Articles by Elissa Ciment, MPH

Upstander Heroes


We like to believe that all children are inherently good, that they do not intentionally desire to hurt or cause pain to others. Yet, as all mothers and teachers know, children can be mean. Siblings fight and hurt each other – often on a daily, or even on a minute-by-minute, basis. Girls and boys in school exclude classmates, form cliques, taunt their peers, and inflict emotional pain on their counterparts. Many social and educational experts will say this is all part of growing up, that children need to learn resilience and tolerance; they need to build inner strength. And this is true – to an extent. But where do we draw the line? Where do we – as mothers and fathers and educators and rabbis, simply members of a community – say “enough”? How do we teach kids to be nicer to each other?

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