Bullying: A Big Complicated Problem with Many Simple Solutions

If each one of us untangled one string at a time...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tragedy, Teachable Moments and Empathy

I couldn't bring myself to write a post over the weekend.  I was stunned and sickened and saddened at what happened in Aurora, Colorado.  I'm sure you were, too.

Like everyone else, I'm not sure how to process it.

The only thing I can say is that we won't know what provoked this but we do know how we should react to it.  With empathy.  Deep and genuine empathy.

This is the tricky part.  How do we talk about it with our tweens and teens without scaring them but using it as a moment to help them understand that these were real people and that it's not just a news story?

When I begin to worry that our country is becoming immune to other people's pain, I think of Karen Klein, the grandmother who was heartlessly bullied on the bus by middle school students.  When the video went viral recently, so did the sympathy and support.  It was announced today that the vacation fund for the school bus monitor, started by a stranger from Canada, was closed at $700,000.

Bad things happen...and in the case of Colorado, horrific things happen.  In the case of Karen Klein, parents all over the country and even internationally, were using this as a teachable moment.

In the case of the Aurora shootings, it's not an easy fix.  We can't send someone on vacation and make it all better.

But what can we do?

This article by teen expert and psychologist Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D, gives us a little guidance on how to talk to our kids and how to inspire them to reach out.

Empathy is the anti-bully.

(Is your flag at half-mast?  President Obama has asked that we put our flags at half-mast until sunset on July 25th to honor the victims.)

No comments:

Post a Comment