Yesterday, I attended an anti bullying assembly at an elementary school. I feel so fortunate to be able to experience events like these because they reinforce what I wholeheartedly believe to be true. People are inherently good.
While I watched these young boys and girls get up and do skits to teach their peers the difference between telling versus tattling, I saw the pride they held being a part of an opportunity they believe will help others. I recognized this pride, I have it too.
While I listened to these young boys and girls share stories of being the victim of bullying and being the bully themselves, all the emotions they experienced that went with it and what they learned, I heard the courage in their voices to stand up and speak for themselves in an effort to promote change, not only internally, but to those outside of themselves. I recognized this courage, I have it too.
While I blinked the tears out of my eyes as I felt the emotions of confusion in these young boys and girls of why life can feel so complicated, even at the age of 5, I also wondered why sometimes we do and say things that are hurtful and mean and spiteful. And even though, we know and feel its wrong, we do it anyway. And then we learn that hurting others doesn’t feel good, ever, no matter what we say. I recognized this confusion. I have it too.
While I embraced the message of these children and watched them unite in their cause, full of hope in its reach and assured in its value, I held on to the belief of how we all want the same things. To be loved, to love and to help those who are forgetting what that love feels like. I recognized this hope and desire. I have it too.
Those who hurt others are hurting. It feels awful to hurt someone else. Always. (except maybe for the sociopaths, but statistically, their an unimpressive number) When my kids are mean to each other, I ask them how it feels when the words come out of their mouths and afterwards. And always, always, they say it feels bad. Because it does. We don’t always instinctually want to hurt, even when we’re doing it, but sometimes we can’t seem to pick a better behavior quick enough to replace the negative one we chose. And it happens. And we pay the consequences one way or the other…internally or externally….without fail.
When I hear about kids bullying other kids, I immediately feel anger and want to protect those who are bullied. I have a strong desire to want to punish the bully. I want them to feel the pain they created in others. Sometimes this desire is overwhelming. But I choose to practice my skill of thinking before I speak, (most of the time) knowing that pain on top of more pain does not actually create less pain. So, instead I teach. I teach what it feels like to hurt and what it feels like to be hurt. It’s what I am able to do.
And those young boys and girls chose to teach yesterday. They taught what it feels like to hurt and what it feels like to be hurt. They taught that they too, can make a difference. It’s what they are able to do.
And I remembered we are One. We all have the ability to teach. We all know what it feels like to hurt and be hurt. We are both the cause and the solution and we are in this life Together. We learn from Each Other. Them, Me, You. It’s what We are able to do.