Sunday, October 31, 2010

An October, Like No Other!

Today is Halloween, October 31st, the last day of the month and it will end like many others ... with candy, costumes, and many scary masks.

While similar to many other Halloweens of years gone by, this October is like no other in our lifetime. This October has five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays. The last time this occurred was 823 years ago.

While some may think that this odd occurence on the calendar will bring them good fortune, I am wondering what I will post... What has this October brought to our attention, like never before?

Cyber-bullying springs to mind as it has dominated the news throughout October. People everywhere talk about its consequences and it is clear that the bullying of 2010 is worse than a punch in the nose or snide comments I remember receiving as a youngster.

In fact, bullying this year has led to a rash of suicides and deep emotional scars, making us all wonder what can be done to turn this horror into a beneficial lesson for us all.

On this note, I turn to the Horrors of Halloween.  The world can be a scary place, especially when it is faced alone.
  • Did you know that Halloween brings terror to many young children and teens who do not fear scary monsters, squeaking doorways, or haunted houses but instead fear being left out, more than anything else?
  •  Did you know that many young people will be rejected by their peers, left behind, and have their candies taken by neighborhood bullies?
  •  Did you know that young adults often act out like monsters not to scare you, not to ruin your day, but in an attempt to be noticed?
  •  Did you know that many parents will lay awake tonight and wonder what they can possibly do to make Monday, Tuesday and all the days to follow better for their children who are less than self confident, who are not in the mainstream and often bear the brunt of insensitive remarks.
According to Dr. Cornel West, University Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University, "We have witnessed the breakdown of the social systems that nurture our children. Our rootless children… have no cultural armor to protect them while negotiating the terrors and traumas of daily life."
Dr. West tells us that young people need:
  • Families who will stand up for them;
  • A community of support to sustain them; and
  • Hope that things can be different.
So what is the answer to indifference, exclusion, and to bullying behavior?  Let me share with you responses that I have seen to bullying behavior.  I want you to know that people everywhere are confronting this issue head on and I want you to envision a brighter tomorrow.

Imagine young people being supported by a community of family members who compassionately believe in them in the most trying circumstances.  Imagine a mother acknowleging her child's weaknesses and then reaching out to other parents and asking for suggestions that can help her to help her child in finding friends.  Imagine many other mothers and fathers being sensitive and responsive to this mother's pain and sharing lessons they have learned that have fostered confidence and friendships in their childrens lives.

Imagine a church pastor who has chosen to stand up to bullying and has invited his entire congregation and the surrounding parishes to a special community seminar featuring Jodee Blanco, a nationally known anti-bullying activist and author of New York Times best selling memoir Please Stop Laughing at Me... and the newly released sequel Please Stop Laughing at Us...One Survivor's Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying.

Imagine teachers and parents working together to strengthen the victim by training targeted children to act more assertively.  Look more closely, as you see students in conflict invited to work with a trained teacher or peer-mediator to find a mutually acceptable way of resolving a dispute that may underlie the bullying behavior.

Imagine another author, Sam Horn, who saw this behavior as intolerable, years before it became national news and wrote, Take the Bully by the Horns.  Imagine reading Sam's book and sharing the contents with your family, your children and your friends and living your life with a new found confidence.

Imagine finding an author who speaks to your soul and explains serendestiny.  Watch Sam's video on serendestiny to help you honor your hunches and move your life forward.

The answer to bullying, the answer to exclusion, and the answer to complacency, can be found in activities outlined above where real people... parents, teachers, pastors, the young, the old and those somewhere in-between have come together to form relationships, foster courage and creativity.

Together, working with courage and creativity:
  • we can create relationships,
  • we can give our children a community of support,
  • we can stand up to indifference, roar for compassion and rail against exclusion.
Here's to courage. May all the Mom's In Transition out there, roar out loud! According to Dr. Cornell West, courage is contagious. Listen to his words and be empowered to toss off complacency and don your courageous attire. It's Halloween!

Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important public intellectuals, Dr. West gives us much food for thought.

October will soon be over.  What will you do to make November like no other?  What courageous act will you take to move toward a brighter tomorrow?   Please make a comment below and let me know how you intend to take the bully by the horns and believe in a ray of hope!

No comments:

Post a Comment