I don’t think the answer to bullying and teen suicide is tougher legislation to punish bullies. I have seen many trying to find someone to blame for the issue, or to put the responsibility of fixing it. Some say it is a court and police problem, others say it is a parenting or school board issue. I think it is a society issue. It takes a village to raise a child, especially when there are 5 million other influences that can affect their choices, their self esteem, and whether they reach their potential or not.
Everyone of us should be concerned with the sad emotional state of our youth. The answer isn’t policy or punishment it is each person becoming an Anti-Bully and agent of change.
We need to work at finding solutions. I believe that if we teach character, coping skills and leadership qualities that our youth will be leaders and agents of change, not bullies and victims. I believe all youth want to be leaders, they just need opportunities and confidence and support. They are smart, talented, creative, strong, hard-working individuals who will shine if we just let them.
There are many programs to promote leadership and to talk about Anti-Bullying, but many of them are for a day or an assembly and then the enthusiasm and message quickly fades as the students head out of the gym. Character, coping and leadership skills should be an integral part of what we are teaching our children and youth every day. The best way to teach them is through our example. If we want youth to grow to be kind and serve others we must live our lives with kindness and service as a priority. If we can show the youth struggling that they are not alone, that we have their back, that they have support and are important. That we hear them and care about what is important in their lives.
Some friends and I are approaching school boards and youth agencies in Ontario with the leadership BE ONE program that has been put together with much love, research, and dedication.BE ONE is created to inspire confidence, to help students see each other in a kinder gentler light. To help them see the incredible power that one can have. The incredible power that each one of them have. They choose whether they use that power for good or bad. Our program will give youth the opportunity through out the year to serve others, to learn and demonstrate leadership skills and to showcase their talents and thoughts in a documentary that they will make as part of the BE ONE program.
We want to help youth find the potential that is in them, the confidence to share their talents and hearts and the desire to be agents of change for good in their lives and worlds. An investment of time, energy, encouragement and talents can change worlds and help open up hearts and save lives. Creating a bright and confident future for each person in our Nation.