Thursday, 15 March 2018

Bullying


Yesterday Mrs Trellis told me of an innovative new school initiative to combat bullying.
Instead of discussion groups, witness statements or counselling, the children involved were given a real baby to care for.
At first, I thought that this rather  theatrical intervention was concerning itself more with the act of caring for another living thing rather than anything else but I was only half right as Mrs Trellis explained more.
The important part of this exercise was crying.
The crying of the baby.
For when the baby naturally cried when it was hungry or wet or uncomfortable the children automatically tried to pacify it. They showed natural empathy and concern for the baby and reacted in a positive way to its tears.
It was hoped that this reaction to  the crying baby would be transferred to a positive reaction to the crying of a fellow pupil and according to Mrs Trellis, the experiment worked and levels of bullying decreased.
True or not, the story is an interesting one.

I am reminded here of the reaction of a boy of around six to William when they came face to face outside the school at home time. The boy, after making his usual fuss of the ever avuncular Winnie pointed to William's noticeably odd blind eye asking what was the matter.
I told the boy and his mum that William was blind and to approach him from his good side if he wanted to pet him.
The boy, as young as he was, carefully reached out and rubbed the gentle William on the chin with one hand, and gently covered his bad eye with the other.
" poor little boy" the boy cooed
Empathy is a wonderful thing



47 comments:

  1. Lovely story about William. I didn't realise he was blind in one eye - was it an accident orwas he born like that>

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    1. Cataracts weave ..old age

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  2. What a sweet story.

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  3. Empathy is a beautiful thing to see, give and receive.

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  4. Pets teach children about life. Birth, death, love, care and responsibility to name but a few. My three children were brought up with a family dog, many cats and of course the obligatory rabbits and guinea pigs.

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  5. Sounds like the school is trying to provide a 'family' atmosphere that so many of these children are removed from way too early in life so that their parents may both (out of necessity) work. I hope it helps.

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  7. we certainly need more empathy over here as those in charge of the government have none.

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  8. If only our schools could teach it...REALLY teach it. But alas so few actually have it.

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  9. Empathy is so lacking. I don't know the answer.

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  10. Lovely story about William. I hope this experiment works, I was always told as a child that a bully is really a coward at heart, I can only imagine how horrific it is to suffer bullying. On a lighter note I expect Winnie is avidly awaiting the return of the plumber.

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  11. At the end of his 1947 movie, Monsieur Verdoux, Charlie Chaplin remarks that perhaps we've never allowed good to flourish. I would also add we've never let empathy flourish, without which you have no good.

    (Incidentally, Chaplin is speaking as a condemned wife-killer in that film rather than his usual Little Tramp character, but perhaps that makes the insight even more compelling.)

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    1. That's rather sad for chaplain to say

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  12. I would like to believe that everyone has empathy but I have found a narcissist does not.Feigning concern only & bullying continues x

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  13. Just wonderful words...thank you.

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  14. There is a recent study showing empathy has both learned and genetic components. Regardless, I feel if a child's need for comfort is met at an early stage and they see empathy and compassion demonstrated at home it will shape their own responses.

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    1. It is therefore important to develop what those little ones already have

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  15. That is a very sweet story.

    Empathy is such an important thing, but with people raising their children to be competitive and cutthroat at a young age in sports and academics, compassion and caring may be pushed to the side to be a "winner". This is where society steps in, but it will not be easy.

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  16. Locally we had a similar program, although I think it was a one-off and no longer runs. I agree with Susan that it's vital to have continual demonstration of compassion at home when children are very young (pre-school age) to help ensure their own will develop. And so many do not.

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  17. P. S. I do love the story of William and the little boy. It is wonderful to see empathy being demonstrated by anybody, but very touching to see in a young child.

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  18. Many schools are trying so hard to instill good values. They used real babies ?!

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  19. I am trying to teach empathy to my 3 year old granddaughter. Empathy has to be taught and nurtured. Parents and caregivers must demonstrate it. Good for you, John!

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  20. Most ordinary people have empathy to one degree or another, but not psychopaths. I'm all for more empathy and less ambition. The trouble is that if you are a professional carer like a nurse, ordinary levels of empathy can easily prevent you from doing your job. I bet Nurse Ratchet was not scared of the sight of blood. It's a fine balance if you need to be useful.

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    1. The secret is to do the job efficiently but with care. Too much empathy for a nurse leads to a rubber room

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  21. I'm picturing the little bullies kicking the crying baby doll through the goalposts out on the soccer field. Sorry.

    also:"the ever avuncular Winnie" sorry tobe the grammar police but avuncular means ''suggestive of an uncle especially in kindliness or geniality; of or relating to an uncle'' — Winnie is too girly for that.

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    1. It was a real baby

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    2. Yes, I noted that too but you have to dig deep, very deep into Latin-rooted English (or any English word) to find one that means "aunt-like". And then, it's such a rare word that it's often used humorously.

      Actually, "Avuncular" means the brother of the mother. There's no English word derived from the Latin "brother of the father," although the Romans made the distinction.

      Let's just call Winnie unbearably cute.

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    3. avuncular
      əˈvʌŋkjʊlə/Submit
      adjective
      1.
      kind and friendly towards a younger or less experienced person.
      "he was avuncular, reassuring, and trustworthy"

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    4. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/avuncular

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    5. Hmmmm. I think the ***older male**** kindness is the key here.

      Surely it wasn't a real baby??? At the school project?

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    6. What idiot parent would hand its baby over to bullies? This can't be true, usually they use those lifelike dolls.

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    7. I think the baby was a staff members and it was brought in to be looked after in schooltime

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    8. The program here had a mom come in with her baby and there was supervision by the teacher as well.

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  22. Might take my 2 cats and dog to work John Gray as the boss is picking on me, mind you I should just get the dog to bite the bitch !!!

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  23. Two wonderful tales. Thank you. And empathy is indeed wonderful, albeit sometimes painful.

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  24. What a heartwarming story 💖 Empathy is the most wonderful thing.

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  25. Anonymous9:23 pm

    Lovely story.I thought of you today on my Facebook page who should be pictured but 2 Stars from Waking dead up here in Aberdeen quite a few people were getting their pictures taken with them.Have followed you now for years now I once said my brother lives in Rhyl ,I have forgotten my password for my blog hence posting anonymous.

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  26. Anonymous9:25 pm

    Sorry should have said Walking Dead and it was Daryl and Carol.

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    1. Omg. Yes carol and Daryl are in Scotland!

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  27. I mistakenly posted this reply in the previous seagull post. It was meant for this bullying post. I was a little groggy, as I haven't had coffee yet when I replied early this morning:

    "That is a lovely and inspiring story. Empathy and kindness are precious and powerful qualities. Thank you for sharing that uplifting story. It made me smile.

    Children and animals give me hope for the future. They make me want to be a better person. I want to leave them a better world."

    I applaud every effort to spread empathy and kindness. And you are so kind and patient to let that small child show some love and care to your lovely companion. Children learn from example. So thank you for being a good one.

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  28. We are to teach children in the way they should go and I think you did just that(and maybe his mum, too!)This was a very uplifting tale.

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  29. Oh my yes . . . on empathy . . .
    It is golden . . .

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  30. Babies are useful little people. We had baby visits at the nursing home. They did the world of good for residents and staff.

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  31. Didn't they invent those babies to give to teenage girls who wanted to get pregnant? Reality usually did the trick. I don't suppose bullying will ever be eradicated; but anything that helps....

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  32. Did you see the little boy on Crufts the other evening who spoke very knowledgeably about how to pet a dog you meet in the street. He was lovely and he knew his stuff.

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  33. I don't suppose bullying will ever be eradicated; but anything that helps....สมัคร D2BET

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