Bullying - it’s all about respect
Curbing bullying by increasing respect for others leads to empathy and compassion.
Respect is an action, not what we say but what we do. This is crucial in the world of youth because they quickly assess an adult’s genuineness and whether their actions are in alignment with what they say. To create safe places of learning and living both youth and adults need to examine what respect means and what it looks like.
Michigan State University Extension educators work with and in community settings through the BeSAFE initiative which includes trainings, workshops and curriculum built on respect individually, within a group and across cultures.
Self-respect: Not just for what we do, but for who we are. When children and teens can see themselves as worthy of respect for their “being” not just their strengths or talents, but also that they are able to risk – to try and fail. Healthy self-respect builds resilience, flexibility to adapt and confidence.
Respect towards others: We begin to see others differently when we see inherit worth. Opinions, experiences and circumstances do not need to divide, but do take intentional listening to understand. We all thrive by building connections and trust with others.
Respecting across differences: Whether it be economic, race, gender, religion, etc. all people deserve respect. Valuing individuality and a person’s right to be themselves can emerge when stereotypes are examined and differences are celebrated. Rich dialogue and broader perspectives emerge by unpacking the messages of media, environments and personal values.
Building respect and addressing issues of bullying is complex, which requires investment from youth and adults through “real” group discussions in ways that are fun, informative and authentic.
Community change will occur over time through intentional efforts with consistent positive messages rooted in respect!