This week, January 20-24, is No Name-Calling Week. Inspired by a popular young-adult novel by James Howe called The Misfits, this year marks the 10th anniversary of one of the largest anti-bullying initiatives in the United States. Howe’s book is a story of four junior high friends who encounter bullying head on. They prevail by gaining the principal’s support for instituting a “No Name-Calling Day” at their school.
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) first picked up on the idea and began providing publicity and even lessons for teacher use. Then Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing joined in, and now we have the No Name-Calling Week Coalition. Like Bobby Goodspeed, the main character in The Misfits says, “One person can have an idea, but for the idea to translate into action, a whole community has to get behind it.”
This year, I’ve been using The DayMaker to share ideas about how we might communicate with each other, the importance of choosing our words carefully and using the language of validation. No Name-Calling Week meshes perfectly with this theme.
I’m encouraging all of us, in the words of James Howe, to instead of calling names, “Think. And if you can, don’t speak. Don’t say the names.” Maybe we can turn No Name-Calling Week into a month and then a year, and then… Just imagine.
~ xoA ~