Why is Starfish needed?|
Are things like putdowns and insults really so harmful to kids that teachers and staff need to have special training to deal with them?|
Isn't dealing with these things in school just a normal and healthy part of growing up?
Do the kids in schools need to have talks and workshops about something that is just an everyday part of their life?
What's so bad about putdowns?
To answer this, let's start with a little definition: What is a "putdown"?
A verbal or nonverbal response or action which creates a negative feeling(s) that can truly HURT someone's HEART!!!
Putdowns are part of a negative atmosphere that pervades most of today's society and is especially evident in the schools. Society's input is predominantly negative. Research shows that for every one negative thing you say to a child, you must say four positive things to keep the balance. And yet, how quick all of us are to pick out and emphasize the flaws and failures, but how slow we are to praise.
And the putdowns hurt. Research from Education Leadership shows how the students themselves tell of the pain and trouble they receive at school from their peers. Click here to see the research.
Dr. James Dobson in his Bulletin, Nov. 2000:
...Years later I was sitting in my car at a fast-food restaurant, eating a hamburger. I happened to look in the rearview mirror. There I saw the most pitifiil, scrawny, dirty little kitten on a ledge behind my car. I was so touched by how hungry she looked that I got out, tore off a piece of my hamburger, and tossed it to her. But before this kitten could reach it, a huge tomcat sprang out of the bushes, grabbed the morsel, and gobbled it down. I felt sorry for the kitten, who turned and ran back into the shadows, still hungry and frightened.|
I was immediately reminded that those kids I used to teach were just as needy, just as deprived, just as lost as that little kitten. It wasn't food that they required; it was love and attention and respect that they needed, and they were desperate for it. And just when they opened up and revealed the pain inside, one of the more popular kids would abuse and ridicule them, sending them scurrying back into the shadows, frightened and alone.
We as adults, must never forget the pain of trying to grow up and of the competitive world in which many adolescents live today. Taking a moment to listen, care, and direct such a youngster may be the best investment of a lifetime.
Neither can anyone forget the tragedies of school shootings that seemed to start with Columbine and is now an everyday occurence throughout the country. School shootings are now so common that they are rarely reported on outside of their local area. Many of these tragedies are traced back to ridicule, teasing, and put downs that a student suffers at the hands of his fellow students. Then on top of the initial tragedy, the ripples spread out causing pain and destruction to all those around. Read here the story of yet another tragedy caused by the mayhem unleashed by the teasing and ridiculing of two young boys at Columbine High.
Something must be done to help the children who are trapped in such a difficult atmosphere - one that stifles and tears down children. An atmosphere of encouragement, support, and growth needs to be fostered in schools. We may not be able to save every child from the heart-rending pain that can be so destructive, but we must try.
To deter but one child from being harassed or put down means you are making a difference and will help that child feel safer and more worthwhile.