Don’t be a flake, be a snowflake. ‘You are unique like a snowflake, no two are like’. Despite this often recited cliche, for many of us, it can be hard to concede to these differences.
Recently Aquinas College has celebrated Pink Shirt Day with overwhelming success. A day dedicated to raising awareness for bullying and an incredible fundraising effort of $1,133.00 for the Mental Health Foundation. This success indicates the innate need for events like this and the discussion they spark within our high school age bracket.
The majority of the emphasis in the ‘pink shirt’ movement is placed not on imposing conviction but on the importance of individuality and removing the pressure to conform to social norms. On not necessarily punishing the bully but empowering the victim and the bystanders to rise up and reclaim their uniqueness. Particularly during the uncertainty of adolescence, the message of Pink Shirt Day is an important one.
A professor at the University of British Columbia reported that in many cases the root of bullying is through insecurity and jealousy. Perhaps this is the key to putting a stop to this (at least bullying at Aquinas) is to introduce more platforms for students to express their differences. We all have a shared responsibility for making our school a respectful and inclusive environment. From a student’s perspective, I would love to see more support for individuality integrated into school life amidst our sense of community. This can be hard with the nature of being in school, having to conform to set rules. But we as students should try to manifest a culture of diversity of which we can be proud.
It can seem easier to suppress our differences than to embellish them and it can be especially hard to stand up for others differences when we are too insecure to stand up for our own. So I propose that we as a student body should try to change our culture and ultimately cultivate empathy. Empathy fuels connection with others and although it doesn’t add any credits to your transcript it could be one of the most important qualities to develop in our lives. To not flake when our friends need us to stand up for them. To be valued in our own uniqueness. A snowflake doesn’t inhibit another from falling. It just is.