Why do things we learned as children stay with us our whole life? It still surprises me that experiences I had as a child are etched into my brain forever.
Can you still name the child in your class who was “a bully”? I can. I remember being scared to walk home from school for fear that we might meet up. Can you still remember a time where you were “the bully”? I can. I remember treating a classmate in a way that was unkind. Can you remember a time when you were the bystander and watched while someone was treated unfairly but did nothing about it? I can- both as a child and an adult.
We carry those experiences and memories into adulthood and into our role as parents, grandparents, and community members. So what example we should set for our children?
Can you still remember another child or adult who was particularly kind to you when you were a child, who took an interest in you, who stuck up for you, who respected you, who made you feel included, and important? Perhaps it was nothing more than a kind word, an encouraging gesture, a smile, or spending time together. It may have been a friend, a teacher, a neighbor, a staff member at the Boys and Girls Club, or someone you barely knew. What you remember is that they were kind and that their kindness made a difference to you.
Imagine how different our world would be if everyone followed one simple principle…. Being kind! Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. This unassuming word has so much impact when intentionally practiced. When kindness is present, it is difficult for bullying behaviors to exist.
It’s really that easy…
You may remember the story of the start of Pink Shirt Day when two Nova Scotia teens took a stand against bullying. They noticed that a new boy was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. In response, David Shepherd and Travis Price went to purchase 50 pink tank tops. They proceeded to distribute a message to their classmates outlining their plan, and the following morning they handed out all 50 pink tank tops to boys at school. According to Mr. Price, when the bullied boy walked into school that morning, his face spoke volumes and “it looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders.” The boy felt supported by his peers and those bullies were never heard from again. That simple act drew awareness to the fact that an act of kindness can make a big difference in people’s lives.
On February 22 please join us in celebrating Pink Shirt Day by thinking about the impact of kindness on children and adults and by doing your part in creating a community where we are kind to one another. It’s through that example that our next generation of kids can learn about the importance of being kind.
- Diane Entwistle, CEO Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs