This month is Pink Shirt Day in Canada, which is a day that symbolizes acceptance and love for all regardless of shape, size, religion, race, or anything else that tends to label others as different.
This special day came about because David Shepherd and Travis Price decided to take a stand to bullying and remind us all to be accepting and kind to one another regardless of what makes us different!
They witnessed a Grade 9 boy at their school being shoved into lockers, threatened and called names all because he was wearing a pink shirt to school. David and Travis were upset by this and decided that they needed to do something, but what?
These two boys headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. Then they sent out a message to their friends about what had happened and what they had decided to do about it.
The next morning they hauled the tank tops to school and stood in the foyer handing them out. The bullied boy walked into school and the boys said his face spoke volumes; it looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. A simple action that meant the world to someone!
The bullies were never heard from again and these students learned a very valuable lesson that day: they can make a difference and put an end to bullying. All they needed to do was choose to act on those feelings of empathy, take action, and watch their actions change another’s life!
Now schools across Canada are colored pink on February 27th as students wear their own pink shirts to school and talk about the importance of standing up and speaking out for others and of taking action to make schools a safe, caring place to be for all!
I know that many of you live outside of Canada but I don’t think that we need to worry about borders when it comes to love and kindness. I believe that we are all a part of this solution to a very large problem and that together we can change lives. Love is greater than hate and when the ‘golden rule’ is applied our children will begin to create a new habit of kindness, respect and acceptance.
Let’s start to change the tides of bullying first through awareness and education. Then by acknowledging that we can be a part of the solution. Next we must figure out HOW we can help, what we can do. And finally we must just take action and do it!
This month I challenge you to:
- Talk with you kids about bullying and how it affects everyone involved. Be open and listen. Make sure to empathize with them and share stories of children who have been affected by bullying.
- Share the story of these two boys and Pink Shirt Day. Explain to them that these kids didn’t know what they could do but that they wanted to do something. Through their small effort they changed a child’s life and put an end to that bullying.
- Discuss how sometimes we think that we can’t make a difference because we are just one, or the problem is too big, but you can emphasize that you will be making a difference for the one you reach out to and that is well worth the effort.
- Ask your kids if they would like to wear pink on February 27th to show that they are standing up to bullying.
- Talk about other ways they can use the golden rule to overcome bullying. What can they do in their school or even in their home to show more love and kindness?
Together we can make a difference for those 160,000 kids that are too scared to go to school every day! Let’s have this month be less about the cards and chocolates and more about the real actions of love and kindness.
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net