August 14, 2011
Back to School, Back to Bullying? Break the Cycle at Home
On Sunday afternoon, with kids preparing to start the new school year, and parents like myself feeling the stress of sending our kids out into the madness, my friend Eric posted this update on his Facebook page:
To all my friends who are PARENTS, teach your kids returning to school: If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because he/she doesn’t have many friends or because they are shy or not as pretty or not dressed in the most “in” clothes - PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life!!
Eric’s post inspired an interesting conversation between my son and me. He begins sophomore year next week and no matter how much I love him, or what I think I’ve taught him, peer pressure can erase it all in a second. I am blessed my son has good friends and does well at school. He is surrounded by eclectic and talented kids that include all religions, races, and sexual orientations. Their differences inspire acceptance.
My son was moved by Eric’s post and said sometimes he forgets a kind word, or smile can go a long way. He mentioned times when someone offered them to him and it mattered, so he will be sure to offer it to someone else. Kids are precious. Whether they are yours or not, kids matter. They are fragile and dealing with so much pressure that we must help them. We can teach our own kids to be kind and lend a hand to someone in need.
The weird kid might grow up to cure cancer, the quiet kid might grow up to harm others, the funny kid might grow up to be president, the fat kid might grow up to end famine in Africa. See the best in kids even when they can’t. It’s not just about our kids. As parents we must teach our kids to support each other, and also embrace the kids who need a helping hand. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and some kids are not as blessed.
There but for the grace of God go I. Smile to other parents, listen to what our kids say, and know that silence is not acceptable. If one kid stands up for another it speaks volumes and can change a person’s path in a great way. Children are a blessing. We all love our kids and at the end of the day we are not good parents if we do not extend kindness to all children, and do not teach our kids to not be bullies, or allow bullying. They have the power.
I am not ashamed to say that I could not be happier school is starting. I love my kid, he had a fantastic summer, but I’m done. Summer is expensive, hot, long and not that relaxing, so the start of school is welcome. I wish all the kids a great year at school. To all the parents, we made it through another summer and it will only be a matter of time before we start complaining about the early mornings, and the chore that is carpooling.
If one kid learns something from Eric’s post, and one child is shown kindness, then a miracle has happened. It’s really not that hard to make a difference in a kid’s life. All it requires is a desire, and making a choice. In my opinion it is also an obligation. When you save one life, it is as if you saved the entire world. God bless the kids and God bless us all. Keep the faith.