Word Press had what is your favorite word as a prompt a few days ago. I do not have a favorite word, but I do have a least favorite one. Well technically I guess it is a more than one word although they are all related to the same root word and meaning. The words are: tattling, tattle-tale, tattle. I think we should ban them from schools after second grade and replace them with informing, telling or reporting. The reason I say this is because bystanders are so important to the safety of victims of bullying, yet too many do not speak up for fear of being labeled a tattle-tale in addition to fearing the bully.
I think these words and their connotations discourage our children from reporting bullying. Kids do not want to be labeled as a tattle-tale. I suggest instead of using the word tattling, we talk to children about when to tell and when not to tell. Reporting someone who is harming others is sometimes necessary. For instance, if you see a child being beaten by others and no one is coming to the child’s rescue, you definitely need to find an adult to help. You also need to find a way to help when someone is repeatedly ganged up on by other children even if it is not physical.
This goes back to the post I wrote about bystanders which you can read if you missed it:
The Importance of Bystanders | dswalkerauthor.
Informing, telling, or reporting to protect someone has a better connotation than tattling. Although criminals might not like informers, most of the rest of us are grateful for them. This is especially true when they take murders and drug pushers off the street. This is not to imply that bullies are murders or drug pushers, but honestly what they do to the most vulnerable children is almost as bad.
I also still think the schools need to reward the bystander who does speak up with a tangible reward. Let me know what you think. When you were younger would you have been more likely to report someone being mean to another child if you knew you would not be called a tattle-tale, and instead might be rewarded and maybe even be someone’s hero?
Addendum: The video originally included in this post is no longer available. Basically it was a short segment by a group teaching children about reporting versus tattling.
Thankfully, I had parents who taught me to help people in trouble and yet, until my thirties I did not always do this. I have never left anyone wounded or bleeding, but there have been times when I have not stopped if I saw others were already at the scene. I mentioned in a previous blog that I also regret not speaking up to help a friend when someone bullied her on the school bus when I was in high school. It took me a while to really grow up, so I do get how hard it is for bystanders to step-up and help those in need, although I think it is time we worked to change the apathy within ourselves and others.
What I do not get is why in a time when bully prevention programs encourage bystanders to help, a mail carrier has to fight to try to get her job back after helping a young man who was in danger of being mauled by two pit bulls. That is just wrong! See this story: Mail Carrier Tries to Get Job Back After Helping Boy | NBC Philadelphia.
What I do get and love is bystanders who do help and bloggers who post their stories and helpful information. Read this post: Tips for the Bully Bystander « Bullying Stories.
Warning the next link is disturbing, so I understand if you choose to skip it.
This link includes two examples of how callous people are capable of being: The Bystander Effect: Alive and Well, Page 2 of 2 – Associated Content from Yahoo! – associatedcontent.com.
The last two links are information from a teacher’s site about the Holocaust. I am posting them because I really fear for our nation when bystanders do not speak-up and when I see a tolerance of meanness while kindness and acceptance of differences are seemingly MIA in some of our school age children.
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust-Victims.
A Teachers Guide to the Holocaust-Bystanders.
Do you speak-up when you see someone being mistreated? Do you encourage your children to speak-up too?
The Word Press topic of the day is, “What is something you never believed…” I have always been the wall flower preferring to hide by the rock like these orchids. I never wanted the spot light, and I have done everything I could to avoid being noticed. Therefore, I would never have believed I would be trying to get media exposure. Thankfully in 1992 I graduated Magna Cum Laude from a Jesuit university that focused on public speaking along with writing skills, so I knew I was capable of speaking in a public forum. However, it has never been something I felt compelled to do.
The people who chose to bully my child and the parents who did not realize how serious this was forced me to overcome my own desire to stay out of the spot light. They started me on a mission to change the climate of meanness in our schools and in our society. This adult, who might have otherwise only spoken to close friends and family about my views, is now working to get others to listen.
Last night for the first time I found myself on a hour long radio call-in program reminding myself to breathe and working to overcome my nervousness for a cause. This cause is that important to me. I want to get others to understand the importance of helping those on the spectrum, to ensure girls get the correct diagnosis sooner, and to ensure they and others have a safe environment for learning. The show should be available via podcast soon and I will post the link when it is available.
Welcome the Year of the Rabbit!
Hawaii’s population is approximately one third Chinese according to one of the writers for Examiner.com although that number includes those who are of mixed race like my children. Therefore, like many homes in the islands we celebrate Chinese New Year. Three years ago I even learned to make gau, a sticky brown sugar sweet treat made with rice flour to bring sweetness to the new year and help the family to stick together. My mother-in-law makes the jai , a Chinese vegetarian dish for celebration of the new lunar year.
I am grateful for my multicultural family and that we live in Hawaii where children grow up respecting multiple cultures. The Lion belongs to my son. My children used to pretend to perform a lion dance and ask for money from us when they were younger. Traditionally feeding the lion money is supposed to bring one luck and wealth. Now our lion is mostly for decoration although my two still like getting money. Lia see is the custom of giving lucky money in special red envelops to unwed children as a symbol of good luck and wealth. For more about symbolism and Chinese New Year celebrations you may read: Symbolism holds sway for Chinese New Year – Hawaii Features – Staradvertiser.com. And/or Life is Good| Changing Times blog, staradvertiser.com | Honolulu, Hawaii.
May you and yours have a year of harmony, joy, health, and prosperity!