Yesterday the kids in my Taekwondo class reviewed the Five Fingers of Self-Defense: Think, Yell, Run, Fight, Tell.
I’ve always thought “Tell” is one of the hardest of the five to practice. Unfortunately, yesterday confirmed my belief.
During the "Tell" portion of class, I asked students to pretend that their parents weren't in the room.
"Who has ever had something bad happen to them that they didn't tell their parents about?"
Hands shot up.
Toward the end of class, we talked more about why it's important to speak up when someone threatens or bullies them—or touches them inappropriately.
“If you don’t, no one will know that anything’s wrong. And that person who’s hurting you will continue to abuse you and others.”
The class got quiet. They were truly listening.
"So tell someone,” I said. “Tell ANYONE. Tell the crossing guard. The cafeteria lady. Your teacher. The bus driver. A friend. Your parents. Your pastor. Tell until you're blue in the face.
“And remember, you don’t have to go through life feeling alone in this world. You don't have to keep things to yourself or figure things out by yourself. There's always someone who can and wants to help. So tell someone.”
After class, a parent made a bee-line for me.
"We think they know this—that they don't have to do this alone,” she said, “but no one actually comes right out and says it. Thank you for saying it.”
“You’re welcome,” I said.
Telling is truly hard. But it’s not impossible to do. If you’re a kid reading this blog, and something has happened to you—if someone has hurt you, even if it was a long time ago—tell someone TODAY.