Somewhere out there is Laura. I don’t know anything about her except that she wrote this poignant poem titled “I Am”. The poem has been used in anti bullying campaigns around the world, and today I’d like to share it with you.
I am the person you bullied in school I am the one who didn't know how to be cool I am the person you alienated I am the person you ridiculed and hated
I am the person who sat on their own I am the person who walked home alone I am the person you scared every day I am the person who had nothing to say
I am the person with hurt in their eyes I am the person you never saw cry I am the person living alone with their fears I am the person destroyed by their peers
I am the person who drowned in your scorn I am the person who wished they hadn't been born I am the person whose name you don't know I am the person who just can't let go
I am the person destroyed for 'fun' I am the person, but not the only one I am the person who had feelings too ..and I am a person, JUST LIKE YOU!!!
This poem evokes immense empathy by the preponderance of those who read it. The dictionary defines empathy as“understanding” or “a deep emotional understanding of another’s feelings or problems”. Having researched the value of emotional and social intelligence (ESI) skills in our youth, I can tell you that development of empathy as a key competency renders positive results for personal satisfaction and healthy relationships. Though some believe that empathy is innate, I’m with the majority and believe that empathy can, and should be, taught to children at the earliest cognitive opportunity. I envision empathy as a tool for carving out a kinder world in which there is diminished bullying and a population of children that is happier to the core. Reading this poem with your kids and creating dialogue of what it must be like to be a bullied person is one approach to create awareness and fruitful action, but we need more.
Please contribute to our comments section and share your positive ideas or rewarding personal stories on how we, as a community can increase empathy to decrease bullying of any kind. Then, consider sharing the article with anyone and everyone you know who can make a difference at home and beyond. Ask them to participate too. It does take a village!