I am going to take the liberty to share my feelings about something that has taken up quite a bit of my thinking time lately. You may or may not know that October is Bully Prevention Month. The goal is bring more and more attention to a growing problem in our world today, bullying.
Instead of focusing on the actual topic of bullying or anti-bullying, I want to share what happens when we take a different approach. I will start by asking this question, what if we were more proactive in befriending others than reactive in bullying them?
Take sometime and really ponder this question, let it sink into your mind and heart. When you have done this, come back to finish reading the rest of this post.
We all want acceptance; we all want to know that there are others who care about us. We all need someone to talk too, someone who will listen without judging. In short, we all need a good friend or friends. It is important to understand that if this is what you want, then you need to be a good friend. This means that you will most likely need to be proactive in building relationships with others. This may not be normal or easy but it is necessary. If you sit back and wait, you will most likely be in a more reactive situation. When we are reactive, we tend to find ourselves in situations that are less than pleasant; this can be especially true when it comes to friends. I have to say; I do like that they use the word Bully Prevention rather than Anti-Bully for as it shows a more proactive approach.
I am truly heartbroken every time I hear, see or read about someone being bullied and the impacts that it has on them. On the flip side, I am overpowered with emotions of pride, joy and hope when I hear, see or read about someone who has overcome the torment of bullying. The truth is, bullying is devastating, for everyone involved.
I have been bullied, my siblings have been bullied, my friends have been bullied, there were times in my past where I actually bullied others, to be in with the popular kids. The impacts have painful to say the least. There has been heartbreak, sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration and even revenge. However, what I have come to realize is that the more proactive I have been in establishing friendships, the less bullying situations I have seen. See there is something that that happens when you extend a friendship, it eliminates the need to find fault, make fun of or hurt the other person. You can’t help but feel good as you become a friend to someone or you gain a new friend. Friends don’t let friends bully, or at least they shouldn’t.
I asked at the beginning of this post for you to ponder the question, what if we were more proactive in befriending others than reactive in bullying them? If our youth could really take this question to heart, we could see real change. We would begin to see situations where teenagers are no longer feeling like the only way out is to end their own life or rebel to the point of injuring others. We would see respect become a more dominant characteristic with our youth and adults. We would see situations of people extended their hand in genuine friendship and in turn, we would see a better world. The real challenge here is that talk is cheap. Actions truly do speak louder than words. There is no better time than right now for parents to encourage their teenagers to be more kind and loving towards others. There is no better time for youth to find ways to build friendships rather than judge what she is wearing or how overweight he is. This life is short and if we all cared enough about how others felt, we would then know a better, more productive world.
Since this blog is about leadership and finding the hero within us, I will close by saying that leaders don’t bully. Leaders find ways to be proactive in ensuring others feel included, that they do not feel left out. Leaders don’t find fault in ways that are going to hurt others. Leaders give strength, leaders help others feel empowered, leaders show courage, leaders stand up for others. To put it simply, leaders end up being heroes and heroes end up being leaders. Thus, this world needs more heroes.
I invite you to make it a priority this week to find some new friends. This does not mean you lose your current ones, it means you are adding new friends. I also invite you to become a friend to others. Be courageous and say hi to the new girl in your school or invite that boy that you noticed never talks with anyone to the football game. The rewards that come from you finding your inner hero are too numerous. What is the worst thing that can happen, you become a better person? Sounds like a risk worth taking.
Be A Hero!