Bullying awareness is pretty popular – in presentations, professional development, conferences, and school assemblies.  AND it’s important.  AND we seem to, after decades, only be scratching the surface.  AND the “right” people don’t seem to be at the table.  Probably a correlation between not getting far and who’s at the table, eh? Certainly a correlation to willingness.

There ARE research-based, effective skills and strategies that help decrease the likelihood, the incidence, and the impact of bullying for individuals and systems.  They are doable in real ways that don’t have to be “one more thing” for educators; that can be integrated into business management seamlessly.

That information and the ability to implement those tools requires more than an assembly, more than understanding the definition, the statistics, and the stories.  I have programs and opportunities that create success with those very tools systemically – within classrooms, schools, districts, communities, and corporations.  AND it requires a commitment and a potential paradigm shift.

The challenge?  


Yes, getting that information into the hands of the people who need it most is a perpetual challenge of finding ways to rise above the din of our over-information age. But that’s only a fraction of the real challenge.

Willingness is the one thing over which I have no control. I can only control my own willingness.

I willingly provide professional development for educators, parents, corporations, and community-based businesses on anti-bullying: giving stats, information, and details; acquiring the tools; understanding and applying respect and equity across the system, etc. Best of all, it mostly works.

Why mostly? Because there are so many layers to willingness.

The people who take advantage of the in-depth work I do are “the choir;” those people who are already doing everything they can, who have embraced the idea that there is something more that can happen, those that have stepped to the plate to do the best they can for those engaged in the bullying process every day.  They are often the progressive, enlightened educators, parents, business people, and community members who want to improve their practice and their understanding to offer the best possible outcome for all involved.

Yet, when my work comes to an end, I am often confronted with the limiting beliefs that plague even the choir, the limiting beliefs that reflect their willingness.

“Should we really use the word “bullying” with students/colleagues/employees? Won’t they be confused and call everything bullying?”

That’s why there is a very specific, four-part definition of bullying. It’s how we help people differentiate between other negative, disrespectful behaviors and bullying. We have to be willing to teach, remind, and reteach those new definitions and skills.

“We don’t have the time to implement all of this. There’s so much time consumed by X, Y, or Z (whatever the industry demands).”

There’s no way to change how much time is available. We can change our priorities, habits, and/or systems to allow, support, and nurture what needs to change. We need to be willing to make the time to make the change, otherwise, change won’t happen.

While I commend those who show up to DO the work, many do not.

There are those who show up to do the seat time, then apply nothing and complain that nothing changes. Often those who complain the loudest about the issue are scarce in the room or never apply what they’ve learned. Some aren’t even willing to consider the learning opportunity.

“Why should we pay in time and money to have professional development about bullying that doesn’t work anyway?”

The question to really ask is, what training do we need that will teach us how to make the appropriate changes in our system to eliminate bullying AND are we willing to do it once we learn it?

Sometimes feels as if the people who really need it most aren’t there or are just marking seat time.

Perhaps it really is the excuses most common – the time, the location, the heat, the food…..  People don’t have the time for things that aren’t a priority.

That’s an important thought. Read it again.

People don’t have the time for things that aren’t a priority.

Maybe it’s something even deeper.  Perhaps it is their own expectation that there really isn’t anything we can do.  Perhaps they believe it isn’t their work.  I’d love more data….  I just haven’t been able to find it.

Maybe it’s about the expectation of what happens in schools and boardrooms, on playgrounds and in office cubbies.  After all, bullying has been around a long time.  Perhaps it is about a reflection back onto individuals (and schools, and corporations) who lead or are led by bullying.  They believe it is how the world works and have no expectation of the exception.

Where’s your willingness? How do you show up? Do you show up?

How do we get more people to the table and willing?

What gets you there?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

With Respect,

Leah R. Kyaio

Leah is actively engaged in Educational Consulting, providing Professional Development Training, Executive Coaching & Consulting, Instructional Coaching & Mentoring, and Organizational Development. All of her work is through the lens of creating environments of equity and respect where learning is fun and functional. Contact her for more information about what she has to offer.