A four letter word. A persuasive word. A word prompting action or more precisely an end to action. A word sometimes absent when it should be present. A word effective in the face of bullying.

Recently, I watched What Would You Do? – the ABC hidden camera show with John Quinones. One of the situations took place in an icecream shop where a customer – an actor – stuttered and therefore took a considerable length of time to place her order. Other actors who were in line behind her, began harassing her, making rude comments and questioning her intelligence. The cameras caught the reactions of those unaware that this situation was staged. There were some who heard, were visibly upset but did not intervene. There were others who confronted the bullies.

Whether we are children or adults, it is easy to stand by silently during a situation we know is unjust. It is more difficult to get involved and stand up for the victim. Yet I have witnessed the power of the seemingly simply utterance “stop” in the midst of intimidation or victimization. This word typically yields results.

Just as words have immense power to hurt, words also have immense power to help. The choice is yours.


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