The coming week at our school is Anti-Bullying Week. Our Humankind group has put together a week of themes and activities to shed a light on, and encourage a change in the bullying situation in our school and society. One day we are wearing our pyjamas to reflect that the school should be a safe and comfortable place for everyone within the walls. One day we are looking for our Anti-Bullying superheros. Friday will be Blue Shirt Day which is a national campaign to eliminate bullying.
Our other main theme day reflects the power of peer pressure and bullying to make people hide themselves, whether literally in corners hoping not to be seen, or less directly by changing how they dress, changing their hair, or not taking part in activities they enjoy. On Wednesday we are asking people to come to school as the “Real You.” I have explained it as showing the inner you, or the things for which you stand. For instance, if you come off to others as a tough and scary person but really have a soft heart and care for people you might come dressed as a teddy bear, a marshmallow, with a big heart on your t-shirt or something like that. You might put what people see on the front of the shirt and what people may not know on the back.
I have been trying to decide what to wear. First I will wear jeans and a t-shirt because I am really an informal person. I bought a blank t-shirt to decorate and now I am trying to decide what to draw or write. There is some inherent danger in putting inner feelings and thoughts out there for other people to see. If they were ever inclined to bully you, this would give them excellent ammunition.
I am thinking of putting a stick person type head representing me with a cross around my neck. Above my head in thought bubbles I would have the words Peace, Love and Justice. Filtered through my faith, those are the three things for which I am willing to stand up. Above that I will put words or symbols to represent the various “causes” that I work for. I could put organizations names, problems we fight against, people who need our help or other things. Should I have the causes wrap around to include my back? I am still quite undecided.
My minister had a couple interesting suggestions. She first said a big check mark. I immediately thought about my role as a teacher and how much I dislike having to grade student work. That was not her thought. For her it would represent that I always try to do what is right. I suspect this idea will find its way into a campaign for Humankind another year. Her other idea was just to draw a straight horizontal line to represent wanting to make everyone equal. (As I typed that it made me think of the scripture saying the valleys will be exulted and the mountains made low.) These ideas are far less wordy and would require explanation for people to get the point, but maybe that is the point. It is easy to skim over a bunch of words isn’t it?
I’ll let you know later what I end up doing with my t-shirt. As we begin the third week of Advent lets all focus on showing for what we stand, and work to bring joy to those in our communities who are the least joyful.