Taking a Stand Megan Jensen experienced workplace bullying firsthand. “It consumed me at work and at home,” she explains. Now a manager of a medical group, Megan encourages people to stand up to bullying by speaking to the aggressor. She suggests starting with, “I feel like I’ve done something to upset you.” Sometimes people aren’t aware of their behavior and how it’s affecting others. If the bullying continues after a candid conversation, she recommends taking the matter to HR. As adults, if we can’t stand up for ourselves or those around us who are being bullied, how can we expect our children to do the same? Coughlin passes on a message of strength to his children, “We have told them that they have the freedom to defend themselves from any form of harm. What they don’t have the freedom to do is to take another person’s dignity away in the process. It takes time, practice and guidance. No one gets it right all the time, that’s for sure.”
Courage Over Confidence We’ve been so focused on raising confident children, haven’t we? Consider Oprah’s “You get a car! And YOU GET A CAR!” We are similarly teaching our children, “You get a trophy! And YOU GET A TROPHY!” It seems in order to be confident, everyone must be a winner. But with all of this focus on confidence, studies show that children are becoming less confident and in turn less courageous. When it comes to kindness, courage is key. Coughlin says, “Courage is doing the right thing even when you’re afraid. It’s taking action even when you don’t feel very strong.” And he isn’t shy about sharing moments in his life when he channels his inner courage. “On our way to a soccer party where I was the coach, I told my children, ‘I’m going to walk into the room and know not everyone is happy about how I coached the season. But I’m going to walk in with the courage to be kind to everyone despite their liking me or not.’”
When passing on a legacy of gracious living, it’s the adults who set the stage. Our interpersonal conversations or the ones we carry on behind people’s backs are the lessons in life our children pick up from us. Let’s commit ourselves to not only telling our children how to be kind, but to teaching them through our actions.
For more information on the seriousness of bullying, identifying the signs and equipping children with the proper skills to overcome it, please visit www.theprotectors.org. 152