This is a busy, busy time! Let me give a few headlines before picking up the thread of the conversation begun two weeks ago…
- edJEWcon 5772.0 is officially closed and a waiting list has begun to fill! Over 20 Jewish day schools from across North America and the ideological spectrum will be coming to the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School to collaborate and create. Official press releases announcing the first edJEWcon cohort to come! Thanks to the AVI CHAI Foundation for their generous support and to the Schechter Day School Network for its valuable assistance.
- Our 50th Anniversary preparations are well underway! Thanks to our extraordinary team of volunteers and professionals, we are preparing an event of a generation. If you want to know more about this historic event, if you would like to volunteer, attend, or donate…please click here on our 50th Anniversary website.
- Purim is coming! Please click here for my blog post entitled “A Purim Prescription for Pediatric Judaism”.
- Community University is coming on March 11th! Click here for more information and to register. I’ll be teaching a course this year called “Tiger Moms & Panda Dads? A Conversation about Jewish Parenting in the 21st Century”.
- And finally, our school will go through its 5-year Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) Re-Accreditation on March 11 – 13. I’ll have more to say about this in an upcoming blog.
That’s a lot of headlines!
But now I want to pick up with the incredible responses that have come in since I blogged two weeks ago, here, about Creating a Community of Kindness. It was picked up very quickly on Twitter and Facebook by other schools and foundations, which is a sign of how relevant and important this issue is. But this initiative is not about garnering attention – it is about changing a culture. And even though it will take time…it is beginning.
Here is some proof.
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky blogged about it here focusing on the importance of not only being reactive in issuing swift and decisive discipline when behaviors erupt, but being proactive in creating a community of kindness. He also contributed a 2-minute video of his own:
But that’s not all!
Demonstrating that the entire Jacksonville Jewish Center is on board, we have our first contribution from the JJC Preschool, who have two amazing parents who wrote and preformed a play on the value of Gemilut Hasadim (acts of lovingkindness) for our preschool students this week:
But that’s not all either!
Better than anything the adults have done are the extraordinary blog posts our students have begun to write about this important topic. ( You can link to all our student blogfolios here.) There are more than I can highlight here, but I want to acknowledge a couple of wonderfully written posts in my blog. I urge you to comment directly to the students. I am also issuing my “2-minute” challenge – I want our students to start creating their own 2-minute Community of Kindness videos and posting them to their blogfolios. I will share them in future postings.
Here’s a terrific post from a fifth grader named Shoshana:
Has your child ever wanted to talk to you about someone bullying them, pushing them around, or calling them names? Well, the secret is revealed. Some children hide it from you, but yet they don’t know how to stop it. I am going to give all of the kids that have to deal with this some advice.
Some children are sad when someone says something to you like ”You are so dumb!” or”Why did you say that! You made us loose!”. Others for reasons like they are feeling left out, or they are physically or mentally being bullied. Those are all reasons why. The problem is, if they don’t let a parent know, then they’ll just be bullied the whole year, or more. If an adult doesn’t know, then there is no way to deal with it, and it might just get worse.
A way to deal with this is by talking about it. Don’t keep it to yourself, if you do, the outcome will not be good. Stick up for yourself. You don’t needANYONE bossing you around, pushing you around, or saying things that insult you. You have courage in you, and don’t hide it. If something happens outside on the playground, don’t just stand there. You can tell a teacher. Go ahead!
If something happens to you when you are not with an adult, you might have a problem. Here’s an example. Lets say you are in the mall with your friends and you got dropped of, no adults you know, or no parents. Something happens to you, but you don’t know what to do. Look for a phone. If you don’t have a cell phone, then there should be one there. Call a parent, and ask if you can get picked up. Tell your friends that you aren’t feeling very well, wait for your Mom or Dad to call you back and tell you they’re outside. Tell them goodbye, and then go to your car. There are other ways that you can handle this situation. It depends what happens to you. If all they do is call you a name like “stupid”, then ignore it, or say that it hurt your feelings. If they bully you, that’s a WHOLE different situation.
I hope this advice helps for those of you who need it. Everyone else, I’m so glad that there is nothing wrong. I hope that the people who need advice take this into consideration, and I hope that the problems end, and peace is on earth. Parents, I hope that you will be able to see your children smile. Have a great day, and stay out of trouble!
Kids hugging http://jamma.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/5
Pretty terrific, no?
Here is one from a fourth grader named Yoni:
lying is going very serious in most schools, especially public schools. The types of bulling are physical bullying, teasing, and cyber bullying. Physical bullying is when someone is trying to hit you, and hurt you. Teasing is when someone is trying to mock you (making fun of you). Cyber bullying is when someone says something bad to you on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or on your E-mail. In third grade, our class learned when someone teases you, or cyber bullies you, you will remember it for the rest of your life. If you cyber bully, you can get yourself in big trouble.
I got experience physical bullying, and was teased by some people, but I did not get cyber bullied yet. When someone teases me I feel very sad. When I got physical bullied I had no choice, but to just defend myself. I really do not like people bullying each other. When people are not bullying me, but bullying someone else, I feel miserable. Without bullying kids get a much better life. Some people are sensitive from teasing, and cyber bullying. I am sometimes sensitive when someone teases me, even if it is just a silly joke.
When you are about to hit someone, tease someone, or type something mean online; think before you do that! A bully starts when someone bullied them. If you see a bully, you would usually not see them by themselves. You would see them with other people, because a bully is not strong in the inside; but a bully tries to feel strong. Some kids get bullied in all ways physical bullying, teasing, and cyber bullying. If you do nothing, a bully can still be very mean to you. If you tease someone, or cyber bully someone it is also making fun of G-D, because G-D is inside everyone. You do not want to make fun of G-D, because G-D is infinite times stronger than anyone. If someone bullied you an any type, you should go to someone that got bullied in the same type, so he, or she can tell you how to stop the bully. If a pack of bullies are surrounding you, and you cannot run away you have to fight back. My dad told me if that happens fight the the leader first, because if you defeat the leader the rest of the pack will get scared, and leave you alone. Only fight when you have no choice. Bullies usually bully kids that are lonely, because it will be easier to bully them. If a pack of bullies are bothering you and your friends, you, and your friends can say, “Leave him, or her alone! ” That is a way to stop bullies. If someone bullies you, you can tell an adult you trust, especially your parents, or your older sibling. You can be friends with a bully, and help the bully to think before he is about to bully someone.
That is all about how to stop bullying. Bullying happens in a lot of places. You can stop bullying. You can tell the principal to make a no bully zone. If you have any question ask me, and I will tell you. If you follow the ways to stop bullying it will help you. Bye!
This is just the beginning…we still have to finish scoring the bulk of our surveys and report back (it isn’t through lack of effort, they are a bear to score). But in two weeks we have seen our Day School students, Center clergy, Preschool parents, just to name three different constituencies make their first contributions to making us a community of kindness. I look forward to sharing more examples and to having more examples shared with us. This is no quick fix, but a struggle to ensure the safety and health of our children in all our sacred spaces. Let’s keep the momentum going! Keep blogging, Tweeting, posting on Facebook, commenting on blogs, emailing, sharing, talking, learning and caring. Each act of lovingkindness builds on the next until one day we’ve created culture of caring in which acts of intentional harm are not viable – the day we become a Community of Kindness
May that day be soon.