We lead by example.
I was slightly shocked yesterday at the school yard drop off. There was the normal multitude of children and parents waiting for the bell. The students are often rough and tumble in the morning; snow mound climbing, tag, ice sliding, and staging reenactments of wrestling moves seen on television.
It almost looked like a game. The larger boy chasing the smaller. Grabbing him by the coat and throwing him on the ground. Repeat. Repeat. It started to appear less and less fun. But all the parents simply stood there, ignoring or not wanting to be bothered.
On the next repeat, I stopped them. Used my serious classroom voice. “Hey! If that’s a game, it’s too rough. If it’s not a game, knock it off.” The smaller boy disappeared in a flash, the larger stomped off glaring.
My son told me later that the larger boy is always hurting people. We talked about things he could do, safely, if he saw it happening again.
Children learn by watching. If we let things go, they will as well.
And perhaps by doing, we can wake up some of the adults too.