Most nights before my youngest goes to bed we chat. Our conversations are usually centered around what is on his mind-his worries, his joys, his questions…tonight’s conversation delivered a harsh reality served in a timely dish considering October is National Bullying Awareness Month.
“…if I stand up for _____ my friends will make fun of me. They’ll be mad at me. If I don’t stand up for _____ I’ll be mad at myself.”
The inner conflict left my youngest a bit emotional, and as I inquired I realized the emotions were regret for having been part of the bullying.
My heart hurt listening to a nine year old think through and work through a difficult situation…and it is difficult. My heart hurt for the child that has been ridiculed, the child who has felt alone. My heart hurt that what I have taught my son, what PBIS/school has taught my son was not enough to aid him in this situation.
But then I remembered…it is so much easier said than done.
There is a problem. It is not just with our children. Examining adult social media outlets, I am sure we would find harassment, find gossip, and find bullying. I am certain at most children’s extracurricular events if I opened my eyes and my ears, I would witness the same. We have to admit there is a problem. It is not okay to demolish another for sport, for social gain, for personal power. Ignoring the issue because it is easier does not make the issue nonexistent. Preaching to children without modeling courageous empathy-driven action is pointless.
But then I remembered…there is so much being done.
There is a movement. Children and parents alike working to spread awesome, driven by the desire to #choose2matter and quest to empower awesome. There is a movement. Students inspiring and contributing like #isli creators and organizers @iancoon and @jackhostager. Students encouraging others to spread kindness like @westhighbros. Students pledging to use social media for good. After tonight’s conversation, my son has decided to do what he knows is right realizing doing what is right is rarely easy.
October 6 is World Day of Bullying Prevention. Show your mission to “Stomp Out Bullying” by wearing blue and claim your quest in eliminating bullying.
Make sure to tweet what you are doing in your quest to stomp out bullying. We can inspire one another! Please tag #plaea