My heart is heavy after reading this story about Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year old child who hung herself.  According to her parents, Ashlynn was relentlessly bullied in school.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/ashlynn-conner-ten-year-o_n_1092683.html?1321290598&icid=maing-grid10|htmlws-main-bb|dl3|sec1_lnk3|112386

 

I always wonder about the bully and what motivates someone to be relentlessly cruel.  I ache for kids like Ashlynn who are hopeless, and see no light at the end of the tunnel.  And I think about all of the other kids in her world who knew about the aggression she was facing. 

Even having written a book on the subject, I don’t pretend to have any simple answers about how to stop bullying.  It’s a complicated problem and intervention has to occur on multiple levels.  That’s jargon for: we’ve got a LOT of work to do!  What I do know, though, is that fostering compassion is one of the most important missing links when it comes to creating a climate in which bullying becomes unacceptable.

In this recent HuffingtonPost article, I wrote about 7 ways that parents and nurturing adults can help kids become more compassionate.  I think it’s a mistake to assume that kids are either compassionate or they’re not.  Big hearts can be nurtured and compassionate kids hold a critically important key in creating cultures where bullying is not tolerated.

Whenever I talk with groups of kids about bullying, I share this mantra: It is never OK to do nothing about bullying. I have kids repeat the phrase.  I encourage them to shout it.  Sometimes, we see if the whole building can hear us!  I want kids to remember this truism.

Today, after reading Ashlynn’s story, another set of words–this time from Albert Einstein–are echoing in my head:

“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”    
 
  

Be Sociable, Share!