With the tragic death of Amanda Todd this past year as a result of bullying in our society, we are faced (once again) with the reality of this frustrating presence within our culture.
The presence of bullying in our society does not reflect the culture of respect that our previous generations worked so hard to build. Where is the process breaking down?
In my opinion, pride needs to become a stronger presence within the environment we build around our young people. We need to focus on building the pride that allows young people to identify with “doing the right thing.”
Bullying is not the “right thing” and the people doing the bullying know it. What is missing is the self-pride and conscience that will stop them from doing it, as well as the pride that allows others to speak up to stop them.
Our education system needs to have the personal growth of our young people first in mind. One step towards this goal could be to build “team-oriented” or “group activity” based programs into our current curriculums as required courses.
Giving these types of programs a greater presence within our education structure (starting in kindergarten) has the potential to allow young people to value each other. From this they will begin to respect that they need to build each other up rather than step on each other in order to have success in their lives.
Wanting to make the people around you stronger and gaining respect from your peers for doing so should be the message received. The immediate reward would be a feeling of self-pride and self-confidence from receiving this respect from their adolescent peers. The hope is this would also lead to greater rewards in their futures as they continue to be respected in their adult endeavors.
Respect breeds respect and we must teach our young people to give respect in order to receive respect. Bullies respect no-one and are respected by no-one. Most critically they do not respect themselves which feeds this behavior. We must work hard to give our young people a reason to respect themselves.
The “me-first” era seems to have de-evolved into the “me-only” era and as a result we are watching bullying happen. We need to make sure we are a part of the solution — not a silent contributor to this problem.