The University of Utah held a conference on bullying this week at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Community Caring. You can read about it here. You might believe they addressed just school bullying. That is not so. Susan Swearer, a keynote speaker, noted, “This is not just a kid issue, it is not an adult issue. It is a community issue.” I concur with this completely.
Society, as a whole needs to change; adults need to set better examples. Values need to be adjusted and positive behavior needs to be rewarded. All too frequently this is not the case. We see it everywhere. Our politicians give us the most public display of bullying in the United States every election with all of the mudslinging.
I do have one concern with something Swearer said that I think might cause her words to have less power. She noted that the victims of bullying who commit suicide, “have a vulnerability” and she referred to bullying as “the tipping point.” I have a problem with this one. She seems to be giving the bullies an out for their mean behavior.
Swearer also made another good point that I have been trying to make; we need to stop vilifying the bully and realize that regular people are bullies too. We need to correct the bully’s behavior not become the bully. What do you think?
I am grateful for the lessons Dad taught me while riding horses together when I was young. One obvious lesson was to get back on the horse when you fall off or are thrown. However, my dad used our horses to teach so many other lessons.
When I was around eight my Shetland pony bolted with me on his back with loose reins and my feet out of the stirrups. My dad did not panic instead he got within hearing range to shout these instructions, “Hold on tight, remain calm, and focus on grabbing the reins to slow down.”
When life seems out of control I’ve always referred back to this. I also learned something else valuable that day although at the time I did not realize it. Every time my dad and his horse got close my pony ran faster.
Finally, I had to yell to my father, “Stay back.”
When my pony realized my dad’s horse wasn’t close by, he did slow down. This allowed me to grab the reins and the stirrups.
What did this teach me you wonder?
It taught me that sometimes as parents we have to step back and let our children handle things themselves. This does not mean not being there, my dad wasn’t too far away after all. It is more about being supportive without stepping in which can be very hard as the parent I tell you. I think it is especially difficult when your child has any difference that makes life harder for them. Yet, even they have to be able to work some problems out for themselves.
I learned the lesson.
Yet, it is still hard to remember especially when I see one of my children hurting for some reason. They both are now old enough to ask when they need help and since one day I hope they will be on their own, I have to let them grab the reins themselves while being close enough by to offer advice.
How I sometimes wish life were as simple as it was when they were toddlers! Back then the greatest pains could be kissed away. And before you ask, yes, both of them allowed me to kiss away their pain then. “Oh those were the days my friend!”
A few years ago we started a family tradition for Thanksgiving in our house. We all go around the table and tell each other what makes us thankful. I can’t remember where we got the idea, but I believe it was from a movie. I really love the tradition even if it’s origins are corny. This year I have so much that makes me thankful, so I hope you will bear with me as I post a corny family tradition here.
I am thankful for my two amazing children who continue to teach me new lessons about life. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who supports me even when I don’t make it easy for him. I may be forgiving of others, but my poor dear husband will tell you that I can be difficult to live with sometimes. Still, the dear man loves me for which I am grateful. I am also grateful that he brings me coffee every morning. My family knows not to talk to me until I have my morning coffee.
I am grateful for two adoring dogs, well someone has to adore me after all! I still believe dog is God spelled backwards, not because they are the anti-Christ, but because they are angels sent from God. They love me even when I forget to walk them, or tell them to go away that I’m trying to work. God Bless Them!
I am also thankful for all of you who take the time to read my blogs and who support my endeavor to make the world a safer place for our children, as we all work together to create a world where bullies are no longer tolerated. I am especially thankful for those who are helping me to promote the book. You all know who you are, and since some of you are private people, I won’t list names here.
Thanks to Kim Wombles for writing and posting the book review on her blog. Kim’s blog was Countering, and she is one of the founders of Autism Blogs. I am also thankful for many other follow bloggers who share their thoughts and insights, and who along with those who comment on their blogs, giving me great insights that I might not have without them. If you go to the different blogs, you might want to check out some of the ones they follow too. We have so many talented and informative people in Blog land!
Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving in America or celebrating life else where, have a wonderful weekend! I plan to actually spend some much-needed time with my family including the four-legged members of the family this long weekend.