Travis Brown, aka Mr. Mojo, America’s Anti-Bullying coach, made a visit to Morrison School on Thursday with hopes of deterring bullying at the school.
Mojo’s “Mojo Up – Anti-Bullying Tour” has reached over 700,000 children throughout the United States and abroad. His anti-bullying message to all students is, “You make a difference!” He said he conducts about 350 sessions per year encouraging anti-bullying.
Brown acquired the name “Mr. Mojo” for his high-energy content and captivating speaking style. He has motivated and inspired the U.S. Capitol Police Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Many states across the country have adopted bullying, harassment, and/ or safe school legislation. While legislation is the first step, it is important that school systems also implement district-wide anti-bullying policy and a way to report and investigate bullying incidents, Brown said.
Brown defined bullying as “repeated use of physical, verbal, or cyber forces intended to hurt, harm or humiliate.” Brown said cyber bullying has become the great bullying equalizer. He said in the old days, bullying was mostly physical. The larger person beat up on the smaller person. Today, the smaller person can post something hurtful online.
“The truth is, if your child is under 13, they shouldn’t be on any social media anyway. I’m sure they were all designed for positive reasons, but, they all have negative consequences,” said Brown.
Brown said parents treat their children how to treat other people.
“If you are posting comments about people, telling people how stupid and ridiculous they are, are dropping the F bomb, etc., your are setting the example for what you kids see. You have to be careful with the example you are setting,” Brown said.
Brown said it is virtually impossible to bully-proof a child. He said there is no way to stop bullying from happening at some point in life, but parents can prepare their children for how to get through a bullying incident when it happens.
Brown described the “poker chip theory” made popular by “Chicken Soup for the Soul” co-author Jack Canfield. Canfield said a person’s self-esteem and self-worth is like poker. If a person has a large stack of poker chips and loses one or two in a round, it is no big deal. But, if a person with a small stack loses on or two, it could be the end of him or her.
Brown suggested having children write on a 3x5 index card positive affirmations changing the way one thinks, speaks, feels, and does. He said to make the affirmation personal, present tense and positive. For example, “I am fit” sounds much better than writing how you need to lose another 10 pounds.
Brown said children mimic what their parents teach. If parents yell and scream at their children, the child will yell and scream at his or her peers. “Many times when parents turn to drugs and alcohol, their kids will turn to drugs and alcohol,” said Brown.
Brown urged parents to find positive coping mechanisms for their children whether that be sports, exercise, music, reading or another activity the child enjoys.
“Other people don’t determine your worth and value. No matter what other people do, it doesn’t change who you are,” said Brown.
Brown is also the author of “Teen Leaders are Mojo Makers”, “Mojo Up & Stop Bullying” and is the creator of the Operation Mojo Bullying Prevention Program. He has been seen on FOX, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and as an inspiring coach on MTV’s television show “Made.”
Travis encourages students, parents and educators to take the Mojo Up Challenge on www.facebook.com/mojoup, and join him on his mission to “change the world one student at a time.”
For more information, visit www.mojoup.com.
Judy Sullivan is a bullying investigator for Morrison School. She said, “Bullying has become such a problem in today’s world. I investigate when students, parents or someone observes someone bullying. The guidance counselor used to be the person children went to about bullying but we felt the guidance counselor role was more of a friend to both sides. I have had many parents call this year because their children are being bullied. It is hard to do anything about what happens on the school bus or at the ball park, but it is being carried over to school. It affects the climate at school.”