by Lynda Freeman
Children typically do not have trouble seeing physically harming others and saying unkind things as unacceptable acts of bullying, but they may not consider having an unkind attitude as an equally unacceptable type of bullying. We need to help them understand it is NEVER acceptable for them to be unkind to others. Consider the following from Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”
God wants us to treat others with humility and gentleness, with patience and love. We need to help our kids… learn to choose the words they use and the attitudes they show with others by this standard. Take a few weeks and jot down some of the things you hear children saying about others and attitudes you’ve noticed – both positive and negative, then – without naming names – read what you’ve heard/observed and ask children if these things show humility, gentleness, patience and love. Ask the children how they would feel if others used these words or attitudes with them and spend time in prayer asking God to help us all be people who choose to say “NO!” to bullying and who say “YES!” to treating others with kindness. Get them to think about how they use their words/attitudes in the following situations –
- When their team has children on it who are not physically strong players and they end up losing . . . what do they say to or about the kids who were not able to help them win?
- When a new child comes to class . . . do they warmly invite the newcomer to join them, or do they point, stare and whisper instead?
- When a child looks and/or dresses differently than they do . . . do they share Jesus’ love or ignore them?
Urge your kids to make the choice to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which they have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
And again, be sure to let children know they can talk to you if they are being bullied.