Today I have K.M. Walton who has graciously speaks up about bullying. She has also been generous enough to donate a signed copy of CRACKED.
Human beings are taught how to hate and belittle, humiliate and crush. But guess what? We are thinking creatures. We know how to learn new things and change our behaviors.
We have that power.
And there is power in human kindness—real and measurable power. Important power. Kindness has the power to lift another human being out of the depths of darkness.
It has the power to save lives.
Let me back up a little bit here and tell you something: before I became an author, I was a teacher. I taught for twelve years – mostly middle school language arts.
I witnessed my share of bullying and every bully had a backstory, a reason they acted like such a turd. Sometimes the bullying was based on anger – just like my character Bull from CRACKED. Sometimes the bully was trying to be cool, to show off or make people laugh. Sometimes the excuse I’d hear was “ I was just kidding”.
But the thing is, bullying isn’t funny. How is it funny to humiliate someone? To embarrass them in front of other people? To break their heart? How is it funny to insult the way someone looks, talks, walks, dresses? Answer: It’s not. It’s traumatic and it leaves scars.
I leave you with a challenge today: pay attention to the invisible people in your lives. It doesn’t matter if you spend your days in an office, your home, or a school. Open your eyes wide and see the guy nobody talks to, the girl who sits alone. Notice them, pay attention – see them.
Here is the “challenge” part: empathize with them. Put yourself in their shoes. Empathetic thinking can literally change your life. Empathy makes it a lot harder to humiliate someone when you understand where they’re coming from. Respect, understanding and kindness grow out of empathetic thinking.
Look at the bullied or the invisible through the lens of empathy. Ask yourself: How would I want to be treated? How would I feel if I were invisible? Or alone? Made to feel less than? Then I want you to do something. Smile at them, hold the door for them, compliment them, notice them. Kindness is contagious.
One of my educational heroes, Linda Reif, says, “We all need to do things, no matter how difficult those things are, because they are the right things to do.”
I couldn’t agree more. So take a stand. Seize the moments. Shake. It. Up. Words can either lift people up or slice them to bits.
How will you use your words? Kindness matters.
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