I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I’ve been agitating about how I might make a difference in the bullying epidemic in our country. Every year 13 million kids are bullied. That means that at least that many children are bullying, probably more. In my little bucolic valley, in the last 2 years, 5 children have committed suicide because of bullying. What we don’t understand is that it’s not only the bullied who commit suicide, the bullies do as well. They are also severely damaged by their part in the violent play. We need to find a way to make this violence stop.
Too many of us can look back at our past and identify a time or place where we were far less kind than we might have been. We may even have been actively unkind, even threatening. As kids, we might have been confused about how to get out of the cycle. As adults, if we’re willing to examine what we did, we’re ashamed. But shame doesn’t help today’s youngsters.
So I decided that I would make a video and identify myself as a concerned adult, living in Northumberland, PA who was willing to talk to our children and their families, their friends, and even their harassers. I may not be able to help you myself. But I can help you find support. This video is not only a declaration of my willingness to help but also an invitation to you to consider whether or not you might not want to declare yourself a supportive adult.
I know that I am very lucky because I work in a denomination and a congregation where I can step forward. Because I can, I must. Not every clergy can make such a video without jeopardizing her or his job. But there are plenty of us, willing to help who can do this.
I’d like to create a network of folk criss-crossing the country who will step up and volunteer their support to these vulnerable kids. My video is longer than it needs to be. I used a professional videographer. Your video can be a 30-second video that says who you are, what you do and where you’re located. I’d like you to post it to the Sacred Village FaceBook page. When we start building some movement, my web-gang and I will figure out what comes next.
I hope you’ll also tell people about this post. I hope you’ll like the video and send it to friends with the same request. I hope you’ll tell your friends on FB both about the video and the campaign.
You and I are a powerful force — either for inertia or for the good. Help me make a difference. Our kids deserve it. We deserve the kids that will grow up free from such bullying. Can my little video make a difference? Can yours? We won’t know until we try. Won’t you stand with me, open your arms and tell the children how welcome they are to talk to you?
In the meantime, here are some resources to offer to both children and adults who are looking for support. And of course, don’t forget about the new social services resource, 2011.
GLSEN: Gay & Lesbian Educators Network homepage. http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home/index.html
Kaiser Family Foundation, Children Now, Nickelodeon (2001). Talking with kids about tough issues: A national survey of parents and kids. Available from http://www.childrennow.org/index.php/learn/talking_with_kids/
PFLAG: Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays homepage. Available from http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2
Skiba, R. & Fontanini, A. (2000) Bullying Prevention: What works in preventing school violence. Available from: http://www.indiana.edu/~safeschl/
“Stop Bullying Now” (2010). Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Available at http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov
The Trevor Project: Preventing GLBTQ Suicide: www.thetrevorproject.org/