I’ve been told that words shouldn’t matter, but they do.
A simple complement can turn a bad day around. An expression of concern can penetrate a bad mood. A few words of praise and encouragement can inspire someone to set lofty goals.
Unfortunately, negative words are just as powerful and sometimes more so. Insults can shake a person’s confidence. Mean words can make a person feel powerless. Taunts can make a person feel hopeless.
Our actions matter just as much. For instance, excluding someone can make them feel unlovable while including them can make them feel valuable.
We have a tremendous impact on each other. We can make each other better or we can tear each other down. And that’s why bullying is such a wrenching issue for me. More than one-fourth of our society reports having been bullied at some point in their lives. The effects are not just immediate but long lasting with potential repercussions throughout a person’s lifetime.
This month is dedicated to anti-bullying. It’s an issue that deserves attention all year, but at least this one month our attention is focused on fighting for a better way of living for all. It’s something we simply shouldn’t and can’t tolerate.
It’s a complex issue with no easy solutions. There are a multitude of reasons why bullying occurs and therefore no simple ways to stop it.
Stopping it, however, does start with making us aware of the problem and the role we could play in making a difference. We need to recognize and address it in our schools, our work places and in society generally. We have to say collectively that it’s not okay. And, we need to offer a better, more compassionate way of being.
National Bullying Prevention Month was started ten years ago by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Their initiative has helped change our thinking so that bullying “is no longer considered a childhood rite of passage.”
We support this vision at Choose To Be Nice. We believe that everyone should be valued and treated with respect. We want to improve the way people to treat one another by reminding them that they have a choice about how to “be” in the world. And, we want to encourage them to choose the positive words and actions that will build up others rather than tear them down.
We encourage you to stand against bullying when you can, not just during this month but all year round. Intervene when you see it happening. Let students and adults know that they deserve better. Help them find ways to counter the negative behaviors and replace them with better options.
We do have a choice so let’s choose to make our world better, nicer, more respectful and more compassionate for everyone. As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, ideas, inspiration or to just say hello!