Recently there's been a nationwide initiative to address bullying in our schools. This is a laudable goal and one that would be difficult to argue against. But shouldn't this national dialog have a deeper context outside of our classrooms and hallways? Arguably it's a noble idea to address good citizenship with our children in the hopes of "nipping" bullying at it's root. Considering a successful initiative our children of today will be tomorrow's adults providing a safe culture of respect nationwide. As you read this, sarcasm aside we're missing something much more important to this national conversation. The battle to end bullying doesn't start with our children, it begins with us.
This past November ended of one the most heated and virulent political campaigns at the state and national level. We were bombarded with an excess of political campaign ads that were based on character assassination rather than policy and practice. These same political leaders endorse a stop to bullying in our schools. It doesn't end there and we know this, but yet the focus to stop insensitivity to our fellow human beings is not only accepted but promoted. A review of today's current reality shows give evidence to this disturbing trend that doesn't seem to have boundaries. The Real Housewives, whether from Atlanta or New Jersey, hurl abuses with a venom that results in ratings and continued series renewals.
Yet we want our teachers, guidance counselors and principals to address bullying (and rightfully so) in our schools. To make lasting inroads to a mutuality of respect and form language that supports the ideas of civility, let's move the conversation away from our children; and shift the discussion to those who broker abuse in order to advance agendas, political gain, or higher ratings.
A good teacher understands the art of "modeling" is one of the most effective tools we have to influence our children. If that rings true, then lets focus on respect and civility in our homes, our schools and public institutions. If it means turning away from "Housewives" and the "Bad Girls Club", so be it. Our children deserve better role models.