Two years ago, when we were living in the province that the cowboys prefer I not mention, I wrote a post called The Bullying Stops Here about Pink Shirt Day as a reminder that we as parents make such an impact on how our children treat others. I firmly believe that parents have the ability to stop bullying and on that day two years ago I sent both of my school-aged children (yes even my son) in pink following an age-appropriate conversation about how in our family we treat everyone with compassion and respect.
Then we came to cowboyland and instead of pink shirt day it was green shirt day in our school. I remember calling the school and asking “why green“? They told me it came from the school board. So I called the school board and asked “why green“? They told me that’s just what they chose to do.
I asked if it was because of the pre-conceived connotation of pink and homosexuality (our school board is Catholic – which we are, by tradition, and that’s an entirely different conversation). They told me no – both the public and the catholic cowboys wore green.
So while the entire country sent their children to school in pink, I was being asked to send my children to school in green – on the same day as Pink Shirt Day.
It made very little sense to me. But since we had only been here for less than three months I wasn’t going to rock the boat. I do enough of that in my day to day life anyway.
Then there is this year – no shirt at all. It’s Pink Shirt Day and my children’s school, the school board and honestly, if the people in this coffee shop I am sitting in are a random sample of my fellow cowboys – my city – are not participating at all in Pink Shirt Day.
We’re shirtless over here. No pink. No green. It’s such a missed opportunity to show our children that bullying is not okay and an opportunity to have hard conversations about this and this and this and so very definitely this.
So I’m picking up a pink shirt on the way home (at our neighbourhood London Drugs store where they are being sold in support of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund and Boys and Girls Clubs in communities across Canada) and over dinner tonight we’re going to talk about Pink Shirt Day. This conversation is important to me because I plan on taking every single opportunity I have to talk to my children about the importance of anti-bullying movements.
Hopefully you do too.
PS: Here’s something that can help facilitate the conversation around your dinner table: