING them they are valuable. This diving program for these veterans helps them see for themselves. Whether or not you believe that bullying is traumatic, whether or not you believe in whatever war our soldiers are fighting—the wounds they bear (both physical and mental) are very real to the victims and we need to have more activities that help them see their worth for themselves.

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