There are three lessons to learn from this episode:
In the case of Mr. Jones, he found a friend in an Orlando public relations professional who was minding his own business until he saw the story first break on the local news.
As a father himself, Ryan Julison had to step in. He knows all too well the power of the media and wanted to volunteer his time to help Mr. Jones both protect his reputation and turn this potentially damaging situation around to help others in a similar position.
Most people don’t understand how time consuming it is to help someone through a crisis, especially when it involves the media. In this case, the crisis was caused by bullies on a bus who wouldn’t let James’ daughter and a friend alone. Ryan knew that if Mr. Jones didn’t have the opportunity to use this as a teachable moment for the nation, than the young bullies won and a basically good father could be destroyed.
It’s almost gratifying to see that Mr. Jones instantaneously had thousands of supportive fans on Facebook. It seems that an overwhelming number of people identify with his need to protect his child. With Ryan’s help, James is also helping the Pacer Center, a leading organization in bullying prevention and organizers of this month’s Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
Thanks in part to Ryan, there is more dialogue and more empathy towards those parents up against a system that doesn’t listen to what kids are going through, whether it’s on a school bus, in a schoolyard or online.
Ryan Julison didn’t have to step up. He could have gone about his business and not donated his time in a bad economy. But he did. He’s by no means an expert in bullying prevention but simply a PR professional who doesn’t need a psychology degree to know the power of compassion.
Without question, I would do it all over again. I feel I am the one who has truly benefitted from my relationship with the Jones family. I’ve seen the true love and admiration of a family leading a modest life filled with challenges. We could all learn something from them, not just about bullying, but life.