Dr. Stephen "Bird" Birchak Ed.D.
197 Sunrise Dr., Gloversville, NY 12078
Dr. Stephen "Bird" Birchak is an author, professor, coach, parent, husband, professional speaker, and reformed class clown. He is a leader in character development and conflict resolution. He combines optimism with humor to bring a hopeful message.
Dr. Stephen "Bird" Birchak has worked in higher education for over 30 years. He is a widely known authority and speaker on issues of change, character, aggression, violence, and relationships. He is the author of a popular bestselling book titled How to Build a Child's Character - by tapping into your own, and the co-author of the Champions of Dignity.
Dr. Bird's efforts as a writer and a speaker are focused on the idea that we all have the ability to tap into the great joys of life and we all have the ability to tap into our character. Whether we are working in communities, corporations, businesses, or schools we can make a change in this world. We can deal with change, create relationships, and remain true to good human nature in spite of the struggles we have to face.
We live in a world that is dominated by images and stories of violence, aggression, and hostility. As a professor I have often said to my students "Raise your hand if you believe that in five years the world will be a better place for us to live." Rarely do I ever have a student raise his or her hand. I then ask, "If you don't believe that the world will be a better place, why are you getting a degree? Why are you going into professions like teaching and counseling?"
I then ask students, "If Martin Luther King, Gandhi, or Mother Theresa were sitting in our classroom, do you believe they would raise their hands?" Students will often respond, "Of course! They would raise their hands!"
I think it's important for everyone to realize that these people were just ordinary human beings with extraordinary vision. They didn't have superhuman powers or special college degrees. They simply had a will to make the world a better place. How would they respond to the same question, "Will the world be a better place in the future?" Most likely they would say, "Yes, the world will be a better place to live because I will make it a better place."
I often talk about what it means to become a "Jerk Whisperer." First of all, it is not about beating down the jerks. Our job is to greet the aggression and meet it with kindness. If you are on a mission to beat down the aggression, it will only fight back. If you are on a mission to collaborate, be kind, and help others (in spite of all the obstacles and pessimists you will confront) then you can make a difference.
There is far too much rage, intolerance, and hate in the world. We can't afford to lose another human being to homicide or suicide. We can't afford to lose another minute of our lives to our own aggression, resentment, and cruelty.
It's the little things that make a difference. When you don't let someone into traffic, or scream at the waitress, or have a fit because the store ran out of your favorite food, or belittle your child because you are having a bad day - you are adding something to the world. Unfortunately, you are adding to the psychopathology. On the other hand, if you are gentle to others in their time of need - you are adding something far more important, you are adding hope.
There is one thing that no person can ever take away from you - your choice. No one can ever take away your ability to choose what you want to do in a given set of circumstances. No one can ever take away your potential to make the world a better place.