Delightfully Different Is Heading to the Printers 2

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.

Most of you know this blog initially started as a means to promote my book, Delightfully Different. I am happy to tell you that I submitted the final proof to iUniverse this week. The book will be available through their site in the next ten to fourteen days. Here is the link to their site:

Writing for me has become a process that is a rewarding cathartic. There is a certain irony to this as I went into nursing years ago so I could help others. My teachers wanted me to pursue either a journalism or an English major instead. You see these were truly my strong subjects not science. My old English teacher is hopefully watching from heaven, and I recently received a long letter from my high school journalism teacher. Thanks to both of them for giving me a love of reading and writing.

I will also continue to blog, as I have found that doing the research for the blog has helped me to continue to learn, and to be open to other’s ideas on the subjects of bullying, autism spectrum disorders, and forgiveness. It is a continuing journey and a learning process which I am enjoying immeasurably.

To Err Is Human_To Forgive Divine. 3

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 is a very old saying originally written by Alexander Pope.  Divine can mean God, supremely good, or heavenly.  I leave it to the reader to determine this for his or herself.

You may ask what this has to do with Asperger’s Syndrome or with bullying, which are the two topics I generally focus on in this blog.  I say it has everything to do with both, as people with Asperger’s especially those who experience bullying, have trouble forgiving.

However, that is not why I chose this topic for today’s blog.  I chose it because today I was reminded that I too have to learn to forgive.  Otherwise, I’m a fraud who has no business asking my daughter or anyone else to forgive.

The reminder came in the form of an e-mail that was not even intended for me, yet I am the one who received it.  The sender thought he was addressing another member of my family.  This is not even really the point.  The point is on seeing the sender’s name; old feelings of anger came back.  Why I was angry is not important.  What is important is the lesson I learned today.  You see I really do believe in forgiveness, yet here I was holding a grudge against someone I hadn’t heard from in years.  I realized I had to let go of the anger and move on, in order to avoid grinding my teeth and wasting my day on something that is no longer important.

How many times in my life have I refused to let something go and ended up hurting myself?  I don’t even want to think about it.  I want to truly learn from my mistakes and move on with my life.  I want to become a more tolerant person and today I was.  I responded kindly to the sender, and let him know that the e-mail address was incorrect and wished him well.  It really did feel good to do this instead of letting my anger fester and take control of my day.  So yes, to err is human and to forgive is divine.  I look forward to your views on this.

Learning Empathy and Tolerance for Others While Helping Our Children 1

Photographed at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Photographed at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

We all have to support each other and try harder to be empathic. It is not always easy to do, and this is especially true when we perceive an attack on our children. The grizzly bear or lioness comes out for me then.  I usually just avoid posting when this happens, because I know I will say something I will regret later otherwise.

Does this mean I always do the right thing?  I only wish this were true.  I too have been guilty of saying the wrong thing, as I think most people have.  I just hope anyone I have ever offended in any way has it in their hearts to forgive me.

It certainly brings home the issue of children bullying others over the Internet. That is why it is so important that we as parents teach our children that the Internet is forever.  They need to understand that it can’t just be torn up or erased.  It is the job of parents and educators to teach this to our children.

My son’s school has a wonderful class that they teach to the sixth graders called Technology.  It is not a quick one time class.  Rather, the class meets daily all year. They learn how to safely navigate the Internet, applicable laws that apply to information on the Internet, as well as, how wrong it is to cyber bully someone. They are learning that they are held accountable for their actions on the Internet.  I think it would be great if every school did this, although given the precociousness of today’s kids, it might need to be done at an earlier age.  Maybe we all need a class like this too!

Mahalo again for listening,

D. S. Walker

Coping With Emotional Scars of Bullying 1

Mia Lung is a character in the novel, Delightfully Different. ©D. S. Walker

Mia Lung is a character in the novel, Delightfully Different. ©D. S. Walker

The following is an excerpt from my book, Delightfully Different. Mia is talking as she tries to heal from the emotional scars bullying left.

Part of me wanted to become an advocate for all of the kids who were delightfully different like me. Delightfully different was what Mom called me. I still wasn’t brave enough to speak up. I didn’t trust people enough yet. I wanted to believe there were good people who would understand; unfortunately, our society seemed mean to me. There were TV shows where people ambushed their “friends,” so they could tell them how awfully they dressed. There were people who posted things on the Internet about my generation. They said, “This generation needs to get tougher. Their parents overprotect them. There has always been bullying of kids who are different.”

They said that those of us who were different just needed to learn to fit in, as if it were our fault that we were mistreated. They didn’t think that society should make accommodations for us at all. They implied that our sensory issues were something that our overprotective parents invented. They even blamed our parents for our sensory issues.

Our society was advancing technically, but it was returning to an age of barbarians in terms of the way we treated others. Honestly, what gave anyone the right to judge what I or anyone else wore? Why should I have to be just like everyone else? More important, why would I want to?

Mia’s mom explains to her that she has to learn to forgive to avoid becoming the mean one and I firmly believe this is true.  I hope once people are better educated about how bullying affects those on the Autism Spectrum, that others will come to the aid of the victims, and support them the way they currently support kids who have a physical illness or injury.  That is my dream for the future.  For with understanding and support, I truly believe we can eliminate bullies or at least eliminate any power they have to harm others.