I think about my childhood bullies sometimes. And because I (like most of you) am naturally curious, I accepted all of their Facebook friend requests. Becoming reacquainted with them forces me to wonder about what happens when bullies become teachers.
It's called the bully mentality that we have mentioned before. Bullies are those who want to dominate others without regard to reason or even common sense. And they appear periodically when prevailing cultures or societies lack strong leadership--positive leadership, that is.
In 2015, on the cusp of our presidential election year, courage can take us to being above party politics, putting employee good above profit to shareholders, demonstrating caring and responsibility to our neighbors, being true to our word, valuing life, and exhibiting love.
Not long ago, one quote jumped out at me, "I just wish the administration would at least acknowledge our existence." That student's statement reminded me that transgender students are still "separate but equal" at universities across the nation.
When I walk though the halls, I look at my phone. I scroll though Facebook, I text my parents, I watch TED talks. I get to class; I sit down, look at my watch. I tell myself that there are only X amount of hours left in the day and that I'll be safe soon.
I believe with utter confidence that, in the majority of circumstances, a kid that feels good emotionally will behave well. I've used this idea as a compass with my children, taking note of the direction of their moods and actions; when I feel out of control as a mother, my children act like they're living without the comfort of sturdy boundaries -- because, in those moments, they are
I see you at 17 -- feathered hair, parachute pants, asymmetrical smile. You have just graduated from high school. Despite your outward ebullience, I see that, beneath the jocular façade, you are so very sad. Of this you are (mostly) unaware.
The cause behind this lack of change is the reality that too many people are talking about bullying, but not enough are doing anything about it.
Whether at school or in public spaces, many LGBT youth don't feel safe and continue to face disgraceful levels of discrimination (and some don't feel safe at home, either). But when they enter the workforce, disadvantages persist.
The Dignity Act is a different kind of anti-bullying law.
Sadly, what begins as one person's inner turmoil can ultimately affect many. As the old expression goes, "The boss yells at the man, and the man goes home and yells at his wife, the wife yells at the kid, and the kid kicks the dog." Until someone breaks the cycle, the hurt keeps getting passed on.
Anyone who is truthful about their childhood remembers that they were either the victims of violence themselves or they had been unwilling witnesses to a bullying incident. The fact is, bullying has been an unfortunate fact of life for too many generations of children.
Bullying a bully with zero-tolerance doesn't work. We're systematically applying the same treatment of exclusion that created the bully in the first place, and then expecting it to help. Rewiring these systems can only come through the slow process of building bonds and relationships.
Jaylen Arnold is the founder of Jaylens Challenge Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting awareness and prevention of bullying through education and community service.
In a starred review, Kirkus Review writes: "Lucy's perfectly feisty narration, the emotionally resonant situations and the importance of the topic all elevate this effort well above the pack." I spoke with Beth Vrabel about "Pack of Dorks."
In the midst of all life's uncertainties, we must create space that allows our youth -- especially LGBT youth -- to thrive so that they are able to reach their full potential.