I think we can all agree that bullying has got to stop. Josh, a high school student, was bullied after his father died. His story is heartbreaking. Kids at his school would rip down the pictures of his dad he kept in his locker and make fun of him. He sat alone in the lunchroom and unsurprisingly became depressed. His mom made the decision to put him in a new, larger school. Josh was hoping for a fresh start; he took matters into his own hands and changed the way the whole school treated him and how he viewed himself.
You’ll see in this video that Josh did one simple thing — holding the door open for people — and it changed his life. At first people thought it was a little weird, but something amazing happened. People started to like it. He was putting himself out there and getting to know people through a simple act of service. The attitude at the school changed. People were more willing to help each other and be thoughtful. Josh went from victim to prom king by changing the way he interacted with the world.
The bullying was never his fault. He didn’t do anything wrong and no one deserves to be bullied. There is a lot of discussion these days (and there should be!) about how to stop bullies. But we can learn a lot from Josh’s example. It’s not always about anti-bully campaigns or punishing bullies. Josh took charge of the only thing within his control — his own behavior. Teaching our kids to serve others rather than focusing inward is a great way to teach them how to be better friends. Can we tame the treacherous terrain of junior high and high school with compassion? I like to think so!
Here are three life skills to teach your kids that will help them make the world (or at least their school lunchroom) a friendlier place.
1. Just say no — to drama!
Encourage your kids to talk about real things and stay away from gossip. If all of their conversations (read: texts) have to do with who likes which guy and who hates which girl and who wore those Doc Marten boots first, they need to take a step back and get some real interests and better topics for discussion. (P.S. I wore those Doc Marten boots first — in 1990.)
2. Treat others how you’d like to be treated.
The Golden Rule is the gold standard for a reason. If everyone treated everyone just the way they like to be treated, this world would be a better place in every way. It has to start somewhere, why not with us and our kids?
3. Include yourself
Don’t wait for an invitation to join a group or plan an activity. Chances are good that the people you want to hang with are insecure and nervous just like you. Someone has to make the first move. Fear of rejection can be paralyzing, but put yourself out there and see how it goes.
These are simple steps to creating deeper, lasting friendships and to make the difficult adolescent years a little easier to take. For the record, I’m still working on this stuff. I wish I had seen this video back when I was in high school to get some better perspective. You bet I’ll be showing this to my kids tonight so that they can see the power of their own actions.
Image and video courtesy of YoutubeMore On