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?
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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!