Free Us from Bullying
Real Solutions beyond Being Nice
by Paul T. Coughlin
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Much of what we believe about bullying isn’t true.
An estimated twenty million oppressed children need our help today. A critical mission field awaiting Christians is to combat bullying and proclaim liberty to wounded children.
To counter bullying, we must first understand some common misconceptions.
• It is not necessarily true that bullies have low self-esteem and come from abusive homes.
• It is not true that kids who aren’t bullied are indifferent to those who are.
• Bullying is not a “school problem,” and teachers are not the frontline defense.
• Children who are bullied do not become stronger adults.
Bullies cannot be stopped merely with more compassion and understanding. In fact, bullying stems from the same roots as racism, sexual harassment, and even genocide,and it requires people to combat it in similar ways that they combat other forms of oppression and injustice. We often think of combating injustice overseas, but we can combat a very real and dangerous injustice in our own neighborhoods.
After more than a decade of working with tens of thousands of students, teachers, parents, and pastors, Coughlin knows that bullying represents the worst in human nature, but combating it promotes the best. Kindness and awareness—two buzzwords in today’s anti-bullying movement—will not end bullying on their own. They must be activated by courage, transforming bystanders into righteous, loving protectors of targets. When we join this mission of love and justice, we will become peacemakers who are blessed and called children of God (Matt. 5:9).
“Winning our battle against the leading form of child abuse in the world will take more than schools—it will require all people of goodwill. Yet one group is currently missing in this battle: people of faith. In this book, Coughlin gives us powerful reasoning and inspiration as well as a realistic game plan against bullying. It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about our culture, especially our hurting children.”
— Barbara Coloroso, international anti-bullying expert and author of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Not-So-Innocent Bystander
“I know of no one who is more passionate or better equipped to help navigate the depths and complexities of peer-to-peer child abuse than Paul Coughlin. Both informative and inspiring, this book is not only a valuable resource for parents, pastors, and educators, but for everyone who knows that just being nice isn’t enough if we truly want to protect kids.”
—Pete Kelley, lead pastor at Antioch Church
“Paul Coughlin has been an inspirational hero in the fight against bullying. Free Us from Bullying is a must-read for anyone concerned with sparing our youth from the crushing loss of self-esteem caused by this behavior.”
—Leigh Steinberg, CEO of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment
“Justice speaks to the very nature, character, and heart of God, but justice is missing in the lives of millions of bullied children throughout the world. Free Us from Bullying will change this. It is a clarion call for people of faith to combat bullying the way we have combatted other forms of oppression.”
— Ken Wytsma, founder of The Justice Conference and author of Pursuing Justice
“Paul Coughlin has authored a beautifully written book about the tragic impact of bullying, showing us how it keeps us from a flourishing life in God while outlining practical steps to move forward in grace. This is a much-needed book.”
— Roy Goble, cofounder of PathLight International and author of Junkyard Wisdom
“In this book, Paul Coughlin helps us understand the ever-changing landscape of bullying and uses relevant and meaningful interviews, examples, and Scriptures to reach proactive solutions. As a school superintendent, I am constantly working to reduce bullying in organizations and communities. Paul is an incredible advocate in this work.”
— Dr. Paul R. Gausman, superintendent of Sioux City Community School District and participant in the award-winning film Bully
“Some leaders prefer to just talk about a problem rather than fight for a solution. Paul Coughlin, however, not only exposes the evil of bullying that torments our children but also illuminates a safe path that leads them to freedom. I am thankful Paul allows God to use his pen and voice to speak to a nation that is failing to protect our children.”
— Jason Wilson, founder and director of the Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy