October is National Bullying Prevention Month, making it a perfect time to really dig into what to do about bullying.
This article flips the conversation from focusing on those who bully, to those who take action to stomp out bullying by spreading kindness.
Before we go any further, I don't want you to miss this:
If you know me well, you know that I think that anytime is actually a good time to discuss this topic.
And you also know that my take on this topic is ... non-traditional.
I have found that real change with bullying online and off will only occur when you:
- Agree that this is all of our issue
- Delve into this topic head on and
- Flip the conversation from "anti-bullying" to "pro kindness"
All of my work is based on these three premises.
Today, I'm going to tell you what happened when I reached out to dozens and dozens of authors and asked them one simple question:
Would you be willing to give away one copy of your book for no other reason than to stand up for kindness?
The resounding answer was, as you may have guessed from this article title, "yes."
So I'm also going to tell you:
- Why I'm creating this list
- Why I titled it what I did
- What you can do with it
- And what it has to do with anti bullying, pro kindness, and you
It's worthwhile to start at the very beginning
In October 2015, for National Bullying Prevention Month, I blogged every single day about kindness that I had found online.
I wanted to flip the conversation from anti bullying to pro kindness.
I also wanted to shine a light on the good that people were doing.
I had a theory that if you choose to focus on and share the good things, the positive things would become so normal, that it would be the negative things that would stand out in your news feeds.
They would seem out of context and strange, rather than the other way around.
I worried that as a society, we had become numb
42% of kids are cyber bullied.
81% of kids report thinking that it would be easier to get away with cyber bullying than in-person bullying.
And cyber bullied kids are 2-9% more likely to attempt suicide than their non-bullied peers.
These are the statists that struck me the hardest when I first started delving into this topic.
They stuck with me because while they saddened me, they didn't shock me.
Bullying stories were in my news feeds daily.
I had a sense of just how prevalent bullying still was even though bullying prevention programs had been around since I was in school.
And I suspected that as a society, we had become so used to hearing stories of online bullying and cruelty, that we shrugged our shoulders passively when we heard about them.
And I thought that this was dangerous.
What I learned
I'm happy to report that my experiment did work the way that I wanted it to.
As the month went on, it became easier and easier to find the positive stories to share. And not only that, but people began sending them to me.
I don't believe that the number of stories about positive things going on in the world was increasing. But rather, my noticing of them became more heightened.
And the only simple—and 100% replicable—reason that this happened for me was that I was refocusing on the good.
And the negative stories?
Well, they definitely still prevailed.
But they seemed absolutely crazy amidst all of the goodness that I was sharing. As they should, right?
My hope was to normalize kindness and "oddify" online cruelty and bullying
And that's exactly what I did within my community.
Taking things a step further
This year, I wanted to do something again to take my focus from the negative to the positive; from anti-bullying to pro-kindness.
But I also wanted to nudge my focus, to our focus.
If I could do this, couldn't anyone?
I decided to find out.
I asked authors to give away one copy of their books in the name of kindness.
Because my gut said that three things were true:
Refocusing on kindness is really powerful
In a world where you can choose to stand up for anything, standing up for kindness is being a change-maker.
And in a world where social sharing extends your message in a breath taking way, you can use this fact as a chance to do something good.
What this does for your child
Refocusing on kindness tells your child clearly and directly what you value. The message doesn't get muddled with any others and the directions are extremely clear.
Sharing stories of others who are practicing kindness also shows your child that there are real, live, successful people out there who value kindness.
And last, this creates a clear line from your child to role models who are choosing to make a difference.
So what can you personally do with a list of authors who stand for kindness?
And, importantly, talk about why you're sharing them.
Pretty simple, right?
Now another question you might be asking yourself is what in the world can you do with 45 books?!
I, of course, have some ideas for that, too:
- Read them. It's so often our words that can thread us together.
- Holiday shopping, done. There's nothing like the gift of books.
- Donate them. My heart melts every single time a book is given as a gift. Go melt some hearts!
- Give them away as Random Acts of Kindness. Can you imagine peoples' faces as you did this?!
- Be more purposeful in your acts of kindness and give away specific books to specific people. It's the act of getting to know each other that lessens our capability to be cruel and heightens our ability to be kind.
There is one thing that I want you to do right now to take action and stand up for kindness.
Look through the list below, take in these authors, bookmark their blogs and their books for later.
And if you choose to read one of these books, drop the author a note and a review.
Their blogs are all linked as well. I can't even begin to tell you how much this means to an author.
So now, the fun part. Let's dig in.
Alexa Bigwarfe & Kerry Rivera
Blog: Lose The Cape
"We try to be super every day, but we don't aspire to be supermom because she simply does not exist. We think it's time for all moms to join together and Lose the Cape."
Blog: Amalie Jahn, Author
"In Amalie Jahn's tale about destiny and sibling love, older sister Brooke risks everything and everyone she loves to try and save the life of her younger brother. An early lesson in loyalty, protection, and unbreakable faith among siblings."
Blog: Ann's Rants
"Irreverent, thought-provoking, hilarious, and edgy: a collection of personal stories celebrating motherhood, featuring #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jenny Lawson and Jennifer Weiner, and many other notable writers."
Avital Norman Nathman
Blog: Avital Norman Nathman
"Refreshingly honest, frequently funny, and overall intelligently self-reflective, these voices reassure the anxious and guilt-ridden that 'there is no such thing as a good mother. There is only the good enough mother."
Blog: Carla Naumberg, PhD
"Full of wise, playful, and effective strategies ... if every parent picked up this book, we'd have a lot happier families."
Blog: The Mom Cafe
"Christine inspires with thoughtful and motivating insights from her own experiences, explaining the value of letting go and receiving help—two challenging concepts every woman faces."
Blog: Christine Organ
"Christine Organ not only talks about faith and spirituality, she lives it, digging into each experience with a contagious curiosity and passion ... As you turn the last page of this book, you'll be inspired to step out of your own box, unpack your baggage and weave your own story of sacred connection with the gossamer threads of grace, wonder and everyday miracles."
Blog: Ask Doctor G
"Get the Behavior You Want ... Without Being the Parent You Hate! is a roadmap of quick, concrete strategies to help parents use everyday opportunities to create respectful, responsible, and resilient children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years without screaming or nagging."
Ellie S. Grossman
Blog: Mishegas of Motherhood
"Mi-she-gas (pronounced mish•eh•GOSS) is a Yiddish word that literally means insanity or madness, but is used more playfully in this award-winning humor book to describe how children drive their parents crazy (and vice versa)."
Blog: Minivan Momma
"Her stories will not only have you holding your sides with laughter, but inviting your own parents to live with you. Or maybe not."
Janet Sasson Edgette
"The Last Boys Picked" is an important and relevant addition to the parenting bookshelf. It offers insightful and practical advice for helping all boys—those who don't play sports as well as those that do—navigate the somewhat difficult journey of boyhood."
Book: Chosen Quarry
"Chosen Quarry kept me guessing at every turn. I absolutely loved the strong female protagonist and the fact she didn't suffer from any of the traditional foibles writers try to assign to women ... I read the entire book in one sitting, only raising my head at 2am when the last page was turned."
Blog: Jordan Rosenfeld
"A Writer's Guide to Persistence is your road map through the rugged terrain of the writer's path. You'll discover advice and techniques for cultivating a fruitful, deeply meaningful writing life by practicing your craft, polishing your work, and persisting through even the toughest challenges."
Blog: Julie Burton
"Burton's instructional guide to self-care for mothers is full of tips and techniques, and long on understanding and empathy."
Kate St. Vincent Vogl
Blog: Kate St. Vincent Vogl
"For anyone who's ever lost—or maybe even found—a mother. I swore I'd never let my birthmother into my life, but then Mom died of ovarian cancer and my birthmother, Val, found me through my mom's obituary. Hard to argue with fate. Still harder to let go of childhood promises, even when you discover everything you dreamed of being in part of who you are."
Blog: Practical Parenting
"The Happy Kid Handbook is a must-read for parents who want joyful households without all the stress of 'perfect' parenting."
Blog: Katrina Kenison
“Katrina Kenison beckons readers into her world and proves to be an insightful guide and companion through the vicissitudes of life.”
Katrina Anne Willis
Book: Parting Gifts: A Novel
"In Parting Gifts, Willis paints the portrait of three sisters with careful and exacting strokes. All three women are seeking to overcome their own personal and shared tragedies, and you will become attached to each one of them as they make their way back home to each other."
Lisa Dannenfeldt and Liz Fenton
Blog: Liz & Lisa
"Liz and Lisa's voices are warm and comforting, like a relaxed chat with great friends while wearing cozy PJ's and sipping wine. Highly recommend."
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler
Blog: Science Of Parenthood
"Science of Parenthood is a laugh-put-loud funny in a totally non-daunting format. (Sorry, every other unread book on my nightstand!)"
Rachel Macy Stafford
Blog: Hands Free Mama
"Discover what happens when you choose to open your heart—and your hands—to the possibilities of each God-given moment."
Blog: Fearless Formula Feeder
"Impassioned, well-reasoned, and thoroughly researched, Bottled Up asks us to think with more nuance and compassion about whether breastfeeding should remain the holy grail of good parenthood."
Blog: Victoria Fedden
"A scandalously funny memoir about starting a new family while taking care of the felonious one you've already got."
Well there you have it. 45 women who are putting their money where their mouths are, their books where you are, positivity where negativity is, and kindness where bullying is.
AUTHOR: GALIT BREEN
Hi, I'm Galit. (*My name is pronounced guh-leet + means little waves, like in the ocean.) I give you the tools you need to let your kids benefit from the amazing things the online world has to offer them and create a popsicle dripping, chapter book reading (in one sitting!), leaf crunching childhood that they deserve. Welcome, I'm so glad you're here. What can you expect from me? I spill it all right here.