One One – One One – One One is a perfect day to talk about the real need for adults to understand the importance of stepping up. It’s also a perfect day to honor the thousands of members of the military who have done — and are doing — just that.

Recently, at the International Bullying Prevention Conference in New Orleans, Kathryn Otoshi and I gave a workshop on her book, One, and the Be the One campaign. When we talked about the Be the One Go-To Adult, we wanted people to think about who their Go-To Adult was and how they helped or if they didn’t have one, what they had to deal with on their own.

One of the leading pieces of advice for kids being bullied is “tell a trusted adult.” But as talked about before on this blog, that’s only good advice if we can be trusted. I didn’t say well-meaning (because most of us are) but actually trusted. That means we need to think about how we react. When my kids would come home and tell me about some peer to peer atrocity, my first instinct was to want to dismember the other child. Sound dramatic? Perhaps, but I know I’m not alone. Other parents take a much more laid back approach and tell their kids to “get over it.”

There’s a happy medium, like listening, sympathizing, creating a strategy and following up. Imagine what a difference it would make if we knew what we were doing and kids felt safe. It would not only help prevent bullying but it would help blunt that long tail of pain that bullying causes. (Be the One Go-To Adult materials are downloadable and for free!)

On this special and never to be repeated day of 11-11-11, think about who the Be the One Go-To Adult was (and maybe still is) in your life, think about how important that role is, and if possible, hug them. And if it’s a vet, hug them twice.