Today, a picture shared by one of my friends inspired this post. While it’s a very cute picture in and of itself, I think it says alot about what our response should be to bullying we observe or hear about.
Certainly we “get” that the stronger dog in this picture is standing guard over the smaller “kid” (as in goat, in this case). But let me tell you what deeper meaning I take from this as well. Notice how “different” these two are. They are completely different species, one is “dark” and the other “light.” (Yes, I think we can take race and culture in this meaning as well…) Yes, one is “stronger” — the dog is clearly the more mature and powerful of the two and it’s natural to think of us protecting the young or disadvantaged.
But a lesson I hope we take from this is that while we may be “different” from someone else, we are more alike than unalike. We all have the same basic needs, wants and dreams. We want peace, we want to be loved, we want to matter. We want security, we want to belong.
And, we want someone to stand up for US if we were being harassed, teased, or bullied, right? If we felt in danger or frightened, we’d want someone to help US, even if “they” weren’t from our neighborhood, class or culture.
The importance of intervening in bullying cannot be minimized. According to research on the effectiveness of peer intervention on bullying in schools, when peers intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds, 57% of the time. Ten seconds. That’s virtually instantaneous. What this says is that we have the power to stop a bullying incident almost immediately, if only we were to step in to help.
It’s statistics and case studies like these that I’ll be sharing with attendees in ten days at the Iowa Library Association’s Annual Conference. I’m doing both a pre-conference workshop on cyberbullying and traditional bullying as well as offering the “7 Steps to Eliminate Bullying in Schools” presentation on the first day of the official conference. If you’re in the area, stop by. It takes more than just a village to cure bullying — we need every village, every community to stop and say “Show me where the bullies are.” And, the follow on is, “I’ll be there beside you to help.” If everyone took that attitude, we’d see a rapid end to bullying because it can’t continue in the face of positive support. Stand together to take a stand against bullying!
Can’t attend the conference or can’t wait for the next webinar? You can order “7 Steps to Eliminate Bullying in Schools” as an on-demand webinar. Click here to watch it on your schedule!