I’m sure that many of you have seen the viral video of middle school student’s bullying a 68 year old bus monitor. The video, which I didn’t watch all of because I don’t want to allow such poison in my heart, has been viewed by over one million people (you can find it on YouTube. This has sparked a conversation about kids and how they are raised to treat others. For some this video has a voyeuristic appeal as they enjoy the meanness they watch. Others are being moved by this video to have conversations about civility and the practice of parenting.
The woman, Karen Klein appeared this morning on the Today Show and even the way Matt Lauer speaks about the children involved, shows how grievous the behavior is being understood. I find that Lauer is usually a congenial figure who is normally level in his approach to the morning show. This story moves him so much that he says with what I believe is his true heart, “(These boys) are narrow minded monsters and their parents should be ashamed.”
Whenever stories like this come to the world attention I think it is a positive thing. For far too long stories like this would be ignored. In today’s culture it is clear that there is a lack of civility among all stations of life. Bullying and mean-spirited behaviors don’t just occur on the middle school bus. They occur in home and workplaces throughout the world. In this election year we will see how professionals bring these behaviors to a scientific level.
Nonetheless, I believe that it is not enough to just say aww shucks. Or the parents should be ashamed of themselves. There is more to this story. Our society must do the hard work of not only combating the negative behaviors with discipline and punishment, but we must also highlight the positive examples around us. Leadership Coach Bob Harris, of www.bobharriscoaching.com, recently forward along a video he thought showed how first followers achieve leadership by example and risk. I think this video does more than that.
Watch the video below and you will see not only how positive role models can bring hope to individuals but also how they can transform the world. If the bus video shows just what’s wrong with our society, this video highlights what can be right about it. It also challenges us to make the world a better place by showing love and care. Matt, the boy in the video is couragous and his effort would be inspirational in itself. I think what happens around him is even more powerful and a wonderful reminder of what love for others looks like.
How are you running and cheering next to someone in your life?
Interesting. I have not seen the video, and don’t think I need to. Imagination is enough.
You said: “Our society must do the hard work of not only combating the negative behaviors with discipline and punishment, but we must also highlight the positive examples around us.”
This is going to come out sounding very judgmental – but there are some folks who just don’t give a hoot about what values their kids have, or are just plain not around to make sure it happens. That is just how it is – whether based on their own childhood or the current circumstances. As a parent who actually does give a hoot, I am especially hard on my kids to be an example. Not that my kids are angels – far from it. But I know some folks who essentially hide their kids from any “negative influence” or keep them away from situations where they might encounter a challenge to their values. I get that they want to keep their kids on the straight and narrow as long as they can – temptation abounds. And folks will do what they feel they need to do to protect their children. But, what I always feel they are missing is an opportunity for their child to be the POSITIVE influence on that other person. Leadership is by example and risk, as you said above, and today’s kids will never be leaders if they don’t have the opportunity to engage with others who will challenge them to act out what they believe.