Cool Kind Kid meets Kathy Ireland

Cool Kind Kid Prepares to Meet Kathy Ireland

Cool Kind Kid meets Kathy Ireland on Bullying. This blog post is about my experience being on Modern Living with kathy ireland®. Though this happened in 2015, the content and questions asked in the interview are very relevant today. So I want to share with you some of what transpired prior to the interview and during. In addition, I want to stress that the bullying climate hasn’t changed much since I did this interview. Bullying is still in the news every day. It is still having a detrimental effect on most children in school, on the Internet, and wherever else kids go.

Cool Kind Kid: The Beginning to Now

Cool Kind Kid meets Kathy Ireland on bullying, initially, in a local school. I got to observe a 3rd grade classroom full of kids singing fun songs and participating in role-plays. And I watched these students doing part of a lesson, and then playing a game, all as part of a learning experience. What made it special was that they were engaged and having fun with material that I created. What a thrill!

They were rehearsing for the filming that would be taking place the next day. In addition, filming would take place of the Cool Kind Kid School Assembly Program, which I also created. This filming was being done as part of the my interview with Kathy Ireland; with taping and airing coming at a later date.

Please don’t think that I”m being prideful, but to see your baby growing up into something that people are noticing, is very humbling. Looking back, I realize that seeing those students having fun with my lessons, reminded me that I’m glad that I never gave up on this mission. It’s been close to 20 years now that I’ve been helping teach kids social skills and tools for dealing with bullying.

The Beginning to Now – Never Giving Up

During those years there was a lot of angst, impatience, and frustration. There was always the constant worry about where the money would come from. But every time I wanted to give it up, another door opened and I knew that I had to keep it going. You see, this has always been God’s project. He has closed doors, and opened bigger ones. He gave this to me to do. So this has been my passion and late-in-life mission.

There were so many times that I wanted to throw in the towel. For instance, I had to learn how to operate a computer, at age 55! So to all those grandmas out there who have a passion to do something, an idea to birth, a product that the world needs, I say, “Go for it!”  Don’t let anything hold you back. For example, when those ideas pop into your head, write them down. Mine always came to me at 5 am. So, now I often go back and look at that book filled with ideas. It’s exciting to see all the things that have actually happened, have been accomplished, and new products created. As a result, I realize that just moving forward one idea, one day, one step at a time, is the best path to follow.

The Beginning to Now – Wise Advice

A licensing guy I met many years ago, when I first started working on Cool Kind Kid,
told me to never give up. He said that he knew the lady who created Barney. It took her 8-9 years to become an “overnight sensation.” Do you remember Colonel Sanders? I believe he was in his 70’s when he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken.

For you young moms, empty-nesters, or career changers, be bold and create those ideas that have been nagging at you for so long. Certainly, take the risk to do what you have always wanted to do or be. Don’t let the negative thinking of others discourage you. And there will be that. Just don’t give up. Too often we give up just before the big breakthrough, the right door opens, or the miracle comes that we need. Be strong. Have faith. Believe in yourself!

Cool Kind Kid Meets Kathy Ireland on the Bullying Climate in the US – the Taping

Bullying was the main topic at the NBC Universal Studios on Wilshire Boulevard in LA. It was finally time for me, and Cool Kind Kid, to tape my interview with Kathy Ireland for her show, Modern Living with kathy ireland®. We addressed quite a few bullying topics, including how pervasive it is in the US now, how it became an epidemic, and solutions that work, such as Cool Kind Kid.

Question 1: How pervasive is bullying in schools in the US? To answer this question, I gave some statistics most of us have seen or heard about. More than 160,000 children stay home from school every day for fear of being bullied. Over 13 million children are being bullied each year. And the most shocking; research is showing that bullying is starting in preschool, as young as age three.

Question 2: Why do we have a bullying epidemic? My reply to this question was because we have a rudeness epidemic. Most etiquette experts agree that manners and social skills training went out of fashion in the 60’s and 70’s. Etiquette training, which had and still has an elitist connotation, was felt to be only for rich people. If you didn’t go where rich people went, then you didn’t need this training. Sadly, we are now seeing the results of this lack of social skills training.

Question 3: What is incivility and its role in the bullying epidemic? It’s been shown that incivility or rudeness can lead to bullying, and bullying can in turn escalate into violence. The challenge is to break the cycle at the beginning, the incivility, which is the easiest part to address. Research since 2008 has been supporting social skills, or social competence training as the missing link in bullying prevention.

Question 4: What is social competence? I began my answer to this question with a definition of manners. Manners equal socially correct behaviors. Social competence is social, emotional, and intellectual skills and behaviors that help us succeed as members of society. Above all, it refers to and prepares us to get along with other people. Moreover, social competence training provides both children and adults with the tools to know how to use appropriate social skills in every area of their lives.

Question 5: When should social skills or social competence training begin? To this question, I responded, “as early as possible.” I didn’t have time to include this in the interview, but feel it important to add here. To clarify, this research was done by Penn State University, my alma mater, at 44 Head Start sites. In addition to 1, 2, 3’s and A, B, C’s, groups of preschool children were given social skills training. The results showed that the children given the social skills training were better prepared for kindergarten and performed better throughout their school years. Most research shows better outcomes in changing behavior if this training is started at a young age.

This study was done in 2008, the first year we began to see research supporting social skills as the missing link in bullying prevention.

Question 6: What is meant by “Redefining Cool?” One of Cool Kind Kid’s main goals is to redefine the word “cool” for kids. Our children are bombarded every day in school, their neighborhoods, and the media with the message that mean, rude, and disrespectful behaviors are cool, and that bullying is cool. As parents, educators, and the media, we have a responsibility to change that message so our children learn that kind, caring, and respectful behavior is cool, and that bullying is the ultimate in uncool. Every child wants to be considered cool. The message throughout Cool Kind Kid is that kids can be both kind and cool.

Final question: What are some positive ways of responding to bullying? To clarify, I first set up a scenario regarding manners and social skills. Children, and adults, who have good manners or social skills are confident about possessing these skills, and are also very aware of those who don’t have them. Likewise, children or adults who don’t possess these skills have no idea that they are lacking in this area of their lives; they are clueless. Consequently, this lack leaves both the child and the adult open to judging, teasing, exclusion, and other forms of bullying, whether in a school or workplace setting. Early training is key to preventing this from happening.

We need to listen to the research and start proactive social skills training as young as possible. School-wide curricula must start with the earliest grades. It’s important to teach young children not only to be kind, but to know how to care, share, and play fair. Our children need to be taught empathy to be able to understand what another child is feeling. In addition, kids need to learn to be accepting and tolerant as soon as they are exposed to kids who are different from them. To sum up, kids need to learn that the COOL thing is to BE KIND, and NOT BULLY!

Bullying prevention should be on the minds of every parent, educator, legislator, and the media. We need positive, proactive solutions.  Cool Kind Kid® is that solution.

To see the full video of the interview go to the videos section of our website:

© Barbara Gilmour




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