Susan Engel and Marlene Sandstrom write about how schools can create an effective anti-bullying program.
I'm skeptical that schools can really teach kindness and stop bullying. Jonah's school sent the kids to daylong classes about bullying at the local community college last year. He came home with some cheesy handouts and slogans. I'm sure that the mean kids memorized the slogans like every other kid in the class, but never registered that their behavior needed work.
Kindness really needs to be taught at home from an early age. Sharing toys and talking to the weird kids is just as important as memorizing spelling words and going to Little League. But it's hard work, wrenching a fire truck from a toddlers hand and giving it to a friend. It's hard work telling your kid that they don't have to be best friends with the weird kid, but they do have to be courteous. And mean kids generally have mean parents.
We've put a lot of work into teaching our kids to be kind, but sometimes I worry that we've gone too far. Being nice hasn't helped my friends in the workplace. The mean ones somehow rise to the top of their professions. Karma never seems to kick into gear like one hopes. Well, we've circled our wagons and are keeping the mean ones at bay, because that's important to me.