On Valentine's Day, it is time to tell people you love why they are important to you. That is the cliché of our society and we all fall into the evil hands of Hallmark and go into chocolate comas over overpriced candy. Well, this week is also National Kindness Week. It is a week dedicated to teaching youth about empathy and kindness towards others. In honor of kindness week and Valentine's Day, I want to dedicate my post to Michael Morones.
I have been struggling with one of my groups of an anti-bullying program we run. It is the leadership development group and they are the typical teenage troublemakers. They are great kids, but often make the wrong choices. They might have anger issues or be prone to bullying others. We are at the beginning of our session, so many of the students express that they do not want to be in the program or have anything to do with me. I was trying to teach them about kindness and I felt I was talking to a wall. It was then that I realized that they might be able to teach me about kindness. I started off my session explaining Michael's story and the teens listened attentively (that was a huge win for my team). Michael Morones was bullied for liking “My Little Pony” and tried to take his own life. Michael was taken to the hospital after the attempt, and is currently in recovery. I asked my teens to write Michael a Valentine's Day card and share some words of encouragement. To my surprise students jumped on the idea and they wrote such amazing words of support. They shared their stories about being bullied, they shared how they had problems at home and had to watch a love one take their life, they shared that they cared about Michael and that he needed to be strong.
I was shocked at how much effort some of my students put into these cards. They did not think twice about being kind or sharing their stories to help a stranger. They gave me hope and their gesture touched my heart. I proudly went to the post office and mailed those cards to Michael. On behalf of all of us at Bulldog we would like to thank Carrie Goldman for helping us get the contact information to send the cards.
I will never know if Michael gets the cards my students wrote, but I hope that in his process of recovery he is loved. My teens were inspired to reach out and care about him. It's not about what we teach, but what youth can teach us. So, let's take the time to listen more and be more kind this Valentine’s Day. By setting the example, we might just make a difference in the lives of kids that need it the most.
Be Strong* Be Brave * Be a Bulldog
Until Next Time...
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