Vampire Diaries star, Ian Somerhalder has come up with an amazing new plan that can simultaneously help animals and put an end to bullying. Somerhalder’s new initiative, via his non-profit the Ian Somerhalder Foundation involves building a sanctuary for animals with behavioral issues, which he plans to use to help “tried and true bona fide’ bullies work though their issues by caring for the animals.
He told E! Online, “It’s all about collaboration and compassion. If you can empower someone who’s really young, who’s had a really tough go at it, to find compassion by using animals – because it’s so much easier than with people – then you have something.”
“Now you’ve started to engage these kids and they’ll learn not to fight. They really realize what a full life you can have if you just get rid of those demons that we all have.”
We couldn’t agree more! Many researchers studying aggression and violence find the answers to their questions consistently fall back to a failure of compassion and empathy. As Nicole Forsyth pointed out in this excellent article, in order to feel empathy, a person must understand another’s behavior, be able to take the perspective of another and share another’s emotional state.
Giving bullies the opportunity to care for animals, along with the right guidance on how to think critically about another’s viewpoint may just be the winning combination that can help tackle the pervasive problem of bullying in American schools.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons