Bully No More

by David & Anne Ellsworth

"Include someone today. Open a door. Make the world a better place. Bully no more."

This is the spoken refrain for the song "Bully No More" found in this issue. It suggests a simple formula for stopping rudeness between students, or teachers and students. Actually, it is a suggestion for us all. Everyone wants to feel like they fit in. School settings are a potentially frightening place for children, especially when they don't know much about what is going on at the start of the year. Who are my teachers? Are they nice or mean? Are there any other kids I know? Will I make friends? Will the friends I had last year be around? The questions and concerns are very real and go on and on. Until there are answers that are satisfactory, the confidence of a child can waiver and affect their performance in all areas.

In our experience, bullying is one coping mechanism children use to feel like they are in control. Adults in the lives of children need to take this seriously, validating the hurt of the abused, talking to and guiding the offender. It is behavior that breaks down confidence and can cause real harm unless confronted and redirected.

For more specifics about the whys of bullying and how to appropriately respond to the offender and the abused, we recommend talking to your school counselor for options. There is a great deal of reading material out there and workshops you can attend where anyone can learn about this behavior and how to help change it. We encourage you to do this in an effort to help in any situation you may face. In our research, we have found the writings and teaching of Jodee Blanco to be the most helpful for us, though you may find others more appropriate to your situation.

The song "Bully No More" is written with a gentle Celtic style rhythm. Simulating the rocking or swinging of a child, it is meant to soothe and comfort the singer and listener. The drums play a soft rhythm, and the guitars and mandolins play an easy strumming. The melody is a lightly rolling, repetitive rhythm written to underline that feeling. The verse teaches the singer what bullying means, in very simple, straightforward language. The chorus, as stated previously, suggests possible steps kids (and adults) can take to change. It is a happy few words, recited with flair and accompanied by a violin descant to help lift the mood. It is indicated as a spoken solo, one person for all of it, or split into multiple soloists. We have also created a special version where this spoken solo is performed by one of the authors of the tune (David) to demonstrate the passion of the moment. You will find this in its full and accompaniment forms on our web site as a free download.

No one needs to be talked down to and made to feel bad about themselves. They especially don't need to be physically teased with resulting embarrassment and even pain. We encourage all teachers to review their school policies and practices on how to help stop this damaging behavior.

Note: For other songs that might apply to this topic, see our Index (tucked into this issue) and look under Character, Goodwill/Generosity, Gratitude/Thankfulness, Health/ Well-being, Inspirational, Life Skills, Motivational, Peace/Togetherness, and Valentine's Day/Friendship.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.