I actually wrote a tribute to my mother in February which you can read here if you missed it. She died over six years ago and I still miss her. I can only imagine how much those who lose their parents at a young age miss them. What about those who bury their children?
Today, I also pay tribute to Phoebe Prince’s mom who faced those who tormented her child in court this week and who will spend her second mother’s day without getting to hear her beautiful daughter say Happy Mother’s Day. Despite what must have been a very painful week for her she praised Ashley Longe, one of those who bullied her daughter, for meeting with her privately before the hearing and for showing true remorse. You can watch the video of her confronting the bullies here.
I also pay tribute to all of the other mothers who have lost their precious children to suicide following bullying in our schools. I pray other children, parents and school administrators are paying attention and that changes are made in our schools and in our society so this stops before others die. God bless the families for whom this is too late and God bless all of our children!
I am proud of both of my children as I have mentioned before on this blog. This week I am particularly grateful for and proud of how mature my daughter has become. We enrolled her in a prestigious private school when she was five. This was before she had the diagnosis of Asperger’s.
She has done extremely well academically, yet we had recent struggles related to past bullying at her school and years of being misunderstood. She made a difficult decision this week and handled it with great maturity for any child who is fifteen years old, let alone a fifteen year old on the autism spectrum. We have encouraged her to become her own advocate and she has. She even met with and politely informed the Dean of her school of her decision and the reason behind it. Both her dad and I are so proud of her and stand behind her decision 100 percent.
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.
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?