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March, 2013:SOS to the Youth!

            Today we will focus on a single topic.  The world today is often a violent place, especially for youth.  We know that violence can beget violence and one of the best ways to help prevent violent future behavior is to start with the youngest and guide them away from it.  March 18-22 this year is National Youth Violence Prevention Week.  http://nationalsave.org  offers recommendations:
Five Things Role Models SHOULD Do In Front of the Students/Youth
This is advice from SAVE’s How We Hate, Why We Hurt: A Guide for Parents, Educators, and Other Every Day Role Models.
    Think Out Loud. Let students hear how you evaluate arguments, challenge your own and others’ ideas, and formulate worthy conclusions about your world.
    Practice The Rule of Two. Always note two distinct traits about a person, never just one (Jane is smart and beautiful) to steer students away from stereotyping.
    Call People Names – Their Own Names. Learn and use the names of people you regularly interact with (clerks, postal carriers, etc.) to remind students of the value of every individual.
    Cultivate Your Curiosity. Explore new places and cultures. Reach out to meet new people. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Assumptions based on ignorance hurt; questions that seek truth always help.
    Replace “Them” With “Us.” When faced with an issue or situation that normally inspires you to say “Well, they should…” or “Well, those people always…” substitute we/us for them. ” What can we do to solve this?” “What have we done to contribute to this problem?” Not only is this empowering, but it also reminds us that we are united by our shared humanity.
Five Things Role Models SHOULD NOT Do In Front of the Students/Youth
    Stereotype a Student’s Peers. Resist the temptation to think in terms of “good kids” and “bad kids.” Avoid the kind of clique-driven thinking  pervasive at school; avoid terms like “nerd” or “preppie.”
    Scapegoat a Student’s Behavior. Try not to “protect” a student /child by blaming their behavior on a peer, a school policy, or popular culture. Such tactics by adults teach a student how to scapegoat and damage a student’s sense of self-respect by making them feel powerless.
    Label Actions Instead of People. Hitting is bad; Mike is not. By providing students with commentary on actions (instead of actors) you will help them avoid fear of “the other” throughout their lives.
    Cling To Your Clique. Get to know people with careers, cultures, and interests unique from your own. Bring together friends from diverse backgrounds to create a richly textured network of people.

    Stay Silent. No matter how disapproving you may be on the inside, your outward silence in the face of a hateful comment or joke tells a student that you approve.