I hope we all work to prevent bullying on a daily basis, but October’s distinction as National Bullying Prevention Month gives us a neat little platform on which to work with each other.
I’ve already written twice about “Bully,” a documentary I think everyone needs to watch. You’ll see kids who are incessantly terrorized by their peers and adults (parents, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, etc.) who look the other way. Bullies should never hold the power cards – those should be held by kind, caring, open, honest people who aren’t afraid to speak out and put a stop to ugliness.
Alas, I think my own kids are too young to see the negative effects of bullying. Instead of watching movies or shows that focus on those, I choose to engage my almost-three-year-old triplets with positive lessons. We talk about describing differences in a positive manner and talk about what those differences mean. We all have different skin colors, just like we do eyes or hair. Glasses help some people see better. Wheelchairs and braces help people move. We all communicate in different ways, and our voices never sound just alike. All singing voices make music, which makes everyone happy.
Basically, we all have things that are different, and the fact that we’re all different makes us so very similar.
Shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Sesame Street are awesome at talking to young kids about differences in their beloved characters. We memorize the songs for regular singing through our day and remind each other about storylines we’ve watched those shows that we can relate to in the moment. Thinking back to what happened to the characters really helps underline the messages I find myself teaching on the fly. They connect their actions or words with my lesson and the problem/resolve they watched on the show.
It’s scary how much they remember – they can easily recall an episode they watched last week. Though that retention is surprising, it’s also really, really reassuring.
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