Editorial: Adults need to set the example on bullying

Wednesday is Pink Shirt Day, a day when students and teachers will put on pink shirts to make a pastel statement and take a stance on bullying.

And chances are, once the kids are dropped off into that sea of pink, many parents will go to work or go home and forget all about what colour the kids are wearing and why.

Let’s admit it. Collectively, we adults suck at being exemplars for our children.

The official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt this year carries a pretty simple message. Just two words. BE KIND.

And yet, we aren’t. And if we are, we are patting ourselves on the back about it.

Read any news publication’s comment thread or scroll through Facebook and you will see endless examples of it – particularly on pages designed for people to air their petty grievances about getting coffee instead of tea or too few mushrooms on a mushroom burger.

On Facebook one person’s rant about poor service, often results in dozens of people piling on to chastise them for their point of view, often attacking the person rather than the argument.

And forget trying to have a civil conversation on anything without it getting divided along the left and the right partisan lines. How many TV news stories have you seen that are mostly made up of snarky twitter responses from Joe Public? Media is as to blame as anyone else.

It is easy to hurl digital insults when we don’t know the person or when the other person is in the opposite ideological camp.

But surely that is less an evil than some bully picking on your kid at school.

Think again, folks.

Online or offline, your kids are watching your behaviour.

Browbeating that clerk at the convenience store or the server in a restaurant, pounding one hand on the counter and holding your five-year-old’s hand with the other does not get missed.

We often say that kids need something productive to do instead of hanging out and wandering the streets. That’s pretty rich from an adult population who are more and more obsessed with scrolling through and engaging in the drama and the schadenfreude of social media.

If we parents could get our acts together and start acting like adults, maybe we wouldn’t need this annual donning of the pink as a reminder to, as the t-shirt says – BE KIND.

Editor’s note – parts of this editorial are from a previous MorinvilleNews.com editorial on bullying.

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