You would think that as a homeschooling parent, bullying would be something that I wouldn’t have to deal with. Unfortunately, it still happens. It happens all around us. It happened at playgrounds we visited while on our summer trip, at homeschool co-op classes we attend, and sadly, even between the boys themselves in our own home. Lately, the boys have taken to picking on each other, and I have been looking for a way to help make it stop. I mentioned last week how I learned that PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center had teamed up with the 50th anniversary of the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to help teach children to respect the differences in others.
Last Monday, the boys and I gathered around the TV to watch Rudolph as we do each holiday season, but this time I challenged them to watch it through different eyes. Using the discussion and activity guide for families from PACER.org/ShineBright, I discussed with the boys how they could learn from the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and begin respecting the differences in others, including their own brothers. Here are some of their answers to the questions in the discussion guide.
Q. How is Rudolph different from the other reindeer?
11 year-old: He has a glowing red nose.
Q. How do you think Rudolph felt when he was teased by the other reindeer?
8 year-old: I think Rudolph felt sad.
Q. How do you think Rudolph felt when he was excluded from the Reindeer Games?
12 year-old: I think he was sad and angry, he looked like he really wanted to play in the games.
Q. How did Rudolph feel when he was accepted for his differences?
14 year-old: He felt good because for the first time they accepted him without caring only about the things that made him different.
Q. What are some things that other characters might have done to be nice to Rudolph?
14 year-old: Played board games with him.
11 year-old: Give him presents.
Q. How does Rudolph shine bright?
14 year-old: He shines bright by helping Santa deliver presents even though everyone was mean to him. He proves that he is a better reindeer for helping and not holding a grudge.
In addition to the discussion based guide for parents, the PACER site also provides educator resources and classroom activities to help children learn to appreciate the differences in others. One that we plan to do when we are back from our trip and have a printer is the “How do you ShineBright in the Sky” activity. It involves printing out a star shaped template, cutting it out and writing two or more qualities that make them ShineBright in the star. I think this is a fantastic way for children to recognize the unique qualities in themselves and in turn, search for them in others.
I really loved the discussion that was prompted using the tools available on PACER.org/ShineBright. In addition to the discussion and activity guides, you can also download an eBook version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and have $1.00 of the proceeds go to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.
Go ahead and get started today. Head over to PACER.org/ShineBright and download your free discussion and activity resources today!
I am a ‘ShineBright’ Ambassador and have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.