Josh’s story is a humbling one. Take a look:
Bullying continues to be a major problem in schools nationwide and at nearly every age level. Here are a few staggering facts about bullying today (source: Business Insider).
– One in three American children in grades 6-10 experience some form of bullying
– 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students
– 75% of school shooting incidents have been linked to bullying and harassment
As you saw in the video, when Josh started holding doors for his classmates, he inspired others to perform similar acts of kindness. Although a very simple thing, it had a huge impact on both his life as a bullied student and the lives of the students at his school. What if his action could be magnified on a global scale?
Breaking norms is all about confidence. Josh’s desire to be known and not stand in the shadows of his peers was a deep realization that had a strong impact. The neat thing about the door hold is that it takes virtually zero effort. We all know the slight feeling of either satisfaction or annoyance when someone does or doesn’t hold the door for us.
I took a sociology class my freshman year. One of our assignments was to break a norm on campus and document the way you felt, the reactions of other people, and the impact it had. For mine, I decided to say “hi” or “hello” with a smile one day on my way to class to everyone that I passed by. People looked at me strangely, laughed at me, and thought it was a joke. But there were a few people that seemed genuinely moved by my incredibly small action.
It was a terrifying experience.
If bullying is perpetuated by small actions of a few people, then maybe a few small acts of kindness would be enough to eliminate bullying. Whether you are doing it as part of a sociological experiment or trying to make changes in your life, small acts of kindness do have real impacts. This video inspired me in many ways and I hope it has provoked some thoughts for you as well.