Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Disclaimer:  This article has little to do with the A-Team, but I must give credit to the allusion in my title quote.  George Peppard's character would end each episode of the show with the line, "I love it when a plan comes together."  Of course the show began with an impossible task, but the team figured it out and achieved the impractical goal.

I allude to this because I recently completed my first assembly demonstration/talk on bullying since the publication of my book The Pact.  My book deals with bullying.  It shows the many ways children are bullied as well as various responses to the traumatic experience.  I am now speaking at schools with the dual purpose of plugging my novel and educating children on the proper way to deal with bullying.

As a former English teacher and coach, I wanted the talk to be as informative and enjoyable as possible.  As a pastor and father of seven children, I wanted it to be meaningful and helpful.  I included the children in my talk to help me identify and define the three basic types of bullying:  physical, verbal and social.  Then I used an activity to solidify the lesson.  I was hoping it would work.  It worked well in my head and practiced well with my own children at home.

The modified tug-o-war is designed to put the largest child on one end (roll-playing as the bully) opposite of the smallest student on the other (roll-playing the victim), so that's precisely what I did.  Obviously, the contest is rigged.  Then I pulled a second small child from the audience and had her pull alongside of the victim...then a third.  By now, the tug-o-war was balanced.  When I included a fourth and fifth child, the bully discovered he could hold his ground no longer.  Success!  "This is what happens when we choose to stand with victims" I said.  "After all, no one should ever have to stand alone."

Once that point was made, I educated the students in the power of spectating and laughing with the bully.  I pulled three of the children to the sides and had them stand with their tug leads taut.  Then I let the tug-o-war resume.  You got it; the bully was able to win again.  Then I put the same three children alongside of the bully and said this is what happens when you laugh at the bully's taunting.  They gave him even more power.  The kids got it...the exercise worked well.  The entire assembly of children volunteered to make a pact to stand against bullying.

I love it when a plan comes together.


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