Bullying and Taking the Initiative

When students are standing around watching bullying behavior, they become accomplices. The bully wants to show off. A person on Level D of the Levels of Development—one who understands that democracy and responsibility are inseparable—will TAKE THE INITIATIVE in an attempt to disperse the crowd and remove a prime motivational factor for the bully.

How do you get people to WANT to take the initiative to act responsibly? I believe it’s done by understanding the relationship between the brain and the body—by communicating ideas so that positive emotions kick in. Only by tapping into positive emotions will young people feel that they WANT to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do—regardless of peer influence. It is through positive emotions that young people WANT to behave responsibly and WANT to put forth effort to learn because they understand that doing so is in their own best interests—in addition to the best interests of others. This is a description of Level D motivation on the hierarchy of personal and social development referred to above.