BARRY’S BAY – Today is Pink Shirt Day. This day originated in 2007 from an act of kindness. So the story goes… a boy who wore a pink shirt to school one day, was teased. The next day, all the boys in the school wore pink shirts in support. And so was born a movement that each February brings attention to the all-too common occurrence of school bullying.
Bullying is a fact of life, and it is especially common among children who do not reflect on the consequences of their actions.
One of the most common venues for bullying today is the internet, of course. The internet has made it almost impossible to get out of the reach of bullies. And while bullying will never be stopped altogether, getting the word out about its harmful effects is the best step we can take toward limiting its impact and to help victims.
We all need to think about how our words and actions affect others. Pink Shirt Day, February 24, is a great occasion for bringing attention to it. The pinkshirtday.ca website says that one in five people are bullied. I would say that it is more like one in one.
It’s not always easy for parents to know how to advise their own children on being a part of the solution. There’s a fine line between teaching a child to stand up for him- or herself, on the one hand, and being a bully, on the other, between friendly teasing and bullying, between sharing a joke and embarrassing someone… A good beginning, of course, is to talk about the issues.
We all need to figure out better ways to resolve our conflicts, to express our frustrations, and to be a friend.
It takes real courage to be a part of the solution. It doesn’t end with one day, but one day can help to remind us all that we can make other’s burdens lighter. We don’t get to choose who we are, but we can choose how we act.
Next week we hope to carry pictures of local schools that marked the event.
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