In a year where kids were exposed to a lot of disrespect-from Kanye West stealing Taylor Swift’s spotlight at the Video Music Awards to Serena Williams losing the U.S. open after a temper tantrum-instilling a little respect is a welcome idea.
Helping to get families involved in this theme is the National Crime Prevention Council, which recently launched the Circle of Respect Campaign to tackle these issues, beginning this year with bullying and cyber-bullying.
“People in general have really lost civility and respect in dealing with one another,” says Robin Young, program associate for NCPC’s children and youth initiative. “We wanted to bring respect back into the conversation.”
One way the organization is hoping to tackle that mission is with the introduction of the Circle of Respect Book Club, which features books and authors who can help parents and children who are coping with bullying. The first few books have included Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons and The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake. The first two books are targeted toward parents, while the last one is written for younger people to help them gain a stronger sense of self-acceptance.
The idea for the book club began after many parents were calling NCPC asking for advice on how to deal with bullying, from cruel Facebook posts to a child becoming a target for teasing at school, Young says. “The authors themselves and the books they write about let you know that you’re not the only one going through this,” she says. “It opens the discussion and connects them with lots of parents.”
Right now, the book club offers podcasts online with the authors. Young says the group hopes to expand its offerings with online discussion forums and community-based book clubs under the larger national umbrella. “We want to change the notion that bullying is a fact of life,” Young says. “Respect is a fact of life and a rite of passage.”
For more information, visit circleofrespect.org.