Be a Hero - Bullying Series, post #10
(This blog post is the final part of a special series addressing the topic of bullying)
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
It’s that part in the movie when the hero finds a ticking bomb in the subway tunnel. The digital clock informs the audience that he only has minutes to figure out how to defuse the bomb before it explodes. Somehow – some way – the hero manages to reach into his bag, pull out exactly the right tool, and clip the correct wires just before the clock ticks zero. The city and all its inhabitants have been saved!
If only real life worked that way. If only it was that easy to see a situation and know exactly what to do to intervene safely.
Let’s talk about how to handle a situation where you might see a bullying incident about to occur or when someone might need help. In these instances you need to make good choices and use tools available to you, like your words and your brain, so that you can stop a situation, or at least slow things down long enough for others to think.
- Get help. If the situation is more than you can handle, leave and go get help. This might involve stepping to a safe place (maybe a store with a lot of people in it, or another public, well-lit location) and then calling 911 if the situation is an emergency or might be more than you can handle safely.
- Step up and ask. If the situation is one where you can safely do so, step in and calmly ask what is going on. Sometimes all that is needed is time for the victim to think and disengage, and for the aggressor to pause and think.
- Stay calm. Don’t get drawn into the conflict. If others raise their voices at you, keep you voice as normal as possible when replying. If at any time the incident begins to escalate, remove yourself to a safe place and get help.
- Choose your words carefully. Think about what you say before you say it. Also pay attention to your tone of voice. Avoid sounding sarcastic, harsh, or angry.
- Buy some time. At least some of the time, all that is needed is a few moments for both of the involved parties to calm down.
- Keep perspective. You can’t solve every problem or save every person who is being bullied. Do what you safely can do and remember that each person is accountable for his or her own actions. Sometimes you can help and other times it won’t be possible. Don’t feel badly for trying. Your heart motivation and intent to help is what matters most.
Stepping in to try to prevent bullying or an incident of aggression can be tricky. It is important to make sure it is safe to do so. It is important to choose your words carefully in order to avoid escalating the problem. If you approach the situation with humility, people are more likely to pay attention to you. And, if at any time, you feel the situation is getting out of hand, leave and go to a safe place and get help.blog comments powered by Disqus