Storytelling: An Antidote to Bullying
How can we get children and young adults to care enough about their “different” peers, so they understand the power of the words they use and the impact their behavior has on others? In listening to stories, we find common human emotions: anger, shame, fear, love, loneliness, pride, victory. We come to understand that no matter what we look like, what clothes we wear, what language we speak, we are all one and connected, we all have similar feelings.
Once, in an African village a mother overheard a boy calling his brother hurtful names. She called to the boy and said to him. “go into the kitchen and bring the jug of cow’s milk to me.” The boy did as she told him and she took the jug from his hands and poured the precious milk into the earth. The boy watched horrified as she poured their hard earned milk into the ground.
His mother looked at him and said, “now I want you to pick up all the milk and put it back in the jug.”
“But Mother, there is no way to gather the milk, it has disappeared in the soil and can’t be put back in.”
“Well my son, the same is true for those hurtful names that you called your brother. Once they are out there they cannot be taken back. It is the same as the milk that cannot be put back in the jug.”
Working through stories, rather than lecture format, students get to experience a “lesson” by using their imagination, opening their hearts to see others as they see would like to be seen. Feel the power of storytelling as it shines a light on our daily dramas and brings out the fundamental humanity in us all.
Stories teach us and inform us of ourselves and reminds us of our commonality.