When I was in third grade, I spent much of my lunch hour playing with a very nice girl who was picked on by others. When I was sick with pneumonia and out of school for weeks, she sent a note to my house asking me to hurry back to school. I really didn't think much of it at the time, but I remember my mother's pride in reading the note. She had always taught us to live by the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". I think this is especially true as you head back to school.
My daughters are very sweet, good natured, loving girls, yet I can see how involved they get with the drama of elementary school. I often hear details about this girl that was whispering or that girl who doesn't like the other one; it's disheartening.
As my kids get ready to go back to school, I channel my mother and ask them to assume the very best in each person. My mother would also say to play nicely with all the kids, but especially with the girl who is left behind. If someone is being picked on, I wouldn't want them to stand quietly and watch. I ask them to think about their non verbal communication. If they're standing with a group of kids who are being mean, they need to leave that group. As they meet new friends, I ask them to really watch and see how their new friend treats everyone else. Of course, life isn't as simple as sticking to a list of rules. But, I hope we're giving them a good foundation, that has been passed on from our parents.