Gibbs presented his “Love is Greater than Hate” program at the school campuses in George West, Three Rivers and Tilden last week trying to spread his message about preventing bullying.
Gibbs took time Tuesday night to provide a program for the parents at the George West cafeteria. It gave the highlights of what he was trying to stress to their children and also gave a list of ways that parents can try and help their children cope with bullying.
“Bullying is not just a school problem but a problem in every domain in life,” Gibbs told a group of parents. “My program focuses on making the victim become resilient.”
He said that teaching kids and people in general to become more resilient empowers them.
Bullies do what they do looking for a certain reaction, but if they fail to get that reaction they oftentimes will stop the bullying, he said.
“If you can be calm and not let the words hurt you, it will help,” Gibbs said.
His solution is about flexing the Golden Rule; “treat every person like your friend, even your enemies,” he said.
He explained that is harder for a person to be mean if the person he or she is being mean to is nice back.
“Be calm and kind” was his advice.
He demonstrated his point by having two role-playing scenarios with one of the parents from the audience.
In the first scenario, the mother was supposed to bully him by saying mean things to him and he saying mean things back, with the situation escalating as the insults got worse.
In the second scenario, the mother continued to bully Gibbs, but this time he only said positive or nice things back.
When the scenario finished, the volunteer said it was much harder to continue the verbal abuse when he was only responding back with kindness.
Gibbs encouraged the parents to practice the same kind of role-playing scenarios with their children.
Another tip Gibbs gave parents was to practice the three E’s. First, he said, to empathize with the child and hear his or her problem out and talk about his/her specific situation. Second was to encourage the child, and third was to empower the child. Empowering the child included the role playing so that the child can practice the proper ways to respond to a bully.
“Bullies do it for the payoff,” he reminded parents.
Teaching children the Golden Rule will build resilience and confidence in them and deter the bullying.
For children with anger issues who still need an outlet, he encouraged www.thehopeline.com, an online and phone-based helped center where “trained volunteers serve as HopeCoaches, engaging teenagers and young adults by listening, empathizing, encouraging, offering biblical perspectives and prayer,” said the group’s website.
Gibbs said he too was bullied as a child, and, when his mother and counselor taught him the Golden Rule, it changed his life.
Gibbs has been touring the country for more than a decade and teaching students the art and importance of being resilient.
“If you learn this skill, it will put you in charge of all your relationships,” he said.