The BIG BIG BIG rule in first grade is to BE BRAVE! I wish I had come up with that idea myself, but I didn't. Thanks to Matt Gomez who is a rockstar Kinder teacher in Tx for the inspiration and giving words to what I have always believed. It is a pure, simple easy rule. Right???
Except for when it is not. October is a month set aside to raise awareness about bullies. It is hard to BE BRAVE when bullies are involved. So, let's look closely at how you can BE BRAVE in this regard.
When you are being bullied you often feel ALONE or scared. Maybe you feel embarrassed that this is happening to you at all. Sometimes, your heart gets hurt really badly, so badly that a band aide can't even be found big enough to heal this hurt. Sometimes, your body might get hurt and the scars inside your heart match the scars others can see on the outside of your body. Sometimes, bullies will come at you with really bad ideas that you feel like you have to cave in just to get the bullies to stop bothering you.
Bullying is a big deal. It will affect you in your life. I can promise this with utmost, and saddest assurance. I wish to goodness gracious that it wouldn't but it will. There is even more sad news. It happens to grown ups too in our work places. Even when you think you are really grown up, you may still have to BE BRAVE and fend off bullies.
Well, here is a little secret. Bullies have hurt hearts. Somewhere, somehow, their hearts got really hurt. So badly that the only way THEY think they can feel better is to hurt everybody else around them too. They might feel out of control in their life and this is one way that they are trying to get some type of control back. Or, maybe when they were really little...maybe even as young as you are in first grade, they learned some really bad behavior. Sometimes bullies just think that they can be really popular if they are really mean.
If you take the time and friends, make the time...to walk in someone else's shoes, you might see WHY they are the way they are. Is that okay? NO bullying is NEVER okay. Not in homes, not at school, not at work, not with friends, not in sports. Still it is good to try to figure out WHY they might be so mean.
So, Here you go! How to BE BRAVE even when it is really, really scary and very, very hard.
1) AVOID them. They are just attention seekers. Try to walk a different way. Try to sit somewhere else. You don't even need to look their way.
2) Put on your bravest face ever! Sometimes, you need a don't mess with me attitude. This is so much easier when you like yourself. If you are already telling yourself things you don't like about yourself, this step might be a bit harder. So, practice liking yourself. Not out of pride, or because "I am so much more super-duper awesome than you"...but because when you like yourself, like your life, like your friends...you are full of hopes, dreams and compassion for others, you will be OUTSTANDING! Feeling pretty good about yourself and your life will get you so much farther anyhow!
3) Always have a fishing buddy. My fishing buddies are great. I have two co-workers at my job a that I can talk to and I know that I have their confidence and they have mine. I have a lot of friends that I "go fishing" with that help me out in other ways too. Find a friend and vow to catch each other, to have each other's back. Looking out for #1 won't get you far. Look out for each other. Bullies HATE teams! :)
4) Tell mom and dad. Tell a teacher. Tell anyone until they LISTEN.
And now comes the TRICKY part of BEING BRAVE.
5) Don't be a bully back. This is hard. You are really going to want to sometimes. But it is just to dangerous. It really isn't worth the risk.
6) This one is hard for me to BE BRAVE... don't show your feelings. This is not the time to get angry, throw a temper tantrum..or even letting the bully know that they got to you. Save that for later. Keep your cool. It is okay to be angry. But being angry sometimes leads you down the wrong path when it is out of control. I know it is hard. Believe me. Here is the good news, when you have a fishing buddy, you will have someone who will listen to you -or a parent, or a teacher talk to them.
So, that is why I am here. I am writing this to you my first grade friends to remind you that I care. That YOU really do MATTER. I might be tiny..but I am a fierce defender and I will stick up for you when you are being bullied. I just wanted you to know.
Here is a beautiful book and song to end with. BE BRAVE!!!