“I never thought doing something so simple could be so rewarding”,
This was a comment made by Josh Yandt, a Canadian high school student who overcame bullying through a proactive, and simple, act of
There are so many lessons to be learned in Josh’s experience: lessons in servitude, lessons in humility, lessons in kindness, and lessons in leadership—yes, leadership. And all this came out of a way to combat bullying.
In the United States, statistics showing that 1 in 4 students are bullied on a regular basis. In another study that looked at all participants in regular bullying—either as a victim or a bully—that number grew to 30%. Consider those who are bullied on an occasional, or infrequent, basis, and that number grows much more significantly. Bullying takes place through various means—physical, verbal, and even cyber.
To any parent, though, even one instance of bullying would be considered excessive.
Here’s the shocking statistic, though: in 85% of the cases, the school—either the teacher or an
administrator—does nothing to intervene to prevent the bullying incidents from happening. Therefore, if you are a parent whose child is a victim of bullying, there is a high likelihood that nothing is being done to protect their child.
The lesson of Josh Yandt is one of taking a proactive measure to prevent a problem from happening.
But when you consider what this seemingly measure was so effective across a broad audience at the school, it’s because of one thing: leadership. Whether Josh thought consciously about it or not, he demonstrated multiple attributes of a leader.
So what were those attributes?
Consider Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a staple of every leader’s reading library.
Josh exemplified two of the seven habits.
“Be proactive, not reactive”.
Josh was proactive. Josh didn’t react to a situation—he knew reaction was a recipe for disaster, as he had learned from his previous school. Adolescent boys, especially, aren’t particularly empathetic to those going through personal struggle. So after his father died and Josh clearly struggled with holding in his sadness, others around him attacked him when he was the most vulnerable. Reacting to the bullying didn’t help matters. At his new school, though, he took the first step and forced everyone to react to him. Sure it caught people off-guard. But in the end, he impacted the behaviors of the people around him in amazing ways.
The simple act of opening doors and keeping them open, on the surface, was a clear win-win. Very simply, Josh instigated an act of good will and courtesy—thereby deflecting any possible negative action from others, and those who entered or exited the room experienced the convenience of passing through without any disruption. That’s a win-win. However, the win-win extended in a profound way, where those around Josh actually were actually bootstrapped to much higher levels of empathy and consideration for others. And the “wins” from Josh’s point-of-view kept piling up. Josh gained friends and admirers—so much so that he even became prom king. A few years before this experience, Josh could have never imagined of reaching such heights in popularity or esteem.
While Josh’s experience is truly unique, schools that embrace and infuse Steven Covey’s “7 habits” philosophy into their school culture maintain student populations that are less prone to bullying problems and foster leader qualities across a greater percentage of the student population. Parents also benefit from children being much more prone to taking a responsible attitude towards homework and studying. When schools combine “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” with a solid academic curriculum, everybody wins.
Find out more about the American Leadership Academy and how they create a productive environment that enhances the students’ experience while providing a superior education by clicking HERE.