Brent Kreuger was written off as "lazy" and "stupid" in elementary school in the 1960s -- a time before the "distracted student" was a mainstream social problem. So Krueger set out create a learning environment where outside-the-box thinkers were labelled "entrepreneurial" instead of "learning disabled." He founded the Praxis International Institute, the alternative high school he now runs as principal.
It is commendable that, as a society, we want to make it clear that no one should suffer persistent harassment and abuse. In our collective zeal to protect our children from harm, we have seen fit to institute a wide variety of anti-bullying curricula, programs, and in some jurisdictions, even legislation. But what else may be happening? While we want to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are protected from the kind of negative behaviours that many adults can recall vividly, we may be using our schools to bully the "bullies".
There are certain life skills you just don't learn in school -- and lately, we've been wondering why not. After all, while
I came out to my family 10 years ago this month. It was, without question, the hardest thing I have ever done. For a long time, I tortured myself about my sexual orientation. It took a long time before I could even think that little sentence, the one I used to find so horrible and isolating, the one that goes like this: I'm gay.
Bullying is not just the territory of the biggest and strongest. A bully is someone who can create and abuse power in a relationship. Your boss can be a bully. Someone you are dating. The bullying is in the constant threat of violence and the power dynamics at play.
Stop striving for perfection! You'll drive yourself crazy, you won't be able to stop and you won't enjoy being in the moment. A better goal is to aim to be happy instead of perfect. Perfection is overrated. If you ever attain it, you'll realize how empty it feels.
It's scary and exciting out there. And it takes a long time to figure out who you are, what matters to you, what energizes you and how you are different from your parents, teachers, and friends. But remember, you are the captain of your own ship in life.