A Conversation with Author and Filmmaker Frank Peretti
- Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Well, that opportunity finally did come a month after Columbine. I was going to do a Life On The Edge event for Focus on the Family and I was part of their speakers' pool. I had material already done for it. So I called the organizers and I said, "You know, I think God wants me to talk about bullying and harassment," and they said, "We're with you brother, go for it." So, I got the talk together and I just spilled my guts and it was tough, real tough. I was on the verge of tears the whole time. The talk brought such an incredible response and it was recorded, so Dr. Dobson heard it and played it on his radio station, on his program, and that got such an incredible response, so, that's what gave rise to the book. Then, right about that same season I was writing the Veritas series and so I said, "Let's deal with that in the Veritas series as well."
Crosswalk: What kind of parenting advice do you have for someone whose child is being harassed at school? Do you have any practical tips that you can share with them?
Peretti: Well, my first thing that I always say is get proactive and do something about it. One of the biggest mistakes parents make for generations is make excuses for it. Just excuse it. "Oh just ignore them. Oh just stay away from them. Oh don't worry about it. You'll outgrow it. Da da da da da... You know what you're really telling your child is don't come to me when you have a problem. I'm not going to help you. You're on your own kid. Tough nuggets. You have to understand, like when I was a kid, because of the attitude of parents and teachers, I thought this was supposed to be happening to me. It's part of my educational experience. I'm supposed to be here. I'm supposed to be picked on. I'm supposed to be harassed and molested. I often compare it to a child being molested by a family member. On the one hand they're being told that this is okay, this is our secret, that you're supposed to go through this, don't whine about it, don't tell anybody...blah, blah, blah. And I suppose they want to be a good little boy or girl, so they don't say anything, they obey and they say, "Look kid," but something in their heart is telling them that this should not be happening to me. That's how it was for me. The teachers allowed it, turned their backs on it, made excuses for it. My parents sent me there, I had to be there. Nobody ever told me, I was never told, "You know what? You should not have to put up with this and you are not to be treated this way."
J: Yeah, right, same here. How come?
F: I just... So that was a big question that I had to grapple with for quite a while and I finally started writing about it and talking about it and, "Frank, what, why didn't you ever say anything about it." And that's wrong, as bizarre as it seems. So, that's why I say the first thing that parents needs to do is don't excuse it, don't blink you're eye at it, don't just say you'll outgrow it. Do something about it because it's wrong. And then you hear this other thing that comes along, "Well, it'll make you strong." Or, you hear this a lot from Christians, "Well, the Lord uses it." And I have to keep coming back, "You're missing the point. It's wrong!" How many times do I have to say it. It's wrong and when I give the talk I go through it and say, "Is it right to injure someone, to inflict upon them wounds that they will carry for the rest of their lives? That will have an affect
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