Whenever I hear about the latest incident, I am in disbelief – young children, teenagers, college students taking their own life due to excessive bullying from their peers.
We know this is a national problem in our communities, our schools, our playgrounds, our families. It’s the talk of the nation. Every school boasts they have a bullying program in place. Yet still the incidents happen. Bullying, to some degree, continues daily to many children, perhaps your own.
I believe children begin to learn the way to treat other people from day one of their lives. It is “caught” more than taught – caught by the manner in which they see us respect or disrespect others, caught by the expectations we have for ourselves, our family, our schools, our friends and them.
I’ve kept a sticky note on my desk for a few months now, having written something I felt was significant on it. I wish I could recall where I read it or heard it. I don’t. But I picked it up again a few days ago and remembered why I saved it.
It said, “There are two questions to teach our children to ask themselves before they engage in behavior. Is it safe? Is it kind?”
If we can raise children to honestly and conscientiously answer those two questions – to weigh their judgment – teasing and bullying could stop.
Think about weaving these two simple questions into the fabric of your family life. They can bestow a measure of individual responsibility and accountability in our children, providing them with a simple tool in which to examine their actions.
Perhaps then the chubby child, the nerdy one, the child wearing the wrong kind of clothes, the child with different skin color, different sexual orientation, the child with special needs, the one who’s too smart, will be given a pass – when other children stop, think, and ask themselves those two simple questions.
“Is it safe? Is it kind?”