An Anti-Bullying Video For Parents Worth Watching ImmediatelyJanuary 22, 2015
This morning I saw a video about bullying that I felt needed to be shared. The short, 6-minute documentary is titled “Opening Doors and Hearts”, and it profiles a young man named Josh and his struggle to find social acceptance in a new school. Initially withdrawn and seemingly unnoticed, Josh begins holding the door for anyone and everyone he encounters. It eventually becomes a way that he gets noticed by his peers, and recognized in a positive way. As you will see in the video it eventually leads to him becoming a minor celebrity in his local community, and even someone who changes the culture of his entire school. Take a look at this short film.
I found what Josh did in this video – finding a way to create a defined role for himself in a new social situation – to be very powerful. Though he clearly didn’t set out to do so, by making a point to hold the door for people, he crafted a new persona for himself. In doing so he changed how he was defined in his school community, and eventually forged peer social connections that he was so sorely lacking in his life.
What Josh stumbled upon is a solution for bullying. It’s not a fix-all, and it certainly won’t work in every dynamic, but it certainly transformed both his time spent in his high school, and his perception of himself. On his own he reframed what others thought of him (or the fact that people didn’t even notice him) by creating a new position of responsibility. I’m curious what other novel approaches people have used to change a challenging social situation. Did you use humor or your strength in sports? Did you find that it helped to prove yourself to the group, or did you disregard the popular crowd and find acceptance somewhere else? I’m curious to know what you have seen work, and what has not.
We say that our summer camp in New Hampshire is an intentional community. This means that we try to examine and analyze every aspect of what we do, from activities to bunk life to meals to how we interact with each other throughout the calendar year. In doing so we strive to create the most developmentally impactful summer camp experience possible, and foster a community that is both physically and emotionally safe for all of its members. It also means that we are constantly searching for new tools to help our campers grow to become quality leaders, empathetic people, and creative problem solvers. Creative problem solvers like Josh.
This summer I will be showing this video to our staff during training and asking them the question “are you prepared to help each and every camper find their special role in our community?” I want them to visualize what it is like to be in a place, and how important it is for everyone to be noticed and valued. Everyone should have the opportunity to be the door holder.