Sandy from Canadian Blog House, one of my favourite Canadian bloggers, posted earlier this week about Pink Shirt Day – which is tomorrow – encouraging people to join in the Shaw Communications campaign and contest and make a #PinkShirtPromise to help end bullying.
I remember how moved I was when I first heard the story that sparked this Canadian movement.
For those unfamiliar with it, you can read about its origins here.
But briefly, in 2007 two high school students in Nova Scotia decided to take a stand against bullying and, in response to seeing one younger male student bullied for wearing pink, they organized a mass wearing of pink shirts the following day in a show of support.
In my time, I’ve been both the bullied and the bystander. I reflected on my experience last year here as part of the #1000Speak for Compassion blogging movement.
In both roles, I remember the feelings of powerlessness. In the former wishing someone would help. In the latter, confused and wishing I knew HOW to help.
So I LOVE a movement that encourages that discussion and works towards those solutions.
As my daughters start school – my eldest is in Grade One and my youngest will start kindergarten next year – I find myself thinking a lot about how I will handle many issues – including bullying – as a parent.
With my eldest, we’ve already had three incidents that fall within that area. Two in the preschool years, so still very much where kids are learning how to interact and behave properly (ie: kids hitting etc…), and a third that was clearly bullying by older kids on the bus.
In all instances, learning how to handle these as a parent was challenging. Not being able to just “fix it” for my child was beyond difficult.
In each of the instances communications – both among the adults – and with my daughter – was key to resolving the issues for everyone involved.
And teaching her how to help resolve it was key.
So that brings me to my #PinkShirtPromise. I know these last three years are only the beginning. So, as a parent:
— Louise Hayes (@Louise_Hayes) February 24, 2016
Because do you know what else those three instances have already taught me? Education about bullying makes a big difference.
The incident on the bus started right at the beginning of junior kindergarten. Two older kids singled my daughter out and were grabbing her legs and pulling her under the seat, tripping her etc…
How did I, a full-time working parent, ever find out?
Two other older kids from her bus stop told their dad. They said the other kids on the bus hadn’t wanted to intervene because they were also scared of these kids.
But they did something about it. They told their dad, who told my daycare provider, who told me, who told the school, who promptly stopped the issue. My daughter has loved taking the bus ever since.
In the world of awesome, I even had the chance to personally thank those kids a few months later when we ran into them at an open swim.
I want to help my kids have the strength to be like those kids and help others. I promise to do my part as a parent to help stop bullying.
Who’s with me?