Last week I spoke at a K–12 school in Northwestern Montana. I was asked to address the issue of bullying.
Is bullying worse today than it was forty to fifty years ago when I attended K–12 school? I don’t know.
But I do know that society and schooling have changed.
Today, we are much more aware of issues such as bullying.
In the olden days, bullying wasn’t much talked about. If teachers or parents saw a blatant case of bullying, they stepped in and put a stop to it – often with a smack to the head. Times have changed. As a society, we don’t discipline in that manner any longer.
As a student of yesteryear, you dealt with a bully the best you could. Sometimes it meant a fight behind the building. I’m sure that still happens today, but it’s certainly not condoned.
The school I spoke at teaches the concept of ‘the line.’ Individual students either operate above the line or below the line. Above–the-line behavior includes self-control and respect for others – especially respect for fellow students.
Below the line is the domain where the bully operates. Bullies don’t care so much about respecting others. Bullies choose to elevate them selves by putting others down. The bullies own lack of self-respect is most likely a root cause of their bullying behavior.
Let’s be clear, the bully is a leader who leads others below-the-line. The bully gains power when others follow. Without a following, the bully loses power.
Talking straight to the students about the bullying issue gives everyone a choice.
Either choose to lead above the line or lead below the line.
Either choose to follow the leaders who operate above the line or follow the bullies who operate below the line.
Sadly, the issue of bullying exists in the workplace – albeit in a less crude and more sophisticated manner. Some people never grow up. Or school bullies grow up to be less crude and more sophisticated workplace bullies.
Are you a force of positivity and productivity?
Or are you a force of negativity and part of the problem? A bully?
Where do you operate? Above or below the line?
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Next Blog Date: March 28, 2013