No Name-Calling Week: A Time for Positive Expression

We never outgrow the pain of bullying. It can cause anxiety, depression, and trauma years and even decades after it occurs.

But there’s good news: we can work together to forge a brighter future. That’s the purpose of No Name-Calling Week (NNCW), an initiative designed to teach us better ways to communicate rather than lashing out and denigrating others.

A Brief History of Awareness

The inspiration for NNCW stems from a novel by James Howe entitled The Misfits. Published back in 2001, it chronicles the triumphs and travails of a group of kids who have had enough of the oppression of bullying, so they campaign for school leadership positions with a message of acceptance and understanding.

Three years later, the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, worked in conjunction with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Network (GLSEN) to implement a week-long series of events designed to educate and enlighten. These festivities celebrate #KindnessInAction by offering learning materials and scheduled activities in which empathy is more than just a feeling; it’s a code of conduct.

How to Get Involved

So, you want to take part in NNCW? You can register for this groundbreaking series of empowering lessons by clicking on this link.

The events are geared to a wide spectrum of students, from kindergarteners through teenagers. Each group has its own bundle of lesson plans, especially geared to their developmental level. In broad strokes, here are how the classes break down…

  • Elementary School Level – Kids are taught how to identify insults that are unfairly based on physical appearance and given step by step guidance on how to take action. They learn how to report bullying, what stereotypes are and why they should be avoided, how to create a kinder school environment, and how to express their feelings in healthy and artistic ways. By designing posters and poems, eager youngsters can manifest their burgeoning knowledge in bright and expressive ways, further bolstering the message that name-calling is a dead end. Positivity is a much better course of action.
  • Middle School Level – As children progress through the years, their relationship to name-calling becomes more complicated. Junior High students are increasingly concerned with cliques and alienation, so this course of study explores the innate need to belong to the “in crowd”. Participants will learn that bullying isn’t just perpetrated by the bullier; it’s also amplified by anyone who sits by complicity. Middle school kids are also encouraged to take part in role-playing exercises to feel how name-calling really affects everyone.
  • High School Level – The lessons outlined in the programs above are taken to a more mature level for the adolescent set, identifying how social media complicates the topic of name-calling in the digital age. This syllabus also tackles the specific needs of the LGBTQ community and how labels limit us as a society. In one lesson, in particular, students are encouraged to wear “Shirts of Empowerment” to fully experience how much better life can be when you wear your strength and compassion on your sleeve (literally)!

So, who provides this plethora of enlightening content? Read on…

The Curriculum of Kindness

The films and lesson plans that drive NNCW come from The Youth & Gender Media Project, an award-winning consortium of thinkers, makers, and dreamers who produce video content that shines a light on the complexities of gender relations.

By opening the eyes of young people, we can create a new world in which the epidemic of name-calling is treated before it becomes lethal. Kids have the capacity to change their behavior before they become entrenched in a system that accepts bullying as the status quo. Truly, children are the future.

NNCW at the Museum of Tolerance

Residents of the Los Angeles area are in luck because the Museum of Tolerance is hosting a five-part series on the vital topic of name-calling. Here’s their uplifting calendar of events:

  • January 20th – To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the MoT is screening Lee Daniels’ The Butler free with the price of museum admission.
  • January 21st – Visitors can learn about the roots of bullying and their antidotes on Tuesday of NNCW.
  • January 22nd – Students are invited to meet Karlee Roberts, who coaches them how to “Be the Change!”
  • January 23rd – On Thursday, we’re hangin’ with MTV! The pop network is partnering with GLSEN to brainstorm ways in which we can work together to minimize the scourge of online bullying.
  • January 24th – To cap off the week, the Museum invites a series of special guest speakers to discuss ways to stay connected to the lessons of the prior week in a presentation entitled “Hate to Hope” – TGIF, indeed!

Change Your Mind, Change Your Heart

By focusing on the dangers of name-calling, we may be able to alter the ways in which we perceive one another. After all, you are less likely to hurt that which you understand. However, some residual damage from bullying may still remain.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, whether induced by society or otherwise, we can help. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive procedure that increases your brain’s natural ability to regulate the pleasure-inducing chemicals within. Contact us today to learn more about this groundbreaking procedure, and stay positive, everybody!

Article By: Chris Howard
Director of Community Outreach & Education Chris Howard has been working in the mental health field since 2010 after seeing the long-term effects of mental illness within his own family. He is a graduate of UCLA where he received his B.A. in Psychology. Having worked closely with those struggling with addiction, Chris considers the concept of community to be an essential part of treatment and advocates for wellness approaches that integrate both leading conventional therapies, as well as holistic practices like yoga and meditation.