As an adult, each of us has the opportunity to set an example. There are many outstanding examples of how adult behavior changed our culture in monumental and substantive ways. In the 1960s, when doctors were still endorsing smoking, the majority of the adult population were smokers. The children of these adults became smokers by imitating their parents and other influential adults around them.
Public service campaigns against smoking and education programs certainly helped turn the tide against smoking, still, adults may have had the strongest impact in the behavior that was modeled for youth. Adults can help reduce bullying by not being a bully themselves.
Adults that refrain from bullying their children or the children of others will set a powerful example for youth to consider. Adults that choose not to bully other adults will also send a strong message to the youth around them.
This summer, the victims of bullying will vacate the school building, right along with their tormentors. The bully and victim relationship won't change just because school is out. The victims will still be vulnerable and bullies will still be pressing their advantage.
As an adult, we all have a chance to set a good example and each of us have the chance to stop bullying when we see it. If one instance of bullying can be stopped, the lives of the victim and the bully may be changed forever.
Some will say that everyone has been picked on at some point and that it is just part of growing up. Bullying is not a normal part of growing up and everyone needs to take this very serious problem seriously. We will always need champions to lead popular movements and their importance can not be overstated.
However, in the end, if all of us or most of us don't decide that bullying is as intolerable as the prevalence of cigarette smoking, reducing the instances of bullying will move slowly. Sadly, the many victims of bullying must continue to carry that heavy weight, and, in some instances, they may break under its weight.
Remember, all kids count.
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