The last two weeks we’ve talked about ways to deal with (and hopefully eradicate) bullying. First, we talked about IDENTIFYING the root problem. Next, we talked about ADDRESSING the heart issue.
This week, we’re talking about EMPOWERING students to be the solution.
One of our readers—an Idaho teacher using our What I Wish I Knew at 18 curriculum—responded to our bullying blogs with the following: “When students buy into the (idea) that everyone is unique and special, they won’t allow others to intimidate their peers. You will hear in (our) halls, ‘We don’t do this at our school.’ … Our school isn’t perfect but the students take an active role in the process.”
Way to go! That’s exactly our next point: Mainstreaming integrity, compassion, and respect (i.e., making them a vital component of school culture) is a key way to counteract bullying!
Bullies prefer physical isolation to perpetrate their unkind acts to avoid getting caught by authorities or loyal classmates. That’s why the best solutions bring bullying “into the light.” Schools that make addressing the bullying issue PART OF THEIR SCHOOL CULTURE experience a quicker turn-around than those who simply address the issue on a one-off basis, behind closed doors.
When it comes to bullying, positive peer pressure is the best solution of all! That’s because a strong school culture fosters a healthy learning environment for all in a preventive, rather than reactive, manner.
In What I Wish I Knew at 18, I share about the character qualities and social values that empower young people to treat others with dignity, avoid destructive relationships, and be catalysts for change in their schools and communities. Some of these tips include:
- Discovering your purpose and inspiration (building self worth)
- Directing your life toward others
- Demonstrating your capacity to love
- Regularly showing appreciation and gratitude toward others
- Being an encourager rather than a critic and always looking for the best in people
- Being proactively nice
- Cultivating a servant’s heart
- Preserving your reputation and integrity at all costs
- Taking responsibility for your mistakes and shortfalls
- Choosing humility over self pride
- Not saying something about someone you’d regret if they heard
- Being on role model behavior around younger people
- Connecting with others who share your interests and values
- Steering clear of destructive people (understanding that some people aren’t meant to be your friend)
- Knowing that how you say it can matter more than what you say
- Talking it out, rather than writing it out
- Striving to be an agreeable “disagreer”
- Choosing reconciliation over grudges wherever possible
These are important values we ALL need to cultivate in our lives, no matter how old we are! And, when we train young people to model them, we offer useful, lifelong tools to create a positive culture in the world around them.
We invite you to explore how our What I Wish I Knew at 18 resources can help your school, organization, and family instill a positive and inspired community culture.
How do you empower the young people in your life to treat others with dignity and steer clear of destructive relationships? (insert link) We hope you’ll pass this link (and the rest of our bullying series) on to a friend or colleague. And then, share a comment below; we’d be glad to hear your reports and suggestions!