Tuck: "I read this in school today, but I still don't get it. How can you wrinkle a heart? I mean...you can't actually reach into someone and do that. Unless you're a zombie."
Mags: "Or a vampire."
Chris: "Or a Creeper from Minecraft."
The month of October is National Bullying Prevention Month. There are loads of confidence-building strategies for how to deal with a bully. But for me, that saying in the above picture struck a chord. I loved that it was front and center in my son's third grade classroom. It's so very true.
So, when we were asked to talk to our homeroom high school students about bullying this week, I knew just what to do. In high school, you hear all sorts of things. The good, the bad and the ugly. I wanted to do something that would make an impact, but not overwhelm them to the point they started hearing me as the teacher's voice in Charlie Brown.
"Waaa waaa waaaa wa waaaaaa."
I wanted to let them know that words are powerful. In one fell swoop they can build you up or tear you down. So, to demonstrate these actions, I had the students draw a picture of themselves. Mine was a quick, little stick figure. Most of the students followed my lead and kept it simple.
After they finished, I told them to crumple up their paper. Tightly. In a wad. They huffed and puffed about ruining their masterpieces, but eventually they were all doing it. I then instructed them to open up their crumpled paper and try to flatten it out. They each worked hard, some using the edge of a ruler, others using the table. Then it started to click. One by one the light bulbs were shining bright over their heads. An immediate connection was being made. Awesome! One particularly astute student shared,
"I get it, Mrs. B. Thoughtless and cruel words that are spoken often linger for a long while. You can't get them out of your head...like you can't get the wrinkles out of the paper. Think before you speak and choose your words carefully because there's no take backs on words."
Exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself.