Posts Tagged “teaching tolerance”

Anti-Bullying Starts With a Message of Kindness

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A Back-To-School message about putting your best foot forward and avoiding bullying techniques no matter the intent.
This message contains affiliate links. #Sponsored post whereby we received a review copy of You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid. Opinions are strictly my own.

Cool Kind Kid 2Before school rules, before befriending a bullied victim, before being a voice against bullying… it all starts with a conversation about kindness. We all have the potential to be mean-spirited, its just part of being human. Anyone’s buttons can be pushed…by anyone. Each child has the opportunity to say the wrong thing, act in an inappropriate way, be perceived as the “bad guy” but what happens if, as parents, we embrace each of those moments as learning potential. Listen, I don’t have the answers for those egregious examples that hit the news, that affect many families… but instead suggest an urgency and a means of getting in front of the topic before it becomes a situation… and maybe more importantly, providing the life skills of handling these situations as they occur because they most definitely will occur, and it’s more of a matter of how they are addressed that results in better outcomes.

It all comes back to kindness. When a child oversteps a boundary, empower them to apologize. Apologies are not a sign of weakness, caving, or being a push-over but instead a tool for dispute resolution. Many folks I know, as adults, refuse to apologize. Silly really, that they let such an act have that much power over a situation… let’s not teach our children that apologies are for pansies. They aren’t; they’re for everyone.

Bullying isn’t only about the child on the receiving end of unpleasantries. As parents, perhaps displaying compassion and understanding for the perpetrator (which could mean OUR kid), will defuse the situation and allow the child to come around on his/her mannerisms. And again… this is well before the ugliness of the abuses we’re seeing in our schools and neighborhoods, and online bullying is a topic I’ll just leave for the professionals.

Cool Kind Kid 3

One place to start is with You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid. An illustrated children’s book series with the message that being “cool” doesn’t have to be associated with being mean to others. Being kind is cool. This book and the series is available via Amazon or you can visit Cool Kind Kid online.  The following is an excerpt from Cool Kind Kid’s press release:

Cool Kind Kid is proactive social skills and anti-bullying tools to help young childre rejet bullying. It supports current research advocating social skills, or social competence training as neighborhoods, and the media with the message that mean, rude, and disrespectful behaviors are cool, and that bullying is cool.

As Cool Kind Kid redefines “cool” for kids, the motivation for bullying is considerably weakened. Through award-winning music, fun characters and activities, kids are engaged as they learn life changing social skills. We have seen changed behavior as kids embrace the concept of being Cool Kind Kids.

Barbara Gilmour, the founder of Cool Kind Kids couldn’t have said it better when she stated, “As parents, educators, and the media, we have a responsibility to give our children the tools they need to learn that kind, caring, and respectful behavior is cool, and that bullying is the ultimate in uncool”.

Cool Kind Kid 4

As parents, we can adapt this concept, teaching our kids what it really means to be “cool”. We can go an additional step further by introducing tools like “Cool Kind Kid” to our schools for incorporation into curriculum and anti-bullying programs. So often the messages of anti-bullying are focused on witnessed acts of violence and protocols for reporting and the consequences of situations. Let’s take this time before school starts to address the nature of bullying, accepting that ANY of our children could be intentionally or unintentionally hurting other kids’ feelings and that being labeled as a bully or having demonstrated poor behavioral decision one year, doesn’t make you a bully forever. Potential bullying behavior can change… let’s show our children (you know the one’s with “strong personalities”) how it’s done.

I leave you with this children’s song, “Everyone Can See A Different Me“, by Recess Music off their “Someone Else’s Shoes” album, that I just absolutely love.

“I’ve changed for the good,
And stopped being bad.
It’s a funny little thing,
I’m no longer sad”
– Recess Music, “Everyone Can See A Different Me” / Someone Else’s Shoes

Comments are encouraged… but only the “cool” kind.

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Beautiful Rainbow World – Closing the Year with a Colorful Perspective

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Beautiful Rainbow WorldBeautiful Rainbow World – a photo book by Suzee Ramirez & Lynne Raspet

In all the hustle and bustle the holiday season and year end brings, this delightful and playful picture book and song bring it all home.  Beautiful Rainbow World – reminding us to appreciate one another, well beyond the holiday ho ho ho’s but to truly take a moment to take in all the beauty in diversity.

With each page, each photo there is a warm familiar feeling of belonging.  The colorful and artistic pictures draw us in with those wonderful, everyday children from around the world, doing wonderful everyday sorta things all children enjoy doing.  This brings us all a little closer to one another.

What a delightful discussion piece around teaching differences, tolerance and acceptance.  Beautiful Rainbow World 2Education is so much more than reading and writing.  A solid appreciation for world cultures and a healthy perspective on diversity is equally important, if not more so.  Beautiful Rainbow World offers a fantastic lesson on diversity and inclusion. It showcases the globe in a unique way, one that children of all ages can relate to and enjoy.  I highly recommend Beautiful Rainbow World as a unique resource for discussion around cultural awareness and inclusion. Children everywhere play, laugh, ponder and dream.  Opening our hearts and homes to embrace such awareness will only open their eyes to possibility and a Beautiful Rainbow World.

You may enjoy reading our review for a children’s CD: “Someone Else’s Shoes” by Recess Music, also an excellent resource for celebrating diversity.

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Lessons of Respect and Differences

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“Someone Else’s Shoes”

Recess Music

With so much recent publicity on anti-bullying and harassment, I was so pleased to come across this Recess Music CD in the Best Foot Forward Series. “Someone Else’s Shoes” is an amazing compilation of 15 tracks with focus on being neighborly, kind and having self confidence. The title track sets the stage for the entire experience and remains my favorite song on the album. The lyrical variety and change in tempo and style from track to track makes for a very entertaining CD with a consistent and positive message. Song to song – you can’t help but tap your foot, sing along and feel genuinely warm.

As you move through the songs you’ll encounter a variety of themes, including anti-bullying, teamwork, differences and respect. The second track, Teamwork” speaks to being important; a song for emphasizing community and partnership with a great beat. For more good beats check out “Say Something Nice About Someone” surely a head-nodding kinda song and “There’s No Such Thing As Normal”. Nothing like dancing around to songs with such good meaning.

Personally, I enjoy the jazzy feel of the third song “You Hurt My Feelings” but more than that I appreciate the straight-forward approach to standing up for oneself. Along the same lines… “Please Stop Hurting My Feelings” lays it out there with focus on saying that even jokes hurt. From a message standpoint, my absolute favorite song is “Everyone Can See A Different Me” addressing the idea that people can change their ways. With so many conversations, news articles and policies addressing the victims and intolerable actions of bullies, this song sets the tone that one can change, apologize and become a better person. We just don’t hear enough of kids who’ve turned the corner and this is just as important a concept as prevention and reporting. I love this song – and will use it as a teaching point that everyone makes mistakes but those mistakes don’t have to be defining.

And for more perspective… check out “Be Nice To Old People” an adorable song reminding our young that older folks were once in there shoes. Kids don’t necessarily appreciate the older generation and certainly don’t think that they’ve shared experiences. This is a fun reminder. And lastly, let me mention my second favorite piece on this CD, “Just The Way You Are” an artistic song balanced with excellent vocals and simply pure message.

“Someone Else’s Shoes” belongs in every household with children. The CD hits the nail on the head in terms of understanding and appreciating differences and conveys this in a most entertaining manner. We toggle between listening in the car and listening in our playroom. Good tunes are a necessity for the car, but sometimes you just want to dance and I couldn’t think of a better message to bop around with and share. Amazon sells the CD for approx $10 or you can purchase individual songs.  Click here for listening samples and purchasing options.  Enjoy.

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