October 29, 2013

How Many Tragedies Does it Take?

Doug Lawrence







I am saddened today on hearing the tragic news of the loss of a young person – a candle that once burnt brightly has now been extinguished. It didn’t have to be this way.

I thought I would quote a bunch of statistics – but it doesn’t matter. The incidents of bullying in the schools and the work place are increasing if you follow the research that is being done. I have listed some references for you to take a look at in case you don’t feel that this is a problem.

What we have created is a bullying culture – in the schools and the work place. We have not provided anyone with the tools to be comfortable in dealing with bullying in either of these environments. I know this sounds self-serving but mentoring can work to combat bullying. When I did my research on bullying in the schools I saw two common themes and I have mentioned these before – the students were not provided the tools they needed to effectively mentor their peers. The second part was that very little attention was spent on the bully themselves. Two very important issues that we need to deal with.

We can educate people on the signs and symptoms but if we do not have a strategy for how to actually deal with the behaviours then we haven’t moved as far ahead as we need to. The research clearly showed that. I know of a school that has implemented a mentoring program to combat bullying. Has it completely eradicated bullying – NO. It most definitely has reduced the number of incidents and the response time in dealing with bullying has vastly improved. They have been provided the tools – mentor training.

My previous article(s) talked about bullying in the work place and how a colleague of mine was bullied and eventually left the organization. I can only imagine the stress that he went through while still immersed in that ugly work environment. Fortunately he does not have to deal with that anymore and rest assured the home life will be much better off because of the change in environment.

I hope that you can see the trend that is taking place. We have created a bullying culture and it is taking its toll in both environments – some on a more tragic note than others. If we choose to do nothing the pattern will continue and all the education in the world won’t change the picture. We need to provide people with the tools to deal with these situations and we need to determine why a person resorts to bullying. We need to have a plan to deal with the bully so that we can help them grow as a person in a positive sense rather than immersed in the negativity that they are in today.

For the schools a peer to peer mentoring program will work as long as the participants are provided the tools to be successful. There are opportunities here for retired teachers to play a role in assisting with the success of the program. In the work place implementing a mentoring culture or a learning and development culture as I prefer to call it, will assist in combating the bullying.

We can study this some more, keep reading the statistics, table some reports or we can take some action. What will it be? Embrace the “power of mentoring” – can we afford not to?









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