Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bullying

The Bully Project has been getting a lot of press - There are not options for seeing it in Maine yet but it is opening in Boston in April... Perhaps we'll get to bring it to Portland as a P4P event in the future.  In the mean time, the web site has a lot of info - some heartbreaking stories and a clear call to action (see BDN's story on Maine's new anti-bullying law)

Carey also shared the link to NPR's review :  New Film Takes An Intimate Look At School Bullying

And from Facing History and Ourselves :

Out this month! Facing History Releases Official Guide for BULLYGet the Guide
Facing History and Ourselves' official guide to the powerful film, BULLYwas released this week. The facilitator's guide helps students and adults confront the stories in this film and explore the meaning for their schools and communities.Download the guide here.

In the meantime, we are bringing Michael Thompson to Portland on May 2nd! 

Thompson has his own movie about bullying (here) but the emphasis of Best Friends / Worst Enemies is conflict that does not occur in a hostile or hateful way but that is part of normal relationships and development.  Thompson encourages us to give kids some space to recognize their own resilience, solve their own problems (with TLC at home but not hovering) and to allow relationships space to change and grow. 

 Kate and I are currently reading A Crooked Kind Of Perfect and I was reminded of Thompson's idea... the main character, Zoe, breaks up with her best friend.  Her parents are clueless about her social problems but her home is a loving one... over time she makes friends with unlikely characters and although we're only in the middle of the book I suspect it will be a good lesson about how it is ok to suffer bit through hard changes and come out the other side. 

I hope FSP parents will come hear Thompson on May 2nd and then have our own conversations, following up on the inclusion / exclusion discussion because it is in all our interests to reflect on our parenting, our teaching and our kids ability to engage and develop healthy relationships that will cary them into adulthood! 

1 comment:

Leisa Collins said...

This sounds blasphemous, but the discussion about anti-bullying efforts in our country gets me all riled up every time I hear/read about it! The only efforts ever mentioned in this discussion are about treating the symptom (bullying) with laws and school policies that come from the top-down instead of treating the underlying problem (insufficient empathy for others).

I believe that we should focus our efforts (as we seem to do at Friends School) on teaching empathy at every opportunity. Empathic children - and this part is important - whose own needs for love, acknowledgement, and positive role-modeling ARE MET, do not bully others. Many child/human development specialists emphasize the idea that "what you focus on, you get more of", and so the focus - while completely well-meaning - on squelching bullying with rules/laws is time, energy, and good intention in the wrong place.

Does anyone else agree with me on this?
-Leisa