October is Bully Prevention Month. What better month could there be because October comes soon after the start of a new school year? The first 4-6 weeks of school provide ample opportunity for teachers and students to assume the task of effective and efficient learning. Choosing a strategic month helps bring to light both the positives and negatives of child development; darkness only hides them.

For over 40 years, my career has been educating girls to become young women and boys to become young men, embracing the ideal of becoming the very best of their greater self. This is a high and noble mission. 

No teacher or youth leader has told me there is a greater reward than being part of a child’s life development. The celebration day is when a child becomes a responsible, morally sound, industrious, caring, and loving human being. This is the highest victory one can experience in a professional career.

Perhaps we think victories are making billions of dollars, wearing rings on fingers for a multitude of championships, owning a garage full of exotic cars, or a mansion on a mountain. None of these possessions, absolutely none, compare to being part of the growth and maturation process of a child becoming a vital, healthy contributor to our world. Therefore, it is a privilege to impact bullying by helping a child mature.

My life experience shouts loudly and clearly: “You cannot change bad to good while focusing on the ‘stop’ or on the prevention.” This is a negative approach. Signs posted in schools using this approach do not work. These signs seem to emphasize it this way: Say no to drugs. Don’t be a bully. Just say no.

Stopping or preventing bullying does not happen until the focus is changed from a negative to a positive. Positives win; negatives lose. The greatest positive is to start being a friend, deterring bullying but enabling growth.