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Being Nice

Day after day we hear horrible stories of what goes on in high schools and how students cope with bullying. The cyber world, which I celebrate as it keeps me in touch with almost-lost high school friends and newly-minted grandchildren, is not always put to work for the good.

I read, aghast, about the way twitter and FB are used to isolate and terrify kids. I wonder whether Twitterverse isn’t the island that William Golding talked about in Lord of the Flies. When I read that book in college in the 70s I rolled my eyes, secure in my knowledge of humanity’s basic goodness. There’s nothing quite like privilege, is there? After all, I’d been growing up during the 60s in the years of the most heinous race riots and somehow still believed that clapping for Tinkerbelle was what it took.

Years later, I still cling to my Pollyanna worldview. I believe, when encouraged, we move toward the best in us. (it was only slightly discouraging when referencing pollyanna to have one group of information about Eleanor Porter’s 1915 novel and the other bit about “disambiguation” which is a synonym for my preternatural cheery optimism.) Once more with feeling “Let’s all look on the bright side of life…”

But looking away doesn’t help anything, especially our bullied and frightened kids. So it was a lovely thing to read about a 17 yo kid in Osseo MN taking to Twitter to shut down the mean girls and boys in his school who were using social media to terrorize and traumatize. Kudos for Kevin Curwick (and his parents who raised a great kid!). A cute, popular kid, leading the kindness brigade. Or as he says, OsseoNiceThings — goodness gracious are we going to rehabilitate the word nice, make it more than icky-sweet? He just set about noticing kids and posting what was great about them. Day after day, tweet after tweet. A young man doing his kindness reps. And Hurrah! for the kids at other schools are doing the same thing to combat bullying. If we’re going to trend and hashtag, let’s do it for the good. Hop on that bus, my dears.

And while we’re cheering, let’s hear it for the kids who are participating in Lady Gaga’s Kindness Campaign and for Office Depot and their president Patrick Schwartzenegger’s support and Cyndi Lauper’s “Give a Damn” campaign. It’s good to see people with klout taking a lead on this issue.

Makes me wonder what you’re doing for the good about bullying. Wander over to our FB page, like us, and tell me what you’re up to.

In the meantime give it up for Kevin. Thanks to him, at least in Osseo, MN, we’re no longer listening to the sound of one hand clapping, we’re listening to a rousing round of applause from every student in his school. (Although someone might want to know if was using his cell in school, but that’s the principal’s problem! I’m just happy someone’s doing what’s right. ) So, while I’ll keep working for change, I’m going to keep clapping for Tinkerbelle. Sometimes the light just shines brighter. I do believe the more you focus on what is right, the more we move toward that. But we should stop once in a while to see who’s not in the parade with us and invite them to come along. Go Kevin!