Bully-free zone

Stand Strong
by Nick Vujicic

Plenty of people have written and spoken in the past about dealing with the scourge of bullying.

However, many do not do it from a Christian perspective and few, I think, would have a better grasp of the realities than Nick Vujicic, who was born with a rare disorder that left him with
no arms or legs. 

While many are bullied simply because another person chooses to pick on them – anything from mocking their intelligence to their family, their size, or their skin colour – for Vujicic his
difference was always hard to ignore.

Aussie born and bred, he has become a well-known international speaker and author of such books as Life Without Limits, but before the 31-year-old was a happily married, contented Christian man he was a miserable, mocked kid, and a prime bullying target.

That’s not to say he doesn’t still get bullied now, but these days he knows how to deal with it. He knows his worth as a child of God and has years of experience in challenging the negative thoughts
and isolating actions that can result from such attacks.

And that’s where Stand Strong comes in. It’s a brilliant title, because there is Vujicic on the cover, standing proudly… with no legs. You can’t exactly argue that it’s too hard to try and work on the
effects of bullying in your life, or your family’s, with a cover like that. When writing previously about the difficulties of sharing the gospel, Vujicic has said that “if God can use a man without arms and legs to be his hands and feet, then he will certainly use any willing heart!” The logic here, then, is that if a man without arms and legs can overcome bullying, anyone can.

Vujicic’s positive attitude in the face of bullying in no way detracts from his view of it as a very serious problem. He is clear that it causes tremendous hurt and misery – anyone who has been through it knows how true that is – and yes, the consequences can be disastrous. But the point of Stand Strong is that there are skills to learn, and truths about God and his love to grasp, which can help draw the hurt and bullied out of the pit and put them on the road to becoming confident of their value and able to withstand whatever bullies,and life, tosses at them.

The book is an easy read, with 11 chapters that each take an element of Vujicic’s strategy and outline in simple accessible language how to tackle it. For example, figuring out who you are; managing your emotions; building strong, supportive relationships; developing a spiritual foundation; making good choices and learning a defence strategy that doesn’t include fighting. Vujicic even challenges us to face up to the bully that lies within.

The Christian core of this book is very strong. Vujicic returns again and again to the grace of God in Christ, the value of trusting that God knows and loves you as you are, has a plan for your life, and how his forgiveness can transform you as well as the bullies.

While Stand Strong can certainly be of value to adults, its simplicity and direct language are perfect for teens and kids in the latter stages of primary school. My 15-year-old’s observation, after giving it
the once-over, was that its message would be very useful for people who need it, and that it reads as though Vujicic is talking to you.

This chatty tone is fine, although it does encourage some repetition throughout the book. But Vujicic is speaking from experience, from love, with faith, and with a simple wisdom that’s hard to ignore.

 

Feature photo: Christliches Medienmagazin pro