Bravo to everyone in 2009 who did something big — or small — to help stop the heartache of bullying. The fact you cared could have saved a child or an adult years of unnecessary pain.

If you did any of the following, stop and give yourself a round of applause:

• Noticed a child’s sadness and asked them about it. Then really listened.

• Didn’t judge a friend when they confided in you about their child’s issues with bullying.

• Acted outraged when you saw someone being mistreated and said, “That’s horrible! You don’t deserve that!”

• Taught your child to always “be nice to the new kid” or the “kid who’s a little different.”

• Spent a moment to tell your child that you’re proud of them because they didn’t join in when someone was being bullied.

• Watched a “reality” show with your kids and then when things got mean, said “That’s not reality.”

• Asked them to take you for a tour of their online world and reminded them that the golden rule applies there, too.

• Taught your kids and co-workers about the beauty of sometimes NOT hitting “Send.”

• Paid attention to the kid that sometimes isn’t paid attention to.

• Looked people in the eye and validated their feelings.

• Taught your child to stand up straight and look others in the eye.

• Encouraged your child to have a few different groups of friends.

• Made your child feel, whether they’re at that lovable stage or not, they are loved and valued just by your expression when they walked in a room.

There are many more but you know what they are.

And thank you to the organizations who work on bullying issues every day, such as the International Bullying Prevention Association.

Let’s really make good things happen in 2010. That means all of you out there with money, start spending it on public service and school campaigns that first and foremost educate and empower the bystander.

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