It is time to explore and reflect on one of society’s dominant questions – what creates a bully. This is so we can begin to eliminate what is now an exhausting, increasing crisis everywhere.
This break down will include facts I found important about the brain that helped me piece together logical, successful solutions to co-operation and respect. I encourage readers and session attendees to research books on the brain and child development and highlight what you feel is helpful, and experience, as I did, a surge of empowerment, encouragement and hope that bullying CAN stop! Understanding the brain IS behavior and what parts of the brain control our emotions and our behavior helped me decrease stress and improve my personal and professional relationships. – with adults and children!
This news piece will concentrate on the mantra of A Life in Pieces, a fact that I discovered long before reading about the brain or any scientific facts about human behavior. “I am all I need to be,” a reflection of the innate goodness existing in children, is the heart of A Life in Pieces. The thought that children ARE innately good, seeing the world as one, with all people viewed the same, is a fact I intuitively discovered well before I finalized and began presenting A Life in Pieces. I did not create A Life in Pieces out of a fascination to learn more about the brain, or to challenge the bully epidemic, I created it through personal experience, resulting in an awakening for myself and for my family. So imagine the joy I felt when discovering well into the growth of A Life in Pieces, that innate greatness is a fact shared and exclaimed by many, from peace activists, teachers, parents and many more. Neuro-scientists like Bruce Perry (“The Boy Raised by Dogs”) and brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor (“My Stroke of Insight”), describe the innate greatness of children and explain how an altered state (inappropriate behavior) is often, perhaps most likely caused by the environment the child (or adult) is in – how are we treated by others? In comparing facts about the right brain (RB) and left brain (LB), and through exploration of child development (stages of brain growth), I realized the process of A Life in Pieces is conducive to calm and peace and clearly demonstrates why we have “bad” behavior.
Children, living essentially in the RB, enter life not judgmental, racist, aggressive, but as kind, open-minded spirits ready to explore the world. There is the inherent understanding they are capable of following rules without being told or trained to do so. As seen in this puzzle creation by a teenage girl developing her character and understanding of herself, she claims I AM UNWRITTEN, meaning understood and accepted by everyone, although not formally established. This says to those who know her “I am going to be kind, respectful and observant of others naturally. You do not have to write these expectations down, nor instruct me in their meaning.” Basically, returning to the fact I AM all I need to be. This is of great benefit to recognize in any and all environments because it sets the mood/emotion for the day, being one of calm (I AM good), acceptance (I WILL follow the rules naturally) and safety (no fear of insult or humiliating judgment). Calm, acceptance and safety assure good behavior/positive feelings, as children function by the feeling/emotional part of their brain – the amygdala. This is the part that is developed at birth, ready to absorb all the emotion that happens around the child, affecting who the child becomes. With phrases like YOU ARE GOOD!, the behavior of the child is guided by the smile on my face, the joy in my voice, the enthusiasm of my body language and importantly the trust given by me that they are all they need to be. My day is filled with harmony and energized by children giving their best.
In comparison, with phrases like BE GOOD, accompanied with expectations like RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF CLASSROOM RULES = Sit quietly; Listen to person explaining rules; Say and learn the rules; Obey the rules (read more on rules in the post Dare to Challenge) stress begins to creep in unconsciously because this requires the thinking part of the brain, hippocampus, and the ability to think in a linear, logical fashion. Children’s brains are not capable of this because this part of the brain is not developed. (more interesting facts for you to explore!)
I leave you with a statement of success for home or at school/daycare – “Today is another wonderful day! All of you are extraordinary, kind and gentle (definitions for good) and so you will be respectful of each other and of me. Thank you!” Now have a great day!