Thursday, February 21, 2013

End Bullying"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Who came up with that? Almost everyone I know bears the invisible scars of the words of someone from their past, words that lodge themselves deep in the psyche and hurt again and again.

Over the past few months we have been inundated with stories about children being bullied. In the Fall of 2012 it was Amanda Todd of Coquitlam, B.C. who committed suicide after posting a video on you-tube telling her story (Posted below). In my work with people I often hear stories of bullying experiences, sometimes many years old, that have damaged self-esteem and, in some cases, lead to suicide.


Schools and governments have been trying to find ways to eliminate bullying, often by focusing on self-esteem or support groups such as the Gay-straight alliance imposed upon Ontario schools by the Ontario government. The challenge is to start enough support groups for each category of person who is bullied. It can't be done.

The sad truth is that there will always be bullies - people who feel better about themselves by inflicting pain on others. I was smaller in High School and was beaten up by some older kids. Others are picked on because of their weight, clothes, haircut, disability, religion; some of them even by teachers.

While this problem will likely never be eradicated, each of us can begin now to make a difference. I think this is where the journey begins. When I decide that I won't let someone be bullied around me, I make a difference. When we choose to reach out to someone who has been marginalized, we make a difference. When we build inclusive communities where everyone is welcome, and no-one is excluded, we make a difference. When we take our negative experiences, and use them to help others, we make a difference. That's what Shane Koyczan did. Watch his video below and share it. I'm sure it will help a lot of people. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

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