We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict. —U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. Bullying is an issue of solidarity, one of the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. Maybe this is the year that the amount of bullying starts decreasing instead of increasing. It has to start with us.
1. This month, try to stop bullying yourself. Really listen to how you talk to yourself. Take a moment in the morning and simply pray, “Help.” Ask God to help you be peaceful with yourself, to see you how God sees you. At night, take a moment of prayer to reflect on your inner voice. Is the self-bullying decreasing?
If we can start walking the hallways with more positive self talk, I have to believe that the energy of our school will change. If we commit to not having tolerance for bullying in our schools, we have to start where we have the most control, inside our own heads.
In a bullying situation, there is the bully, the bullied and the witnesses. The witnesses far outnumber the bullies. What if this October, your friends decided to band together and commit to saying something when bullying happens. We have the power, as innocent bystanders, to stop bullying. There are many ways to defuse bullying situations. We can change the subject, we can use an excuse to get the bully out of the situation, or we can confront the bully head on and say, “No.” It is intimidating at first, but with friends and with practice, it gets easier. It is also important that we get professionals involved, as there can be retaliation.
2. This month, try to make a Solidarity agreement with a few of your friends. Think of ways you would feel most comfortable interceding in a bully situation. Talk to your friends about how it is going throughout the month.
Most bullying is not happening in the lunchroom or hallways anymore. More and more bullying is happening on social media. It is easy to bully people over the Internet because it can be anonymous. It can be cruel, and it has to stop. Ours is the generation to stop it. The world is shrinking, and we are all one family. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used for good and for evil. This October, let’s use social media for good.
3. Let people know on your social media site that October is Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. Post videos that promote Anti-Bullying. Write a genuine compliment on a different person’s Facebook wall every day in the month of October.
For every negative thing that gets said, seven positive things have to be said to undo the negative comment. Isn’t it true? Isn’t it easier to remember the mean things that are said? So it is not enough to stop saying mean things. We have to undo the bullying that is happening. Anti-bulling is an active endeavor. It is not enough to not be a bully. We have to actively be anti-bullies if we want to change our communities and make them safer for all our brothers and sisters. We can do it! Let’s start an Anti-bully revolution in our own minds, in our schools, and on social media! Let’s live out our belief in solidarity. If we don’t start the revolution, who will?
Here is a great video to get us started: