Today is Pink Shirt Day and I love Pink Shirt Day. I love what it stands for. I love how it started. I love all the positive quotes that fill up my social media feeds. I wish every day was Pink Shirt Day.
I wish we lived in a world where we didn't need a designated day to remind ourselves that bullying isn't acceptable. I wish we didn't need the reminder to be respectful in all our interactions. I wish we were always kind, everyday, not just on Pink Shirt Day.
But that is not the world we live in. It will never be the world we live in until all of us, especially those in positions of power, start to educate themselves about respect and healthy relationships. Now I don't want to get all negative on Pink Shirt Day but it does need to be said that if you wear a pink shirt on Pink Shirt Day and post a quote about kindness and equality on your social media feed, that does not excuse how you act the other 364 days a year.
If you are a person who stands in front of a classroom of junior high students and talks about how a woman needs to obey her husband, then you are part of the reason that we need a designated Pink Shirt Day.
If you are a coach who belittles an athlete for not competing when they are injured and in pain, you are part of the reason we need Pink Shirt Day.
If you are a teacher who asks your students to fill out a "gender" chart and determine if certain characteristics are masculine or feminine, then you are part of the reason we need Pink Shirt Day. (When I first heard about this one I thought the students would fill out the sheet and then the teacher would have a great conversation with them about expanding on the traditional concept of masculinity and femininity and would explain how all of the characteristics could apply to both males and females. That's not what happened. Men are strong. Women gossip. That's what the class was told in 2017.)
If you are someone who doesn't think our children need to be taught about consent, then you are part of the reason that we need Pink Shirt Day.
If you say things like "boys will be boys", you are part of the reason that we need Pink Shirt Day.
If you are a person who tells your female employee to wear a short skirt to the meeting tomorrow, you are part of the reason that we still need Pink Shirt Day.
If you are a parent who belittles your child when they don't perform as you would like them to at their sport, then you are part of the reason that we still need Pink Shirt Day.
If you are not paying attention to how your kids are speaking to other kids, you are part of the reason that we still need Pink Shirt Day.
If you are not paying attention to how you are speaking to and about others, you are part of the reason that we still need Pink Shirt Day.
I love Pink Shirt Day and I hope that more and more people participate every year. I hope that people are not just wearing pink shirts but are also having conversations and taking action to make sure that every interaction they have is based in respect and kindness.
I hope that everyday we remember that our kids are watching and listening and they are learning how to act based on how we are acting and speaking and on how we are treating them. I hope we stop excusing or ignoring unacceptable behaviour and choose to teach kindness and respect. I hope that one day we don't need a Pink Shirt Day.