What's the secret weapon in the fight against bullying in schools? Good anti-bullying programs are important, training is key, school leadership is critical, but they're not the secret weapon.
It's parents, particularly mothers, who care about all the children in the school, not just their own. These are the moms that show up at workshops, that come to volunteer, or if they're working outside the home during the day, continue to show an interest in their own way.
Without moms who understand that the school climate affects all the children, the school can become like the Wild West with only one sheriff in town -- the principal -- and maybe a few deputies.
Working on school climate is extremely time consuming and labor intensive. You don't get gold medals for it and the results are not obvious on a day to day basis. It's not like the plant sale where your job is done when the last marigold is sold and you count up the money (although that's good, too!). It's about devoting time to organize and implement activities. It's about noticing and catching kids in the act of doing something good. And at times, it's about nurturing kids that are not your own.
So here's a "shout out" to the extraordinary moms I've met who deserve the gold medal but are left with the marigold: Nancy, Janet, Cathy, Tanya, Elana, Kelly, Susan, Ann Marie, Lisa L., Lisa F., and Annette. And here's to the sheriff: Mrs. S. who has brought to the job, not only a talent for education but the mothering skills needed to nurture.
Happy Mother's Day. It's not only the kids you are raising that are the lucky ones. It's the village you are watching over.