Bringing It All Together 9

This year I am scaling back. I will continue to be on Twitter and I will continue to post my blogs to Facebook. However, I need more time to take care of my health, to spend with my family and to work on my second novel, and I need to focus more on forgiveness and gratitude.

I am not giving up on my dreams for acceptance of differences and bully free schools. I will address the tough issues on this blog by bringing you stories of those who are helping, rather than the sad stories that the news media uses to hype up your emotions for a day or two. I also hope to do some presentations and to exhibit at some local venues this year.

I will be adding a couple of new pages to my blog, one for featured stories and one for my progress on my next novel, a topic I started addressing on my second blog. Maintaining two blogs is not working, so I plan to move my posts from my second blog to this blog.

Mahalo for your continued support as I make these changes.

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.

The Importance of Bystanders 11

Thankfully, I had parents who taught me to help people in trouble and yet, until my thirties I did not always do this.  I have never left anyone wounded or bleeding, but there have been times when I have not stopped if I saw others were already at the scene.  I mentioned in a previous blog that I also regret not speaking up to help a friend when someone bullied her on the school bus when I was in high school.  It took me a while to really grow up, so I do get how hard it is for bystanders to step-up and help those in need, although I think it is time we worked to change the apathy within ourselves and others.

What I do not get is why in a time when bully prevention programs encourage bystanders to help, a mail carrier has to fight to try to get her job back after helping a young man who was in danger of being mauled by two pit bulls.  That is just wrong!  See this story:  Mail Carrier Tries to Get Job Back After Helping Boy | NBC Philadelphia.

What I do get and love is bystanders who do help and bloggers who post their stories and helpful information.  Read this post:  Tips for the Bully Bystander « Bullying Stories.

Warning the next link is disturbing, so I understand if you choose to skip it. 

This link includes two examples of how callous people are capable of being:  The Bystander Effect: Alive and Well, Page 2 of 2 – Associated Content from Yahoo! – associatedcontent.com.

The last two links are information from a teacher’s site about the Holocaust.  I am posting them because I really fear for our nation when bystanders do not speak-up and when I see a tolerance of meanness while kindness and acceptance of differences are seemingly MIA in some of our school age children.

A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust-Victims.

A Teachers Guide to the Holocaust-Bystanders.

Do you speak-up when you see someone being mistreated?  Do you encourage your children to speak-up too?

Blogging for a Mission 22

I have been reading others’ posts about the reason they started blogging.  Blogging is not without risks since it involves sharing with the world.  The risks for my family are even greater because a few years ago my daughter was targeted by people she knew shortly after she was diagnosed.

That is when my mission started.  I quit work, I read every book on sensory sensitivity and Asperger’s that I could find.  I bought books on bullying that I read cover to cover, and I talked to the local contact at BullyPolice.org.  I explored the local bookstores to see what tween girls were reading.  I set my TiVo wish list to include autism, bullying, and Asperger’s Syndrome.  I attended conferences and I googled and read more.

Next, I wrote our true story, and then reality hit me like a ton of bricks.  I couldn’t use our story!  The story had to be fiction to protect my daughter and to protect those who harmed her too ironically.  Still, I did not want to trivialize the facts, so it is fiction with all events and all characters changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.   The feelings from the misunderstandings, the love shared between the characters, and the effects of the bullying are real.

I will never knowingly do anything to hurt my family or anyone else for that matter.  Yet, I ultimately want this story disseminated to more people; therefore, my publisher suggested that I start a blog.  Previously, public forums were off-limits to me.  However, getting the message out that the world needs to change to a place of tolerance of differences and hopefully to acceptance of differences is my mission.  The question of how to do this while remaining anonymous came up from the day I took on this task.  Not an easy thing to do in this age of technology as I am sure many of you know.

Ultimately, my daughter agreed to my writing a blog, as long as I am careful about sharing too many personal stories about her.  She and I have come to the decision that it is not possible to remain completely anonymous and promote the message.  Still, I am very protective of her and of the rest of my family, and I will not apologize for this.  If this makes me appear untrustworthy to some, so be it.  If including information about my book, written to promote this message, makes others think this blog is just about self promotion, so be it.

Blogging has brought me to even more information and greater understanding, as I have read many of your thoughts and stories and I have commented on some.  Many of you have welcomed me into this blogging community, and I am so grateful to you.  I hope you know who you are even if I do not always comment on your blogs.  Others are not as welcoming to those they consider to be outsiders, but I cannot waste time worrying about them.

I have made a decision.  I will no longer allow other people to define who I am or who my daughter is.  I am her mother and she is my amazing, talented, brave daughter who I will fight to the death to protect.  I will do the same for my son, my husband, my close friends, and all of my family.

How about you?  What steps do you take to protect your family?  What would you do if someone targeted your loved one?