This is a great article / personal story from youth worker Jonathan McKee, concerning bullying and how to start implementing effective prevention. Here’s a snippet:
One kid can make a difference.
When I was in high school, that one kid was Matt. Matt wasn’t the most popular kid on campus, but he decided that he was going to care for others no matter what others said. I’ll never forget looking across campus one day and seeing Matt rolling a kid in a wheelchair to his class. Other kids were looking at Matt like, What are you doing that for, extra credit? But Matt didn’t care. When he saw someone in need, Matt acted.
Matt was in weights class with many of the football players, bench pressing and squatting enormous poundage and getting high fives of congratulations. But at lunchtime, Matt would sit with a group of outcasts. Matt broke the unspoken lines of separation. He didn’t prejudice in any way.
One kid made a decision to treat everyone the same.
Did Matt change an entire campus? No. But he made a world of difference to the handful of lives that he touched every day. I’ll never forget that. Can you imagine what that campus would have looked like with even two “Matts”? Three?
This weekend I’m speaking to 400 kids at a winter camp back east. I’m urging them, “You can make a difference!”
Sure, adults can stop some bullying—when they see it happening—but nowhere near completely. It’s just too pervasive. But maybe even better, we can encourage our kids to take action, and equip them to carry it out.