Sharing Our Similarities Helps Bring About Behavioral Change

I watched this story last night, & it lit up my heart in such a way, I had to share. The example it shows is such a great lesson in what actually brings us closer together.

The student on the left, Jake, this past September, shaved his head, in honor of his grandfather who’s fighting cancer. After shaving his head, he received taunts & was the subject of bullying from other kids in the school. They thought his head looked funny.

The principal of Jake’s school (the one seated in the chair), decided to bring all the teachers & students in the school, together to address the way Jake had been treated.  Here’s the key: he didn’t scold anyone for the taunting/bullying. Instead he addressed it.

He said he’d heard that Jake had been made fun of by fellow students, bc of his new haircut.  He explained that the haircut was a way of honoring his grandfather’s battle w cancer. Then, the principal did something amazing.  He shared how 2 members of his OWN fam, were also fighting cancer – one ovarian & one pancreatic.  He also shared that he’d lost loved ones to this awful disease.  Finally, he asked the students seated at the assembly in front of him, if they’d ever known anyone in their life who’d battled cancer. Almost everyone raised their hands.

The principal then announced the surprise for the day. He was going to allow Jake to shave HIS head, in front of the rest of the students, to show his unity w not only this one student, but ALL the other students (& teachers) who’d raised their hands at his question.  He was showing – they were all the SAME.

The principal could have handled the bullying situation like so many do. He could’ve scolded the kids who led the charge. He could’ve punished them. He could’ve told them to: “Stop Bullying.”
Instead he went a diff way. He showed them their similarities. He showed them how they faced challenges that weren’t so unique.

This is such a great microcosm of how we can do better – individually, in schools, thru societal campaigns. Do “Stop Stigma” & “Stomp Bullying” rallying cries really work? When we share our similarities, we break down walls way more emphatically!

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