Apologies are powerful and beneficial, not just to those receiving them, but also to those giving them. This week, think of someone you want to apologize
to and do it, whether it’s someone you feel you wronged yesterday, or even last year. You can start with, “Hey, I just wanted to reach out and apologize
for the way I treated you,” or “I’ve been thinking about what happened and I really want to say that I’m sorry.” If you can’t think of someone to apologize to, put yourself in the shoes of your parent or guardian and think about your recent behavior from their perspective. Chances are you can apologize for something.
Mindfulness means creating a greater moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment. This week, we want you
to do a mindfulness exercise by keeping a tally of all the little things you either take responsibility for or ignore. Literally, write them down! They can be household chores like washing the dishes, or harder things like letting someone who is getting bullied know you care. Just taking note of when you act and when you ignore can help you become more mindful and remember to act more frequently.
Have you ever heard a teacher say, “If you sit in the same place every day during class, moss will start to grow on you”? No? Well, let’s fight the moss effect anyway! According to one study, changing your seat can actually boost your creativity. So why not try it? Sit in a different seat in your class each day this week. See who you meet and what new things you experience!
Don’t know how to help with a bullying situation you are witnessing? You can start by not laughing or joining in. People who bully often get power from
the approval of others. Try at least one time this week to withdraw your support from a bullying situation by walking away or, when it feels comfortable, saying, “This isn’t cool,” or “That’s not funny.” Your reaction can influence others to step away too. Make sure later to figure out a way to give support to the person who was bullied. It may seem hard, but each time you do it, it’ll get easier.
We all know everyone feels a boost after a high-five. And you never know who needs one. Give at least one person a random high-five each day this week. The best thing about high-fives is you can do them anywhere: in the hallway between classes, during recess, in the cafeteria…so what are you waiting for? A countdown? Okay: 1, 2, 3, 4…5! (Technically that was a “count-up” but you get the idea. Go give some fives!)
You might not always see it, but even people who bully need care and compassion. People sometimes bully others as a reaction to their own problems, such as abuse or feelings of isolation or rejection. Being confrontational or attacking someone who bullies is rarely, if ever, the most effective response. Take that into consideration this week and say something kind to someone who maybe isn’t always so nice to others. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. You can start with something simple like, “Hey, I really like your sweatshirt.” Your kind comment can show them how kindness beats bullying, any day of the week.
Even if you can’t interrupt bullying in the moment, you can offer sympathy to someone who has been bullied, after the fact. This week, tell someone who has been bullied recently that you saw what happened and feel bad about it. You can say, “You didn’t deserve that. How are you feeling?” or “I saw what happened, and it wasn’t right.” Even if the bullying happened a long time ago, you can still reach out. Late is better than never.