It turns out that our society has been built on a foundation of punishing bullies.

Invisibilia has an episode that is all about calling out the people that don’t follow society’s rules (you should listen to it, it’s amazing). In it, they talk about how new research shows that punishment – sometimes brutal punishment – of outliers has been the way that our society has progressed from caveman to now.

There has to be a better way.

While we obviously want to discourage bullies, there has to be a better way than dropping a rock on their heads (what our ancestors used to do to the outliers). There has to be a better way than shaming them to the point of ostracizing them. There has to be a way of helping bullies grow into their better selves. Because you know what?

Most bullies have themselves been bullied.

Yep, studies show that young people that are bullied are almost twice as likely to bully others. Yet…there’s another side to the story as well. Because research also shows that bullying causes great harm.

In fact, children that are bullied are 2-9 times more likely to commit suicide.

Does that make you run in terror to hold your children? It does for me – and it makes me want to never let them see another device or social media outlet. Yet I know I can’t protect them from everything – and that they must be a part of this world, too. And, not only that…what if they are, at some point, bullied themselves – and turn to make that same mistake with others? How would I feel if they, too, were then shamed for their mistakes? (Seriously, listen to that Invisibilia episode – shaming to change society can have awful repercussions).

So we’ve worked to create a better path. And in honor of May 4th’s International Anti-Bullying Day, we’re bringing it to you this week. It’s a project to bring the world kindness, inclusion, and hope for the future – because we’re pretty sure that’s the new way to change the world.

Join us – because World Change is a team sport.

 

This week we’ve teamed up with the amazing The Blissful Earthworm to bring you a tutorial for kindness bracelets to help both bullies and the bullied alike. According to Girls Health, one of the most effective ways to stop the current trend of bullying is to Take action, get creative, and create a community of kindness, support, and understanding – for all kids. And – as The Blissful Earthworm pointed out to us – these bracelets are to spread kindness to everyone. So gather up your small people, grab some supplies, and make some bracelets for all of the young people around you – no superhero cape required.

Supplies Needed:

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Note: Some of these links may include affiliate links :)[/one_half]

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Instructions:

Step 1:

Print this PDF pattern and cut it out.

Step 2:

Glue the pattern onto the cardboard or foam board.

Step 3:

Cut around the outer circle and cut out the inner circle.

Step 4:

Cut ¼” notches on each line around the circle.

Step 5:

Cut 4 pieces of pink string approximately 30” long (for a small bracelet) or 38-40” long (for one size fits most).

Step 6:

Cut 8 pieces of blue string approximately 30” long (for a small bracelet) 38-40” long (for one size fits most).

Step 7:

Take the string and align them with each other and then fold them in half.

Step 8:

Tie an overhand knot at the loop end of the bundle of string.

Step 9:

Place the loop end into the hole on your wheel.

Step 10:

Using two strings of each color, place the strings in the notches that match the string color.

Step 11:

Take the top right pink strings and bring them down to the notch to the right of the bottom two strings.

Step 12:

Take the bottom left pink strings and bring them up to the left of the upper pink strings.

Step 13:

Rotate the wheel to the left and repeat steps 11 and 12 for the blue strings. Rotate the wheel to the left.

Step 14:

Repeat Steps 11-13 until you get close to the end of the use of your string. TIP: Don’t lose your place! If you need to take a break, stop and leave your wheel with the three strings on the bottom. When you are ready to pick back up, take the bottom left string and bring it up to the right of the top string and continue as before.

Step 15:

When some of the strings are too short to keep weaving, this is a great time to stop. Take the strings out of the wheel and stretch the cord out.

Step 16:

Tie a knot at the end of the cord and trim the fringe.

Step 17:

Put the knotted end through the loop at the top of your cord.

Step 18:

Pull the cord through the loop leaving a small loop at the end.

Step 19:

Put the knotted end through the loop.

Step 20:

Tighten the loop. Now your bracelet is adjustable and secure.

Step 21:

Write a kind note (will have a link to a page on my website with ideas of kind things to say) on your piece of paper or tag.

Step 22:

Attach your note to the bracelet and give it to someone as a random act of kindness!

And your beautiful bracelets are done! The Blissful Earthworm is SO talented, we are eternally grateful for her amazing pattern.

Now you just have the

Final Step:

Share these with kiddos! Take them to school, spread them around, and give them to ALL of the people that need it the most. Want to do more? Join a Kidpower chapter in your area – keep reading to find out how.

YOUR ISSUE: BULLYING

Now that you know what to do, let’s talk a bit about why this project is so important. Here are a few fast facts on bullying:

Yep, 3.2 million students are victims of bullying every year – which ends up being 35% of the kids in school. The good news is that many schools and communities are putting in serious resources to stop this trend – and that’s where Kidpower comes in.

YOUR ORGANIZATION: KIDPOWER INTERNATIONAL

Kidpower International has the mission to “To work together with people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and walks of life on our shared common ground of teaching skills for safety, respect, confidence, and kindness for everyone, everywhere.” So. Awesome – and right up our alley of taking charge and being empowered to change the world one person at a time. This amazing, Aina-Approved Organization operates all over the world, so you can find (or start!) a chapter in your area. Find out more about Kidpower :).

MEET YOUR MAKER: THE BLISSFUL EARTHWORM

A special thanks to Kristen at The Blissful Earthworm – she is AMAZING and you must go support her kindness bracelets. Kristen began making bracelets as a way of coping with severe depression, as well as a way to help retrain and exercise her brain from a traumatic brain injury.   A couple years ago, she started leaving bracelets at her therapist’s waiting room.  The bracelets received a positive response and while in therapy, she learned about the concept of loving kindness. So, Kristen decided to write out her own prayers of loving kindness to put with the bracelets.  And this is where the Kindness Bracelets were born. With a humble beginning of making bracelets as a way to end her own suffering from depression and struggles with brain injury, she discovered the love found in gifting these bracelets. Her project has grown into gifting over 700 Kindness Bracelets across 7 countries. It brings Kristen great joy to share her bracelets with the world in hope to spread love and kindness and combat suffering, whether that be emotional, physical or societal.

She currently lives in Bozeman, Montana with her service dog, Riley and her beloved cat, Chloe.

GET CONNECTED TO AINA

We love more friends! Not only do we want you as a part of the Aina Ohana, but we’d love for you to share your creations with us on  Instagram! Follow us @ainagiving – and tag us with pics of your world-changing project!

Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – email us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.

Meet the Team behind Aina's Story | Uniting crafters and makers with charitable organizations for community driven volunteer world change