It is a new year, fresh with thought of self-improvement and a refreshed vigor toward living differently that we have in the past. Perhaps this is then the best of times to open an old idea with renewed plans to help more than ourselves. Can we pay respect to more than our peers and open our minds to the yet impressionable among us. I have been asked to draw upon some of 2012′s writings and post them again in this forum.
A child’s mind is fertile ground. What will they grow within it? Will they dream thoughts of what they will someday become; will dreams cultivate an idea that will change how we understand science; build a better building or road? Or perhaps they will become a leader of a company or possibly even a nation? Or, what if by our lack of attention children will not dream but spend their time closing their minds to keep out the nightmares of being bullied?
It’s not our fault if children don’t turn out perfect. We are busy and earning a living is tough and consuming so our time is precious. We have so little of it to share. We would be there for them if they would but ask. Yet, often the victims of bullying remain silent. Sad is when we assume the most a bully might take is a day’s lunch money, or stop at a shove to the ground. We rationalize to ourselves being bullied, just a little, can teach children to stand up for themselves and make them stronger for the experience.
But, what a bully takes compared to what they give is rather stark: they take self-esteem, provoke and promote fear, reducing good will and instill thoughts of revenge, or worse, the idea that the victim would do anything to stop the victimization. Anything!
I wonder if listening has ever cost any money. People say talk is cheap and silence golden, but if by our silence we encourage our youth be silent; to keep their problems to their own council and not seek adult guidance, we do them a disservice.
Children need to be taught how to speak out; and maybe we need to be taught how to listen. Close your hand into a fist – the perfect symbol of anger or frustration. No ask, how do we open the fist back into a hand for helping someone up? Count the fingers and thumb and ask yourself five questions as you unclench your fist. Count off the digits with the following points: Can you listen and make someone believe you are really listening; can you empathize and understand how you would feel under identical circumstances; can you ask the right questions with a strategy so they come out in the right way; can you paraphrase so you’re spot on with what you understand; can you get to the bottom line and summarize what you have just heard so you project you are there for them?
In the Verbal Judo program we explain a strategy called L.E.A.P.S.; an acronym that symbolizes the best of how to engage in a conversation and gather information from anyone and on any subject, and then act appropriately. I will break the acronym down in the next few posts, dedicating one to each letter. I encourage your comments and thoughts.