Tag Archives: bullying

“You’re either the good guy or the bad guy.”

I recently finished reading Jann Arden’s book, Falling Backwards: A Memoir.  It is one of the most candid stories of growing up that I have ever read.  The stories she shares about her experiences will make you laugh and cry, but mostly they will make you see that she is real and genuine and funny and honest.  Many of the memories that she recalls are painful but after reading them and then reflecting on how she has managed to overcome them, I have even more respect for her than I had before.  One of the reasons I have enjoyed reading this book on my Kindle is that I have the option to highlight and save quotes from the book, sharing them to Facebook or Twitter, if I’d like.

A while back I wrote a post about a great activity for demonstrating the long-term effects of bullying on a child.  One of the great quotes that I read in Jann Arden’s book is the following:

Being silent about bullying is just as bad as being the bully.  You’re either the good guy or the bad guy.  You can’t sit on the fence.  I wish I had known that then, but wisdom is not for the young.  Time doles it out.  That’s the only way to get your hands on it. ~Jann Arden, Falling Backwards: A Memoir

A recent article in The Leader Post explains that a professor at the University of Regina, Rod Dolmage, doesn’t believe that anti-bullying programs work.  His theory is that there is often such a difference between what we teach at school and what happens in a child’s out-of-school experiences in the family unit and in society that what we attempt in our classrooms isn’t consistent and therefore isn’t effective.

It is a problem that needs to be addressed and I think that most schools believe they are doing everything they can to reduce and prevent bullying.  I think we need to continue to work on it.  I think we need to try to reach as many kids as young as we can.  And I hope that we can raise more ‘good guys.’

The Effects of Bullying

As a professional, I have had many opportunities to talk to students, colleagues and parents about the topic of bullying.  A fellow teacher and I implemented and spearheaded the program Bullyproofing your School in our elementary school and did numerous presentations to other schools and other school divisions.  It has always been a topic that has been of concern and interest to me.

I saw this activity posted on a friend’s Facebook page and thought I’d share it.  I do think it demonstrates with simplicity the effects that bullying can have.

A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.

I don’t know who to attribute the original activity to, so if you know, please feel free to let me know by leaving a comment.