I was talking to an acquaintance this week who was clearly thrilled to have received what he described as “the first nice email from my ‘ex’ almost forever”. They had a child together and his ‘ex’ had written to say what a joy the child was and to thank him for being a part of their life and helping to bring the child up. We discussed how much more readily we complain about the negative things in life and yet, what a warm glow can be created by the simple act of saying something positive.
Christmas can be a stressful time for many and we are constantly reading about the growth in mental health issues in our young people. Let’s tell them how much we love and appreciate them – how special they are to us and what joy they bring. For some, this may be a much-needed boost to their self-esteem, and even if it’s not strictly needed, we all feel better for being appreciated.
So, in this season of goodwill, can I encourage you all to create a warm glow for one or even lots of your family and friends. Let’s all make an effort over the coming weeks to say something positive to our partners, our children, our parents and yes, even our in-laws and “ex’s”. You don’t need to wait for something spectacular to happen – we all know that the bedrooms will still be untidy and the bins still left for us to take out! But a heartfelt acknowledgement or thanks for something they do or say or even that, just by being around, they make you feel happy or grateful could make a really big difference – and it doesn’t cost a thing!
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Setting an example
With the huge rise of online bullying and with Anti Bullying week, on the theme of “Choose Respect”, commencing 12 November, we need to think about why so many children treat each other with little respect.
It is interesting to see the recently conducted survey by the Anti Bullying Alliance. Their research talks about the worrying numbers of children (41% of 11-16 year olds) who had seen adults bullying each other in the past 6 months – 21% face-to-face, 18% online and 20% in the media. Not only do children recognise that this sets a bad example, but the report shows 97% s would like to see more respect shown between adults.
I have been talking for quite some time about adults embracing positive behaviour and how, if we change this, it could reduce the number of children being bullied. I am starting to believe that, if we started with the grownups, we really could make a difference. I see frequent posts on social media speaking about people in a negative way. I have seen posts calling people “selfish” for parking their car incorrectly; another calling a person an “idiot” for jumping in front of a train and causing mayhem with transport. When our children are being bullied, parents post their frustration online, which I do understand, but this is contradicting the very advice we give children at school; telling them not to respond or retaliate to bullying.
Have we lost the ability to feel compassion and think about why people might act in certain ways? Are we becoming a nation of opinionated campaigners who can’t tolerate an opposing viewpoint or debate an issue without throwing insults? I do believe this strongly and I regularly talk about this subject in my workshops. Adults are worse than children when it comes to posting online. It is no wonder that children have little respect for each other when, in fact, they are just mirroring behaviour that they have learnt from the adults around them.
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