My Christmas Wish: Sweeter People and More Joy and Understanding 2

Sweet Christmas TreeI purposefully avoided posting this past week.  My meeting with the new administrator of the former school was disappointing although I was proud of how I handled myself. I wonder if he can say the same.

I lost hope in ever getting through to anyone at the school because this man is known for implementing an empathy program at his former school yet, I did not feel any compassion from him. Aloha was certainly missing from this meeting.

Still, I know there are good people in this world and my children are safe.  They are both amazing and kind despite the world and despite the former school’s attitude about doing the right thing. I am not going to pursue trying to talk sense into the senseless anymore. I have more important things to do with my time than waste it on those who seem unable to be compassionate. My family needs me to drop it, so this is my last post about my daughter’s school experience. She is happy again and is working towards her goals and that is all that really matters to me. I am grateful that we have supportive people in our lives and both of my children have good friends.

The news out of Connecticut last Friday shocked my very core and deeply saddened me. The news media continues to promote stigma instead of the need for more support and understanding, and the list goes on and on.

I pray for a kinder world for all children. I send prayers to the families in Newtown. I send out prayers that someday the rest of the world will understand that supporting children and their families should be the norm regardless of whether the child has a physical illness, a developmental delay, a neurological difference, a mental diagnosis, a physical difference, or any other difference. We support victims of senseless violence and of disease and we should, but we should also support everyone else.

I wonder what if:

  • What if Adam and his mother had support when he was younger?
  • What if assault weapons were illegal?
  • What if children saw beyond the packaging and they saw his heart when he was younger?

Would things have turned out differently last Friday? We have no way of knowing for sure. Yet, I can imagine a different outcome. I can imagine a kinder, more understanding world where everyone really is safe.

I hope I am not alone. I hope you can imagine it too. Help to change your corner of the world to a more supportive place for all. Help the Adams of the world before it is too late. Everyone deserves more kindness in this world.

Eliminate the Word Tattling 4


Word Press had what is your favorite word as a prompt a few days ago.  I do not have a favorite word, but I do have a least favorite one.  Well technically I guess it is a more than one word although they are all related to the same root word and meaning.  The words are: tattling, tattle-tale, tattle.  I think we should ban them from schools after second grade and replace them with informing, telling or reporting.  The reason I say this is because bystanders are so important to the safety of victims of bullying, yet too many do not speak up for fear of being labeled a tattle-tale in addition to fearing the bully

I think these words and their connotations discourage our children from reporting bullying. Kids do not want to be labeled as a tattle-tale. I suggest instead of using the word tattling, we talk to children about when to tell and when not to tell. Reporting someone who is harming others is sometimes necessary.  For instance, if you see a child being beaten by others and no one is coming to the child’s rescue, you definitely need to find an adult to help. You also need to find a way to help when someone is repeatedly ganged up on by other children even if it is not physical.

This goes back to the post I wrote about bystanders which you can read if you missed it:

The Importance of Bystanders | dswalkerauthor.

Informing, telling, or reporting to protect someone has a better connotation than tattling. Although criminals might not like informers, most of the rest of us are grateful for them. This is especially true when they take murders and drug pushers off the street.  This is not to imply that bullies are murders or drug pushers, but honestly what they do to the most vulnerable children is almost as bad.

I also still think the schools need to reward the bystander who does speak up with a tangible reward. Let me know what you think. When you were younger would you have been more likely to report someone being mean to another child if you knew you would not be called a tattle-tale, and instead might be rewarded and maybe even be someone’s hero?

Addendum: The video originally included in this post is no longer available. Basically it was a short segment by a group teaching children about reporting versus tattling.

Bravery in the Family 16

There are three people I love dearly who have all shown unbelievable bravery in their lives. The first one is my dad who fought in WWII and Korea, but that is not what made him brave to me. The other two are my own children.

The first time I personally witnessed bravery was when I was a little girl. I awoke to a loud banging noise that would not stop, and then I heard my parents’ voices. My mom was begging my dad not to go outside. I got out of bed to see what was going on. Mom was crying and Dad was saying, “Lock the door behind me and call the police,” as he stepped out the door closing it firmly behind him.

Mom locked the door and opened her arms wide as I ran to her. I hugged my mom as she dialed the phone and I heard Dad yell through the door to Mom, “Tell them someone has been badly beaten and is bleeding.” Next I heard my dad telling someone on the other side of the door, “I can’t let you into my house because I have young children, but my wife is calling the police to get help, and I will stay here with you until they come. Whoever did this seems to have left. I saw a car speed away when I opened the door.”

Later I asked my dad why he risked his own life by opening the door. He replied, “Sue, if I were injured wouldn’t you want someone to help me? A long time ago a friend helped me and the only repayment he would accept was a promise that I would help someone else.”

Over the years I observed my dad helping others including repairing their cars when they came off our exit on the freeway only to learn that the nearest station was another eight miles away. He never accepted payment for doing this even when he had to drive somewhere to get auto parts. He always told them the same thing, “Just help someone else one day.” My dad did this his whole life and what better way to teach your children kindness than by being kind yourself. How I wish everyone in this world were like this!

I do not know if I have set as good of an example for my children, but I am trying and I think for the most part I am doing a good job of raising them. I will tell you a little about them and you can decide.

My daughter gave me permission to write Delightfully Different to help others as long I made it a work of fiction. I think this is very brave because I know how hard it was for her.

My son who observed everything that happened to his sister refused to be mean to another boy at school when a group of boys he has known since kindergarten started being mean to this boy. The boy told them my son is his friend and when the “bullies” asked my son if this is true, he replied, “Yes.” Some of these boys have picked on him as a result, but my son has kept his integrity which I think is way more important than remaining friends with mean kids.

Let me know what you think. Do you teach kindness to your children despite what other parents do?

Addendum: Much has changed since I originally posted this. My daughter left the school of her dreams due to their failures, but not before she made the brave decision to tell the high school dean her decision herself. She had the dean in tears, but this did not change the outcome.

That dean has since left the school and the former headmaster has too. We tried to get an apology for my daughter that we want placed in her permanent record to explain that the failures were not hers. The new headmaster refused.

In fact, after agreeing to meet with me, he tried to throw me out of his office ten minutes into our conversation because I showed him a happy smiling self-portrait my daughter drew when she first entered kindergarten before the bullying almost destroyed her. I still managed to converse with him for fifty minutes, but I did not see any indication that he was empathetic.

He did not even offer me a tissue when my eyes were clearly tearing and I had to dig into my purse to find one. He did promise to read everything I left with him including a school newspaper where the bullies called my daughter a reject. (No they did not mention her name, but the whole grade new who was interviewed and she was the only one who had been excluded from that group. The paper went to every child from kindergarten through twelfth grade and it was on-line until I pointed it out to school the year we finally left them.

My daughter blogged her heart out and became #15 on Babble.com’s top autism blogs. She has since stopped blogging and worked hard to overcome the long-term effects of bullying. She wants to escape this island environment where she cannot go anywhere without running into someone who knows her. She wants to start fresh.

You can help her accomplish this goal by sharing our story and purchasing my novel. Right now her dream college is out of our budget. BTW: We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific, so the only way she can go away is to pay out-of-state tuition.

Teaching Kindness to Our Youth Without Pointing Fingers 1

Kids, who appear different, still have much to offer the world if schools teach tolerance of differences instead of turning the other way when children are mean. I started this project after it came to my attention that most of the girl’s book series at the time were actually about girls being mean to be popular. Since then Gossip Girl which is all about girls being mean has been turned into a TV show and now Pretty Little Liars has been too. The least harmful of the books was The Clique books and these were made into a movie.

Purchased Clipart Collection Version 1.2 (2.2) Copyright ©Macmanus. All rights reserved.

Purchased Clipart Collection Version 1.2 (2.2) Copyright ©Macmanus. All rights reserved.

This blog is not about pointing fingers or placing blame; its is about educating our youth.  Kindness to others is all too often one of the values that some of today’s young people seem to be missing for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, some kids don’t seem to understand that being mean has consequences so we all need to work together to make sure they understand.  Rather than punishing kids after someone gets hurt, let’s teach tolerance of differences so no one else gets harmed.

Boys are victims too and sometimes they are even victimized by the mean girls, but Delightfully Different is about a girl.  My next story will be about Mia’s brother and it will address some of the issues boys face.

This story isn’t about anger; it is about learning to forgive intolerance while teaching tolerance.  Healing of the injury is not complete without forgiveness.

God bless our children and our educators!