Editors Note: This is the latest post from Dr. Nicole Walters on Bullying Awareness Month and how the behavior of adults should be factored into this observation. -M.P.
The month of October is Anti-Bullying month, did you know that? A colleague and I queried, “Is the topic of bullying overused?” “Are we saturating our blogs, airwaves and print with the topic of bullying?” But even as I muse and wax dogmatic thoughts about how we need to keep our children safe, what about keeping each other as adults safe? Have you thought of the role(s) you may play? The words you speak, the way you shut down other’s ideas, crush their dreams, aspirations and spirit? As my grandmother would say, “It’s not always your actions, but it’s your words. Your words have power. And once you say them, you cannot get them back.” So true grandma, so true.
In my Cultural Foundations class, I often query my graduate students; many of them teachers, what can you do to solve some of society’s social ills? Bullying as it relates today, would be considered one of them. The notion that students and even adults are harming others by making them feel less than a person, diminutizing their worth, abusing or using force to coerce and intimidate, in essence, is what bullying is. Historically, if you trace the origin of public education, the community solved larger problems by banding together to stop what was wrong. The whole notion of it takes a village meant, literally, it takes everyone. Not just the parents, or family members, but ALL those who support the children and younger generation in that community.
Well, it’s time to promulgate that ethos; the belief that it takes all of us—pay it forward with what’s right. Disavow wayward, dangerous, rude, and just downright mean and ugly behavior. Am I speaking to myself? Perhaps..Alas; I have found that sometimes I can be stubborn and mean-spirited with my own thoughts, and wanting my own way. But as an educator who has a moral responsibility to model what is fair and right, it’s a constant concomitant effort of trying to be a better person.
I’m going to re-post something that I shared last year that’s apropos with this conjecture; the good in me, the one that believes in the overall good of humanity, clearly believes that many things can be sorted through positive discourse or a simple conversation. Misunderstandings happen, and all relationships will be tested. Model this to our children. Model this to our friends and loved ones. Model this within ourselves. Spiritually, we should all endeavor to live a good life, one that is sensitive to the needs of others, being of service, and uplifting our fellow man. So, I speak to myself just as I speak to all of you. For it’s the journey, not always the destination, that counts.
And let’s take back our village from the bullies.