Bullying: A Big Complicated Problem with Many Simple Solutions

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For the Bullied and Beautiful: Shane Koyczan

I was just in Huntsville, Alabama.  School started there on Monday.  It always surprises me because living on the east coast, Labor Day weekend is cherished as the last weekend of freedom.  August seems too unnatural to put on shoes and wrap your head around homework.

For some kids, it's really exciting to see friends and get back in the groove.  For others, it's time to put up invisible shields and figure out how you'll get through every day without a breakdown.

Shane's illustrated poem has been seen by hundreds of thousands but to watch him deliver it himself on a TED Talks stage is so powerful.  He speaks for so many kids today who don't have the ability to put it into words.

We are surrounded by many Shanes but, unlike Shane,  they can't express how they feel.   Can we listen anyway?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Worst Kind of Bullying

Child abuse is the worst form of bullying.

Each one of us has the power to be the Go-To Adult.  To me, the biggest concern is kids suffering in silence.  How do we get them to talk to a "trusted adult."  We become worthy of their trust.

If kids know we care and they won't be criticized, they will be more likely to talk with us.  There are many reasons kids don't tell an adult about a problem.  One of them is shame.  Another is fear that they won't be understood.

People, including children, are vulnerable and don't want to risk feeling worse than they already feel.  Our culture is becoming a judgmental one.  Just look at our television programs.   We've gotten to the point that everything is a competition (cupcakes aren't even safe) and we're always ready to put someone down.  It's becoming common to pick people apart.

The bottom line is that kids need to feel safe and we're responsible for creating a culture that nurtures their safety.

To change a culture, we need to start young and it begins with teaching leadership.  In order to do that, we have to start valuing leadership ourselves.

If we don't, kids will not have a safe place and no child deserves to suffer or feel alone.