It’s not hard to be kind

Marisca talks ways to end bullying

I had a tough week last week that caused me to lose sleep. I walked around looking tired and several people told me I looked tired— which is code for looking haggard. I know it comes from a caring place but people know when they look tired, you don’t need to tell them.

If you are concerned about someone looking tired, offer to buy them a coffee instead or make sure they are OK. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors or what personal battles people are facing. The easiest thing to do is just be kind. It doesn’t take much energy to simply be nice to people.

Today is Pink Shirt Day, the perfect day to show some compassion and to spread some kindness. It is a day when people come together to wear pink, (which is my favourite colour) to show they are against bullying. The theme for this year is to lift each other up.

The cool part of this day is that it is celebrated in countries all across the world, but it started in Canada. Two students in Nova Scotia bought and gave out 50 pink shirts after a male ninth grade student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school in 2007. A couple of guys stood up for their classmate and sparked a movement.

According to the official website for Pink Shirt Day, last year alone, people in almost 180 countries shared their support of Pink Shirt Day through social media posts and donations.

READ LAST WEEK’S THE STICKY FILES: To shield or not to shield young children from the news

One out of four kids will be bullied during their adolescence according to The United States Department of Justice. Most of the time it continues after the first incident. Statistics show that 71 per cent of students who are bullied, continue to be bullied, making it a problem with no end.

This breaks my heart. There is no need for bullying. It doesn’t stop in school. Bullying continues to be a problem in the adult world as well. Bullying is also a huge problem in the online world. The RCMP’s website states ‘Cyberbullying affects victims in different ways than traditional bullying. It can follow a victim everywhere 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from school, to the mall and all the way into the comfort of their home – usually safe from traditional forms of bullying.’

Police also say children who bully are 37 per cent more likely than children who do not bully to commit criminal offences as adults. No mama wants that.

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How as parents can we stop this from happening? The most obvious answer is to set a good example. What am I teaching my daughter if she overhears me gossiping with a girlfriend?

Secondly, we need to be there for our children and advocate for them.

The RCMP also suggests documenting the bullying; reporting unwanted text messages to their telephone service provider, or cyberbullying to social media sites or apps; reporting the bullying to school administrators; and reporting criminal offences, such as threats, assaults, harassment and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.

Pink Shirt Day to me means being kind to everyone, all the time. The pink t-shirts are just a good reminder of that.

Let’s set good examples for our children and be good to those around us.


@MariscaDekkema
marisca.bakker@interior-news.com

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