A big ingredient in creating a safe school environment is EMPATHY; meaning we put ourselves in another person’s position. Students and educators can help address bullying in our schools by having a greater understanding for and appreciation of the struggles we each experience from our own unique perspectives. The leaders in the school cannot encourage others to ask for help if they don’t ask for help when needed. That’s easier to say than it is to do. It was hard for me to learn how to ask for help but once I did, it became (and continues to be) one of the most rewarding skills I’ve ever developed.
Impact VS Intent
I’ve since come to realize that we must be very self aware & conscious of how we interact with the world – sometimes we aren’t actually communicating what we think we are. When trying to examine what type of effect we have on the world, a helpful phrase is “impact, not intent”. Basically, we have to examine what we actually do to the people/situations around us (impact), and not be deluded into believing our intitial purpose is the final reality (intent). This is important especially when we are asking for help. We may think we are articulating our need for help, but that may not necessarily come across clearly. It becomes even more important if we as helpers feel bullied – those are the moments when asking for help is a powerful use of your example and influence!
Tips When Asking For Help
– Be Direct! It is hard to get used to, but being straight forward/blunt when asking for help is a good way to ensure you get it. Also, make sure you’re asking the right person for help!
– Be Specific! Many of us explain a situation & end off by saying ‘can you help me?’ We have to be more selective with our words, and tailor our requests for help
– Be Honest! Tell the person you’re asking the reason WHY you need their help. You can also share the other ways you’ve tried to address your challenge
– Be Grateful! If someone agrees to help you, or even if someone hears you out, express gratitude. It costs us nothing to give away our thanks to those helpers in our lives.
When this series began, I started by talking about opposites. I find it helpful when you identify a challenge, to identify and work towards its’ opposite. That’s where the term anti-bully comes from – I do realize that the term anti-bully is a deficit based phrase, and have been asking folks what they would use to replace it. One such word, is Mentor – someone who sets a good example for their peers. Instead of trying to be the opposite of a bully, you can focus on being a good MENTOR!
In the photo: this is a photo of the floor. As a foundation to being an anti bully, we have to examine our own actions first. It provides a stable environment from which to operate from, meaning I don’t ask others to do something I’m not willing to do myself. The same principle applies when it comes to asking for help ourselves.