21.10 20180

Dignity for All…

Most of us are aware of the growing incidence of bullying in schools and the tragic consequences that ensue from letting those behaviors go unchecked. When my children were just starting school, I purchased a book called “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander…” by Barbara Coloroso.  The book addresses the issues of bullying head-on, talking about that it is not just the bullies involvement that allows the situation to fester, but it is an interaction of multiple parties – the bullies who terrorize; the bullied, who are afraid to tell; the bystanders who watch; and the adults who see the incidents as a normal part of childhood.

Where do these types of behaviors come from?  They come from adult behavior that has been witnessed by children. Bullying is not just a topic for schools, but also a topic for work groups and should not be considered a normal part of a work environment.  Experts studying peer harassment have noted that when the dignity and safety of an individual is assaulted, then the dignity and fabric of the group as a whole is diminished.  If we want to have productive and safe work environments, then it is the responsibility of every group member to ensure that dignity is maintained for all.

Leadership means taking a stand others might not follow.  After the Columbine shooting incident, a group of Nashville students wrote this pledge:

“As a part of my community and my school, I WILL:

  • Pledge to be a part of the solution
  • Eliminate taunting from my own behavior
  • Encourage others to do the same
  • Do my part to make my community a safe place by being more sensitive to others
  • Set the example of a caring individual
  • Eliminate profanity toward others from my language
  • Not let my words or actions hurt others…

… And if others won’t become a part of the solution, I WILL.”

I think it was very brave of these students to make this pledge.  I think it would be very brave of each of us as members of society to also make this pledge.  Martin Luther King Jr. stated:  “Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?  Expediency asks the question, is it popular?  But conscience asks the question:  is it right?  And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular – but one must take it because it’s right.”  It is right to set a good example for our children with our own behavior.  It is right to make our society a better place with our actions in all of the groups of which we are a part to ensure that dignity is maintained for all.

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