I see mindfulness, present moment interaction with the insight of figure/ground understanding, being congruent in speech and action, having compassion and empathy, and acting for the prosperity of all as a set of principles on how to inoculate your child from the infection of being a bully or being debilitated by bullying.
In the previous Power blogs, I wrote about the importance of having a number of different group connections, including spiritual, and physical activities, so that if one group had a style of bullying as part of its foundation then other groups would allow for personal self-confidence and resilience building.
Most of the information that I have presented on this topic is designed to set the foundation to develop the kind of resilient character and personality that allows a person to choose to not take an action like bullying or suicide.
I have also been writing about how adults being more mindful, ourselves, in how we communicate, speak and act towards other groups with which we disagree sets the stage for teaching such to our children.
These two components go together to create an environment where bullying is not tolerated. They are the meta and micro, figure/ground, aspects of how we transfer social aspects of being in the world to our children.
It’s a choice to behave in a way that supports the upleveling of the whole group – not to see life as a limitation of resources so you have to step on others to get to the top of the heap. The latter sets up the in-group/out-group behavior that results in the outsiders resorting to bullying or suicide.
When you have adults speaking in this in-group/out-group way, choosing a group to belittle and malign, you have the makings of a situation where it is acceptable and almost respectable to be a bully.
In this kind of scenario it’s seen as cool – and makes you part of the it crowd. That’s what I think we’re going to find out about the recent bullying/victim tragedy in the Northeast; it was the cool and popular kids that were harassing the young girl who ultimately took her life.
Setting laws to try to punish the perpetrator(s) is a way of dealing with them after the fact. But if you want to extinguish the behavior it can not be condoned – not in the schools but also, and very importantly, not in other high-profile areas like entertainment and politics.
I see this negative behavior in television and movies even those identified as family oriented, and from our politicians on both sides of the aisle. I have heard teachers support this bullying behavior, possibly in reaction to their own sense of powerlessness. Even the cool media too, are using labeling techniques rather than reporting neutral facts.
We are in a difficult social environment where acting properly is NOT seen as good and cool, or something to which one should aspire. Ask an adolescent and they will tell you that it is NOT cool to be a good and supportive person – that’s being a nerd or a sissy or a pushover. It doesn’t leave a lot of space to teach mindfulness to children and adolescents.
The developmental stages of high and mid school age kids are profoundly laden with being cool, which makes it feel like a losing battle when the social environment is working against you.
So, if we want our children to be strong, resilient, thrivers then we need to stand up for them and stand up to those who are pushing their agenda by putting down others or using bullying tactics to get to power.
And we can’t use the same in-group/out-group tactics to stand up for our children either.
Think about the blog on being descriptive rather than labeling. We need to communicate to our children about mindfulness and help them develop their self-confidence and internal sense of empowerment. And we need to be decisive, strong, compassionate, congruent, and mindful in our actions and responses.
It is a lot, but these go together easily when remaining and responding in the present moment, connected to your own self-confidence and faith. Mindfulness is the key.
Think about how you already do model this behavior and teach this way of being in the world.
Look for sources that identify this as cool and something to aspire to develop as best benefiting oneself and society at large.
See you tomorrow.