One of the things that was really moving about this workshop was the opportunity to see things through other peoples eyes. My kids. The issues and topics we discussed was relatable to every single person in the room. Whether it be direct or indirect, every person had a strong connection to the topics that came up.
Communication and education is obviously something that needs to happen to improve situations. But the first step in getting this problem lessened is AWARENESS. How many parents are aware that their kids are bullies? Victims? Why? Often times we deal with the surface issues and reactions. Counselors have such a heavy workload that they don't have time to counsel every kid to get to the bone of the problem. So, they put a band aid on it and move on to the next problem.
Not only did we learn how to strategize how to handle bullying situations, we learned how to communicate effectively. We learned how to diffuse a situation and how to approach and react to them.
We did an exercise where someone was rattled. Stressed and undergoing some issues. Then three other "actors" gave three different responses to that person. We had to choose which one was the best way to react to their situation. One of the "not so positive" ways to respond was to tell that person to calm down. Not the most empathetic choice of words to use on someone who is frazzled, stressed, or about to have a nervous breakdown. In fact, this just provokes that person to go off the deep end in some cases. The funny part of it is, most people use these words all the time without realizing the effect it has. Awareness...
Although this workshop was driven to help facilitate bullying prevention and workshops with kids, a lot of what we saw and learned are applicable to adults in the workplace. When we started to touch on that topic, it made me think about where I work and how the dynamics are in my surroundings. It was eye opening. A lot of adults do the same exact things kids do without realizing it. Awareness....
I didn't expect to get emotional AT ALL at this workshop. I just wanted to learn something new that I could take with me to implement not only in my own home but to be able to take this out into my community and share with them. Raise awareness of bullying. Help do my part to stop this from continuing. I know we can't save the world. But we can make a difference. One child and one family at a time.
At the end, we did another exercise that was pretty deep. I had no idea this was coming. And quite honestly, I was afraid to open myself up to release this "darkness" that has dimmed my inner light. But, to release that and let it go was empowering. It's funny how by simply saying something out loud, letting it go, and getting it off your shoulders/chest, makes a huge difference in your awareness of yourself. The room was dark and not very many people shared during this exercise. BUT, you could feel it in the room. Every single person was releasing the negativity from within. They didn't have to say one word. But, I know we could all feel it. It was very emotional. Some cried and I have to admit it was at that point that I thought I was going to break and just turn into this busted spigot without kleenex handy. But I managed to keep it together.
By the very end of the workshop, I couldn't hold it in and yes, I cried. It was just so amazing to be sitting in a room of 30+ people with the same goal. The same mission to make a change in this world. Do one small thing to help make our world a better place. Just knowing that all these people are supporting each other was a very overwhelming feeling. I hope more people will be ready and willing to stand up and take back their communities and neighborhoods. Have pride in themselves and their communities to want to make a difference. This world is crumbling every single day. We need to work together to piece it back together so we can bring our sense of community back. I'm so ready to do this and I hope that you are all too!