As you are likely aware, every month of the year is designated to bring awareness to a disease, social issue or cause. And, October is no different – in fact, this month is dedicated to numerous issues, including breast cancer and bullying.
While both are clearly vital battles to be fought, there is one enormous difference in them. You see, unlike breast cancer, bullying is 100 percent preventable and curable. Yet, it still continues at epidemic proportions, which is completely unacceptable.
Last year, I shared my story (Let’s Create a Bully-Free Nation) of being bullied as a kid and encouraged everyone to get involved in someway to put an end to it. This year, I am pleading with you to get involved. Part of being a Good Citizen is doing the right thing, which often includes using your voice for those who don’t have their own.
We must have a zero tolerance attitude towards bullying in this country. The time has come for adults to stop making excuses for the wrong behavior of so many young people. It’s time, once and for all, to ditch the idea that “kids will be kids” or that a little peer-to-peer emotional and physical shoving builds character. Bullying is wrong, dangerous and often deadly.
So, what can we do?
- First, if you’re a parent, talk to your kids about bullying.
- Have zero tolerance for it in your household.
- Let them know if they are bullied they can and should come to you, or another adult, for help.
- Teach them that there is no shame in being bullied and that they aren’t alone.
On the flip side, if you find out your kid is a bully, deal with it.
- No making excuses for them or blaming the victim.
- There need to be consequences for the bullies, both at home and in school.
- There also needs to be help for those who choose to bully, as there is always a reason behind their actions.
For those of us who aren’t parents or no longer have young kids, we still have a role in ending this epidemic. And, we need to be proactive. It’s always heartwarming to see a community come together in the wake of a tragedy, but we need to start coming together before there’s a crisis in hopes of preventing it all together. Talk to others in the community and come together to create a safe environment for all kids.
There are so many more things we can all do to help rid our nation of this avoidable issue. The work may not be easy, but it is essential. I encourage you to learn more about how you can help give our kids the safety they deserve. Two great sources for information are Stomp Out Bullying and the National Bullying Prevention Center.
Please, do at least one thing to help put an end to the senseless bullying of our most precious resource – our kids.
Yours in service,