I tend to believe there is a biological and a psychological reason behind our every action.
As a teacher, I often see kids misbehave, get distracted or perform badly in tests, and instead of getting angry and mad at them, I work with them and help them get better, because 9 times out of 10 there is an underlying problem that needs to be fixed. Nothing more, nothing less
Nonetheless, there still is one thing I cannot, under any circumstance, tolerate, and that is bullying.
Standing on someone else’s shoulders, undermining someone’s self-esteem, taking advantage of a weaker person that has no one to be defended by. Whether big or small, physical or verbal, these are all despicable and terrible acts that can have an enormous impact on the person at the receiving end - what sounds like an innocent joke to some, can be a soul-scarring insult to others.
According to data released by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), which is the official data source for the Sustainable Development Goal on education:
“Almost one-third of young teens worldwide have recently experienced bullying. The new data show that bullying affects children everywhere, across all regions and countries of different income levels. They were collected from in-school surveys that track the physical and emotional health of youth. The Global School Health Survey (GSHS) focuses on children aged 13 to 17 years in low-income regions. Similarly, the Health Behavior in School-Age Children (HBSC) targets young people aged 11 to 15 years in 42 countries, primarily in Europe and North America. Bullying refers to violence between peers/students which is characterised as ‘intentional and aggressive behavior occurring repeatedly where there is a real or perceived power imbalance’.”
As you can see, the numbers, statistics and all the mumble jumble on the matter speak clearly and bullying has gotten worse over the years. But actually, it is a tale as old as time: bullying has been around for longer than some of us have been alive, the only difference now, is that people are finally starting to notice.
Some say that, instead of teaching children how to deal with bullies, we should be teaching them not to become bullies in the first place, and I fully agree. There’s just one problem: as with any other evil in this world, eradicating it will take massive amounts of effort and a lot of time, so teaching children how to face the problem in the meantime doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me.
Being in direct contact with the school world and witnessing the effects that bullying can have firsthand, I knew I needed to do something. This is why, pairing my love for children and their well-being with my experience, I wrote a short story that entertains kids while also teaching them how to deal with bullies and how to behave if they are a victim of bullying. Among the many anti-bullying strategies that most schools put in place, in the book I chose to focus on the one I believe to be the most effective to fight off the bullies, while also making the victim feel more protected: Speaking up.
According to statistics, more than half of bullied students do not tell anyone. The reason behind this silence can change from child to child, but it is a common denominator among many victims, who find themselves suffering in silence. Regardless of the reason, it is crucial to teach children (the younger they are, the better) that telling someone and saying what's going on is extremely important: whether it is a friend, a teacher or a relative, talking about it can really make a huge difference. This is exactly what my book, "Cricket Becomes Knight", tries to focus on:
In this story, the helpless little Cricket plays the role of the bullied boy; Lion, an angry and hateful lion, is the bully; the rest of the animals in the story, on the other hand, take on the role of those friends, teachers, or relatives that a bullied victim should turn to and ask help to.
The story begins with Lion who violently confronts Cricket, with the sole purpose of imposing his force against him, scaring and threatening him. After a moment of uncertainty and fear, Cricket makes the right choice and decides to ask for help from others. In this case, the other animals of the animal kingdom.
This tale has a happy ending, but only thanks to the help Cricket received from the other animals, who not only helped him stand up to Lion (his bully), but also helped him teach Lion a lesson and made him understand that bullying is a very despicable thing to do. Apart from teaching children how to behave in the face of bullying, the story also touches upon one of the main causes of it, and how it can and should actually be a further reason to love and appreciate one another: our differences. Remember,
“No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is.”
The book was completely illustrated by some of my own little students, and it is available for purchase on Amazon through the following links:
The book is in ENGLISH LANGUAGE even if Amazon has written Italian version
Hope that you and your children enjoy it, and learn something from it!