My blog is taking a different approach this week as I was deeply touched by an event in Airdrie early this week. I read about Caitlyn Prater-Haacke and her brave, positive response to an incident of a mean comment left on her iPad in her locker at school. We’re not aware if there’s a history of bullying between Caitlyn and this person. I was reminded of my own school experiences of bullying through the latter part of elementary and junior high. It ebbed and flowed…some days were much worse than others. I learned to fly below the radar. Intuitively, I knew that I’d be away from these people soon enough. I had my extra-curricular activities and good friendships in other places. And I had my books…often my lunch hours were spent reading in the hallway. My world was the imaginary world of strong, moral heroines who I wanted to emulate.
Caitlyn’s kindness in thinking of other people who may have been the target of this person’s nastiness impressed me a great deal. Rather than escaping into feelings of victimhood, she moved beyond that to think of her community of fellow students. She wanted to create a place where love would overcome the hate. Thinking of my own past dealings with bullying, I never thought much of the other students and what they may have felt or been subjected to. I assumed that I was the only target but I’m sure that wasn’t the case. I regret that I didn’t come out of my shell to show these bullies that I was bigger than their actions. It certainly would have floored them. Yet, would I have had the courage to help my fellow students look beyond the negative behavior of others and see the beauty instead?
By her simple actions with the post it notes, Caitlyn showed no rancor or anger rather a deep desire to make others feel special. Did she know who the person was who sent the mean message? We’re not aware from the article. Maybe she did know. I like to think she put a note on that person’s locker, too. Perhaps this act of love and acceptance will help this person move beyond the hate and seek real reconciliation. In honor of her actions, a FaceBook page was created (the Positive Post-It Campaign) dedicated to spreading positive comments at home, school, or work all written on post it notes!! The number of followers is increasing daily.
My hope is that people who are experiencing bullying behavior will have the fortitude to see beyond their difficult circumstances. They have family members; dear friends who love them. Through this sense of being carried by so much affection, they can be strong and reach out to others. Caitlyn obviously has a wonderful network of family and friends who gave her the courage of her convictions to create a wonderful school community. A YouTube video that she created showing gratitude to those who were moved by her experience is on the FaceBook page.
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