Marina Anderson - Craig
Essay Topic: In schools, in the workplace, on television, even in our Congress, we see people intimidating, harassing, bullying, and victimizing others. How can you or how would you help to create a culture of tolerance where people cooperate, are respectful and kind to one another, and defend those who are being victimized or discriminated against?
People say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what is a word worth? A thousand truths, a thousand lies, a thousand cries? Can one word completely alter the way a person views themselves? Bullying is prevalent throughout society, and starts when children are at a young age. One of the largest forms of bullying is verbal abuse. It occurs in childhood on the playground, in the classroom, and if the child has siblings bullying may even occur in the home.
The problem is identified, but how can it be brought to an end? Of course kids are going to hear the cliché, “If you’re not going to say anything nice, than don’t say anything at all,” or my personal favorite, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt.” If children based issues on these two phrases what would they learn? The first phrase teaches kids to hold what is really on their mind and how they feel about a situation inside, while the second phrase teaches kids to brush what other kids say off and that it doesn’t matter.
What kids need to hear is positive ways to deal with situations instead of becoming a bully or a victim. The Moose Youth Awareness Program (MYAP) has been doing this for over 20 years now. MYAP is a “speakers bureau” that trains high school students to educate children between the ages of three and nine on various topics that in the future may relate to an issue (Moose). Topics such as drug/alcohol abuse, nutrition, and bullying have are the most popular choices.
The MYAP uses a youth-to-youth method to inform young children. "If you think about it, who is a kid going to listen to? Some old fogie who hasn't played tag or hop-scotch for 40 years, or a teenager who is a rockstar in the eyes of kids?" says Bob Parr, MYAP Kid-Talk trainer (Parr). If a bullying situation were to be observed as mice in a science lab, we would see that nothing in it is positive. First there is the bully, the victim, and in some cases the bystander. The bully is treating the victim in a condescending manner, the victim is getting their feelings hurt through harsh language, and the bystander is doing nothing to stop the situation. "Have you ever heard of the saying, 'Put out fire with water?' They are two opposites, and to get rid of the bad, you just gotta throw a little good in there," says Parr. A strategy that he developed and now teaches in his training is to teach positive approaches to bully prevention. When the whole situation is negative, attacking it with a positive method is more likely to end in a resolved solution.