Be a Significant Elder

Posted on March 13, 2012


On Monday Babs and I went to the State Theatre to see a sneak preview of a new documentary.  It was not easy to watch, but I recommend it.

Years ago I was the director of a mediation service. In the course of my work, I learned a lot about the ways that children are bullied at school, and on the bus, and in their own neighborhoods.   And that is what this heart-rending film is about.   (I am very bad at doing reviews, but you can learn more in this Detroit Free Press article by Kelly Hinds.)

Children who are being bullied need to have people on their side.  If you witness bullying, or you hear about it, or you suspect it, please don’t remain silent.  Stand up for the victims – and hold bullies to account.  We’re the grown ups.  That’s our job.

On the way home, Babs was telling me a good story about a friend of hers who has a beloved niece. They have a wonderful relationship. Babs said her friend was the little girl’s “significant elder.” I liked that a lot. A person can be a Significant Elder without being a parent or a grandparent or any other kind of relative. A person can be a Significant Elder by reaching out to a child, encouraging a child, protecting a child.

I think a child who has a Significant Elder has a powerful source of comfort in this hard world.