“This is my calling – this is what I am doing to honor my wife, Carol, and my children’s lives.”
Over the past 23 years, I have learned a great deal about children’s bullying behavior from authors, principals, teachers, parents, and from students themselves.
I hope that you won’t feel like I’m talking down to you. I am sure that much of what I teach isn’t new information.
But I have a unique perspective that only a father who has lost a son can have. On November 11, 1995, my son Curt was driving to a restaurant. His car was hit by a pickup truck travelling 100 mph. He died at 1:20 in the morning.
The first thing we heard from police was that the man driving the truck was drunk. His truck damaged several other cars, but only Curt’s vehicle was hit head on.
Although the driver “Roy” had been drinking for six hours, the bartender at the bar didn’t think that it was his responsibility to take away his keys and call a cab.
No one else in the bar considered Roy to be their responsibility either.
I forgave Roy at the funeral. My anger – all of my anger – was directed at the bar. How could so many people look the other way when Roy left that bar?
Why couldn’t just one person have become a ‘leader’ to do the right thing?
The United Way agency where I worked as a parent volunteer came to my rescue. A counselor from the agency asked me to speak to her high school students. Why would young people want to listen to an old man?, I wondered. She told me to just share my feelings about the impact bad choices can have on other people.
I wrote a play about my family. I described what our world was like before and after the accident. At the end, I could not stop crying. 1,200 students in the gym erupted with cheers and applause.
I knew in that moment exactly what I had to do with the rest of my life.
The Call Me Jim video series contains four DVDs that you can share with your students, as well as a facilitator’s guide with reproducible worksheets.
I believe that this series is a special tool for your students. Kids will grow into leaders with the right tools. In the past 23 years, I’ve experienced this very joy hundreds of times.
And if we meet some day? Please call me Jim.
Read more about the impact
Jim has made over the years.
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