Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
What do you tell a child who asks: “Why is bullying and calling kids names wrong when the president of the United States does it every day?”
That’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? And if anyone points out the obvious, they’re immediately deluged with hate. It would take great courage for you to use this. I haven’t heard a good answer in the three years I’ve asked the question.
Tell that child politicians are imperfect human beings and you can’t change them; however, you may counter them with civility. It’s the same for bullying. Our motto is “End bullying with civility.”
Our definition of civility means displaying the following characteristics, regardless of how the haters behave:
- Be caring – Genuinely treat others as you want to be treated.
- Be considerate – Don’t pre-judge someone solely based on their political beliefs.
- Be courteous – Common manners need to be taught and lived.
- Choose not to stay a victim – Even though you didn’t choose to be one.
The best way to address a bully is to not engage with them, period. Stand tall, look them in their eyes, and say, “Stop bullying me.” Then walk away and don’t engage, no matter what. Otherwise you may become a bully-victim by returning their hate.
The thing that haters dislike is your happiness and peace. Some people are addicted to hate because they think it’ll give them power. It doesn’t, if others stop letting them take it. Look back in our archives and read our column titled, “Your happiness – one thing bullies can’t stand.”
Right and wrong are not conservative, liberal, or independent; hate is hate. Hate produces seriously damaging and painful feelings, thoughts, and lives. Hate is a catalyst of irreversible actions such as suicide. It leads many to self-harm and anger management problems.
Ideally, just like in a corporation, civility starts with “top-down” leadership. If it doesn’t happen, especially in today’s unruly climate, leadership must start from the bottom-up, one by one. Or in a country, person by person, family by family, and community by community.
We all need to:
Recognize – Our own feelings of hate, judgement, and accusatory skepticism. Choose the good in life, instead.
Radiate and don’t Retaliate – Forgive and be grateful that you are a person who cares.Having values like these will help children to choose virtue over hate.
Refuse – Don’t take the hate bait, as we also said in another past column.
You have powerful emotions and hunger for goodness, love, understanding and truth. The answer is to lead children with your example of integrity.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri