We are already three weeks into October and I honestly don't know how it happened so fast. I actually started thinking about when we would put up our Christmas tree this week and that seems like a long way off but it isn't, is it? Can you even believe that we are only six weeks from the holiday season! While October hurries past, I don't want to miss the opportunity to talk about how we can lessen, and hopefully stop bullying for our children and in our schools. My hope is that by sharing this information with you each week, along with the tools I have in BANKCode and my coaching practice, that you are better able to understand your own way of making decisions and communicating, understand your kids (students and your own) code, and hopefully even learn to understand the bully so we can all work together to create safer and stronger schools and workplaces.We started the month of October talking about identifying different types of bullying in school and in the workplace and moved last week to talk about how you can help your child if they are being bullied. This week we are going to completely switch gears; but warning, I might make your head spin. This week I'm going to call on you to dig deep into an idea that will stretch you. I'm going to ask you to consider the bully's motivation. Now before you tell me I'm crazy, it really can be done. I'm not telling you that you will like the bully or agree with them at all, I'm asking you to empathize and THAT is a skill we all need to learn. Are you ready?
Creating Empathy Won't Stop Your Bully.
Yeah, you read that right. You may be wondering how I'm going to talk my way out of this when I just told you I want to lessen or stop bullying together but give me a minute. I want you to use your own empathy and to feel into what I'm about to say. What that means is, I want you to think of a bully you used to know or currently know. As I mentioned before, if you have been bullied, this might hurt a little so be gentle with yourself and realize that it's completely okay to be angry or any other emotion that comes up for you. I'd like you to consider the bully and who he or she is or was being when they bully and forget their behavior for a few minutes. You've likely seen this quote or meme on Facebook or elsewhere.
When we are in the middle of a bullying problem, our first reaction is, and arguably should be, how to make it stop. If you think about the current or past bully I asked you to think of, what came to mind? What do you know about their personal life (if you do know anything)? This challenge for you is to make your second reaction empathizing with the bully. Taking a quick minute to question the bully's motive and better understand their situation may give enough insight for us to start showing them bits of love"One of the problems is, that as a society, we don’t really look at the motives behind bullying. Bullying is a "trickle-down phenomenon, which is most likely learned at home. Many of us know that bullies are insecure. They don’t feel important, loved, or cared for. Bullies seek attention so that they will feel wanted, desired, and appreciated. Unfortunately, they don’t know how to achieve that through normal channels." (Psychology Today)You might see this and think of a time when you've seen your child or another in a complete meltdown. You know the one I'm talking about - screaming, kicking, sweating, crying. A child having a colossal tantrum because they are out of control. They are helpless, we are helpless, and all we want to do is make it stop. I often think of my students atTROYand how hard we have to fight to love some of them when they first come to our school. So many of our kids live in a constant state of fight or flight but the really awesome thing is, once they know they are loved, we've got them! The same is true for toddlers throwing tantrums and for bullies being big jerks. Obviously, I'm not asking you to deal with bullying behavior and hug it out, that would be crazy talk. I am asking you to wonder what is causing them to be the jerk that they are. What do they need? What is lacking or hurting them? I'm aking you to take a step is bold, and honestly, it won't solve your problem in the short term but think about this: if we started really looking through the eyes of empathy before someone resorts to bullying behavior, over time we could lessen and potentially stop a bully. The best news about all of this, eventually no one would get bullied and everyone feels wanted, powerful, and cared for! As teachers and parents, I want to help teach you how to best connect with your students, your children, and your children's friends. One of the ways we can do this is to better understand ourselves by knowing what our personal code is. You cancrack that code right here. Once you know more about what motivates and falls in line with your decisions, you'll be able to recognize how others might be thinking in a different code or values set than yours. This is the first step to creating empathy and, trust me, sometimes it takes a while to really get familiar with yourself! If you struggle tocrack your code, I've been there and I've learned so much about myself in the process.To take this a step further, have your kids and your tough students crack their codes usingthe same linkor purchase your own link through me. When you crack your code, you'll get a free report on the ins and outs of your values and how they drive your decisions. When cracking your family's codes, use your email address and get a report on each of them too. You'll then be able to start speaking the language of their personal values. By knowing what is important to them, you can influence their decisions in a way that resonates with them instead of you - same message, different language. It's so simple and so effective. That is the beauty of what BANKCODE brings to the classroom and to our families. Better understanding. Better influence. Better connection.
In the horrible experience of bullying, over the course of time, if we truly teach all children and adults empathy, and emotional intelligence, we can lessen the experience and frequency of bullying. It won't happen overnight but it CAN happen! Imagine a world where we strive to speak one language and listen to understand rather than speak to be understood. That is the world I want to create and together I believe we can make it happen.