Lessons Summary

Orientation Video: this is a must-watch guide for progressing properly through the course. This video is considered essential for students and mentors (and is highly recommended for parents), and may be watched as many times as necessary before and during the course.

Module 1: Recognize. Lessons 1 – 5

Lesson 1, “What Bullying is Not” launches the first of three umbrella topic modules: Recognize. This lesson sets the stage by carefully defining some basic terms through descriptions of what bullying is not. Some children misunderstand the difference between bullying and forms of non-bullying interaction with peers. And many bulliers will deliberately muddy the discussion with a clever mixing of terms (“I was only kidding/teasing/joking.”). This video lesson leaves no room for misunderstanding or evasive language as it clarifies that it is not bullying when the mood and energy of the actors is mutual.

Lesson 2, “What Bullying IS” communicates the emotional damage done by mean or bullying behavior through explanation & then symbolic representations of each individual’s ‘well-being’. Whether physical or not, bullying damages the well-being of another, and indeed harms the bullier himself! In this lesson it is presented as fact that while accidents are not bullying, bullying is never an accident.

Lesson 3 temporarily sets aside the primacy of physical bullying in favor of the more insidious forms. “The Weapons Bulliers Use” explains the destructive similarity among the use of mean words, mean actions, and threats. All three are here declared to be weapons that serve only to deliberately attack and damage another person’s well-being while inadvertently also damaging the well-being of the attacker.

Lesson 4, “Affirmations” is about healing and self-appreciation. Here the student is introduced to the healing power of positive self-talk. Kind statements about ourselves and others “…allow our mind to hear our heart and our heart to hear our mind,” establishing a link between the person our heart tells us we really are and the behaviors we choose, that others see. It is emphasized throughout the course that bullying is also harmful to the bullier, who needs to stop the behaviors that are damaging him as well.

Lesson 5, “What Doctors Can’t Fix” emphasizes the difficulty in repairing the damage that bullying can do, and places duty & responsibility for this difficulty where it belongs—upon the bullier. Bulliers often believe that an apology is sufficient atonement for their misdeeds, and that the target of their violence is duty-bound to accept it. In this lesson apologies are shown to be of no benefit or value unless they are delivered in complete sincerity. Insincere apologies are discredited, and it is endorsed that the target of one’s bullying remains free to dismiss an apology offered, even if sincere.

Module 2: Acknowledge. Lessons 6 – 9

Lesson 6, “You’re Not The Boss of Me” leads off the umbrella topic in module 2: Acknowledge. Independent choice-making is discussed here, and all behavior is declared to be the result of choices made by the individual himself, alone. But alternate choices can be adopted at any time, new behaviors chosen as a result, and deliberate change is always the power at hand. Others may make choice-making more difficult, but we are alone in taking responsibility for our choice-induced behaviors.

Lesson 7, “Managing Outside Influences” provides a starting point for young people to begin resisting peer expectations and demands that do not match their own value set. The approach here is to initiate the task of “Crafting a Personal Code”; continuing on the personal choice-themed lesson 6, this lesson initiates an examination about the source of our choices, and involves the student, the mentor, and the family as they mine for the fundamental set of values that guide the student’s family and himself. Examples might be “Treat others as you want to be treated,” “Hurting others is wrong,” etc. We all have a personal code, each different, unique and valid—the danger is in not knowing what it is when an important and difficult decision must be made.

Lesson 8, “Managing Inside Influences – Our Thoughts In Knots” uses the metaphor of tangled brain circuitry to conceptualize destructive habits of thinking. The metaphor provides an abstract ‘externalizing’ of poor choices (“…the data knot made me think that way.”) though it’s made clear that the elimination of the tangled knots is the sole responsibility of each individual. Bulliers often act out in anger over situations that in fact are innocent and misunderstood to be a challenge or a threat. This lesson explores the notion of various points-of-view in any situation, and proper perspective-taking as a necessary skill for personal power and social appropriateness.

Lesson 9, “The Hot Knots” again uses the metaphor of tangled brain circuitry as it identifies & classifies the three lies practicing bulliers tell. “Bulliers lie; they have to or they can’t be bulliers.” To their own emotional and developmental detriment successful bulliers often come to believe that they are in fact too clever for the easily-muddled adults in their world. Deception, decoy, and disguise; these three common methods of avoiding the truth are brought into the light and recognized as the give-away markers of guilt that they are.

Module 3: Restore. Lessons 10 – 12

Lesson 10, “Bully is a Behavior, Not a Boy” launches the umbrella topic in module 3: Restore. This lesson strips away any identification with the label “bully”, and thus frees the student to re-identify himself as a caring individual. Note the distinction between a bully and a bullier according to us: A bullier (someone deliberately behaving in an unkind manner) is someone who may bully (a behavior) someone else, but they are no longer a bullier once that behavior stops. Bully—when used to identify a person—is a static label, one that may endure within the self-concept and sabotage efforts at positive behavioral changes.

Lesson 11, “Manners are Mighty” gives students a set of guidelines for now showing a desire to make better choices, emphasizing that manners are demonstrations of respect for others and will draw the attention and respect of others in kind. The notion that “To be respected you must treat others with respect,” informs the lesson as manners are shown to be the entirely free and heavily empowering gifts that they are.

Lesson 12, “From Bullier to Barrier” introduces the word and the meaning of the word “compassion”. Compassion urges and inspires us to help others who are hurt, helpless, lonely, embarrassed, or who may be the target of a bullier, and through demonstrations of caring we rebuild and develop a deeper level of empathy. These demonstrations of caring are one’s personal code on display, and there’s no need to tell what can better and more clearly be shown by/in action.