Jennifer Brown's Nine Rules for Being an Agent of Change

To celebrate the launch month of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE, I've asked some of my favorite authors to share their own Nine Rules here on the blog...

As regular readers know, one of my very favorite YA Novels of 2009 was the incredible Hate List by the hilarious, wonderful Jennifer Brown. I'm honored that Jennifer was willing to take time to celebrate the launch of Nine Rules with me...with her Nine Rules for Being an Agent of Change. The phrase--used by the principal in Hate List after the tragic events following a school shooting--encourages students to end bullying at the school...something I think we can all get behind.

With that, I turn it over to Jennifer (with the quick addition that Rule #1 is my very favorite lesson from her fabulous book):

1) See what's really there. Not what you "think" someone else is thinking, or what you're "assuming" someone else is like, but what and who is really there. Remember, you are not only your reputation -- why should anyone else be only theirs?

2) Listen to your gut. Deep down, you know if you're saying or doing something that is mean and hurtful. Trust that instinct -- if your actions (or inactions) feel bad to you... take a different route! It's never too late to change.

3) Save your applause for a friendlier show. Bullies love feedback, and the more you giggle, gasp, or stand and stare, the more likely they are to keep up their bullying act. So steal their applause. Just. Walk. Away.

4) Reach out in friendship to someone who needs it. You never know... the kid everyone tears down just might end up being the best friend you ever had.

5) Be the place where gossip goes to die. Bullying isn't just about shoving into lockers or ridiculing in the lunch line. Gossip and rumors hurt just as much as a punch to the ribs. Don't perpetuate rumors. Don't add to the gossip. Don't whisper or send hurtful emails. If you don't spread hurt, maybe it will die.

6) If you're being bullied, find a safe place... and go there! Don't suffer alone. Tell a school counselor or teacher, parent, friend's parent, or other trusted adult, sibling or friend. An adult can help put a stop to the bullying. And you could end up being someone's hero -- the person who prevented what's happening to you from happening to someone else.

7) Be a carpenter, not a demolition crew. You have the power to build someone up or tear them down. Which would you rather be? Those people in #6 need someone to go to. Be that safe place. You can make a real difference in someone's life, which is kind of awesome to think about.

8) Apologize. It's never too late to decide you are so done with making someone miserable. An apology goes a long way, especially if it's followed up with friendship (or at least a truce).

9) Wear an attitude: "Bullying is SO 1980s!" Make it loud and clear that you think bullying is another one of those uncool things your parents did "back in the day," like wearing big, permed hair and stirrup pants and listening to Depeche Mode cassette tapes. You are so much more evolved than that. You are cool; bullying is so boringly old-school!

Jennifer is offering up a v. cool "Agent of Change" bracelet and a signed copy of Hate List for one lucky winner!  To win, please comment below--one entry for each comment, two for telling us about an agent of change in your life.  One winner will be chosen at random on Monday!

ETA: WINNER!  Congrats to Cari! 

To read more of Authors Rule(s), please click here!