Back To School With Intention
July 31, 2018
By Steve Hahn, PCCT – Anti-Bullying Collaboration Director
With two teenagers in the house set to return to school on August 15th, the count-down is on to get as much “fun” in as we can before the first hour bell calls our kids back into session. I’ll have to admit I’ve been not so fun this summer either. So I am trying to gain ground in this department before summer is over. I am proud to report, however, that we are 90% done with our back to school clothes shopping! We spent this past Sunday at a local Tulsa retailer picking out shoes, cool shoes, for the kid’s return to school. Our 15 year old son got a pair of $75 Nike’s which were on sale for $63 – I can appreciate a good sale. I believe most parents appreciate a good sale. . .
But there was something deep inside speaking silently to me as I helped steer my son toward the sale rack, something that made me returned to the 15 year old kid I used to be. I remember my shoes growing up, and that my shoes were never name brand. I remember my thoughts as other kids asked me, “Hey, what kind of shoes are those?” It wasn’t because they thought my shoes were cool; it was because they were making fun of me and my brand-less new shoes with a laugh. I was belittled on many first days of school, for many years, so much that it caused me to be embarrassed of the good things my parents worked so hard to provide.
As I looked down at those $63 Nike’s on Sunday, I literally thought of all the kids who would be facing peer criticism and bullying during their first few days of school because of the pressure to show-up wearing the latest fashion trends. I’d like to point out that this issue applies to both male and female genders and extends well beyond clothing. We could have the same discussion about clothing and equipment for any youth sport or extra-curricular activity and so on.
As we start the new school year and send our kids back to school dressed for the occasion, let’s be certain to talk with our children about the importance of valuing people for who are and not what they have or their ability to fit in socially based on appearance. As parents, we must understand this notion might be difficult for our kids to truly embrace especially if they are older and have been guided by principles established by peers and the influential power of the media. None-the-less, it is our role as parents to help guide our children through this maze. Other kids are counting on it. Will you join us in the discussion?
Learn more about signs of bullying on KTUL Channel 8’s website.
PCCT has formed a partnership with KTUL to spread awareness of this important topic.