Kill Them With Kindness

I recently did a school talk to a group of 4th graders in honor of October being National Anti-Bully Awareness month. I have taught hundreds of children over the years and it never ceases to amaze me how the kids think I am there to show them how to fight a bully.

But, in fact, it’s the total opposite.

I say, “Kill them with kindness”!

Let me explain.

Most school districts have a very rigid policy about fighting.  So even if you are being physically bullied, there is a good chance you will be suspended if you fight back.

So what’s the answer?

My presentation has 4 core themes:

1.  Bullies pick on kids who they perceive as being weak.  So change the way you stand, sit and walk.  When approached by a bully, don’t be afraid to put your hands out and challenge them to stop.

2.  Learn how to use the power of your voice.  With your hands up, speaking softly won’t deter the bully.  You need to be loud, clear and confident in your voice.  “Stop and leave me alone”.

3. Be an “Upstander”.  If you see someone being bullied, say something to the bully, or at least find an adult who can help you.  The only way we will end bullying, is if we all get involved.  I also make sure to make the distinction between “telling” on someone versus “tattling” on someone.

4.  Lastly, “kill them with kindness”.  Over the years I have come to learn if we treat everyone with kindness and respect in the classroom, most bullying problems go away.  And if kindness doesn’t work with the bully, surely it will work with your friends who will stand up for you and help deter the bully.

My students often hear me say in class that “kindness is the ultimate self defense” and I sincerely believe it.  I have seen it in work in school and I recognize it’s power as a tool to defeat the bully.