The U. S. Department of Education Gets It.

There are several articles on bullying in the news today.  The one that really caught my eye and made me shout hooray is the one about the Department of Education .

They finally get what I’ve been saying all along.  We have laws already that if enforced would protect most of the people who are victims of bullying.  I sent an e-mail to Lee Hirsch last month after seeing ABC’s  “Bullied to Death,” asking him why there was no mention of prosecution in the case where the girl was assaulted in front of her home, or in the case of the You Tube video created by little girls telling ways to kill another little girl.  I also pointed out that the seventeen year old in Georgia who committed suicide after repeated bullying should have been protected under the ADA.

Finally, the U. S. Department of Education gets that at least some incidents of bullying should still fall under current laws, as according to the link below they are “reminding schools that some incidents could violate more than a local code of conduct.”  They are reported to have sent a letter from the Office of Civil Rights indicating specific cases would rise to the level of discriminatory harassment.  They noted protections against discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, sex, age, disability in programs or activities that receive federal financial aid.

They also note that if a school limits its response to specific application of its anti-bullying disciplinary policy, the school may fail to properly address discriminatory harassment.  I say it is about time that someone realized this.  Now if we could just educate parents, maybe they’ll actually teach their children that their actions can have dire consequences.  Lets hope some of them actually are reading the latest news.

As I said before, involving the law would be my last resort if either of my children are ever bullied again.  I really want children to avoid prosecution, but until parents actually get back to teaching tolerance and kindness, I’m afraid it may be the only way to get through to some of our youth.  Parents please educate your children.  I don’t want a child to die or to go to jail.  Those of us trying to make changes just want you to get it, so we can all forgive and move on with our lives.

My Gratitude List as U.S.A. Celebrates Thanksgiving

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.

©DelightfullyDifferentLife

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. If you haven’t seen it, Kim’s blog is Countering, it is listed below under My Blog List. 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, give me great insights that I might not have without them. Some aren’t on the list below, but I check them from others’ sites. 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.

For Me, It Really Is about Forgiveness

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©dswalkerauthor

I agree with Don Henley’s song, “The Heart of the Matter.”

The Mayo Clinic even agrees although in different words. You will find a total of 154 references to forgiveness, if you go to search their site. It is even part of a stress management and resilience program called SMART. Forgiveness is part of this structured program to develop a calm disposition. You can see two articles from the Mayo Clinic about forgiveness at the links below.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MY01290

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MH00131

Harvard Medical School has an article about the health benefits of forgiveness.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/power_of_forgiveness

You don’t have to look very far to see that most religions also talk about forgiveness. I’m not going to go into that here. You can look these up if you choose.

You may remember I mentioned Immaculee Ilibagiza, in my Lessons of Forgiveness blog on September 21, 2010. My point here is simply to point out that we are not the only ones who believe in the power of forgiveness.

I choose to continue to work to forgive, because I know holding onto anger causes me more harm than it causes those who hurt me in some way. Yet, as I said before, it is not easy, especially when people hurt my children in some way like the bullies hurt one of my children, and other children have tried to bully the other one. Don’t expect me to be a passive individual if you say or do something to harm my child, because remember that is when I am a lioness or grizzly bear.

Still, I continue to try to practice forgiveness in all aspects of my life, so I will forgive you just not right away. Hopefully, one day it will get easier to forgive the more I practice. Better still, maybe one day the world will be a place without bullies and where children on the autism spectrum, or with another type of difference are accepted, not mistreated.

Unlike Life, Fiction Makes Forgiveness Look Easy 5

I love fiction because you can write things the way you wish they were.  You can create as much support as you wish were available for families struggling to understand a child’s differences.  Fiction also allows the child with autism spectrum to be presented in a positive light.  Too many times real life does not do this.  People judge harshly when they do not understand, and somethings cannot be taken back.  They can hopefully be forgiven, but forgiveness sometimes takes time.

Most people have trouble forgiving people who deeply wound them, but add the dimension of Asperger’s and multiply the time and effort it takes to forgive by ???  I really do not have an exact number, as like neurotypicals, every individual on the spectrum is unique.  The wounds are certainly deeper, but then I think bullying deeply wounds any child.  Yet, in my book, Delightfully Different, Mia forgives after a couple of years.  I want to be clear; I love fiction!!!

I put most of the responsibility for forgiveness on Mia in the book.  In reality, I know the child with Asperger’s has to see the parent forgive first.  This is not easy for the parent either.  When someone wounds your child how do you forgive?  It certainly is difficult!  That is why I really am grateful to Immaculee Ilibagiza for her example.

Time and infinite support help us to learn how to forgive.  It is not something that comes quickly.  It involves baby steps, three forward, five back, then three-step forward again for what seems like an impossible amount of time, if it happens at all.  It also involves love and patience and acceptance of why the process is so difficult.  Ideally, it involves the other person meeting them at least half way, if not three-quarters of the way repeatedly.  When this does not  happen the process can take longer.  There is still hope, but it does take time.

A friend once told me that it is too bad that we cannot have a do over with our first child, the way we can with a piece of pottery when it crashes.  I really do not want a do over, but I do wish I had done so many things differently.  I love my children the way they are, so I would not do either of them over even if I could, but I would do it differently with the knowledge I have now.

Delightfully Different is a work of fiction, so Mia’s mother did things differently than I did.  She also has two wonderful sisters, while I have none.  The point I am making is do not assume the book is about my family, it really is not.  There are similarities because I am the writer and we write what we know, but I can assure you none of the characters in my story exist in real life.

Therefore, this story is not like Look Me in the Eye or Running with Scissors.  It isn’t like The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night either.  Remember all three of these were about boys or men, not girls.  The only meanness is from the mean girls.  The only sadness is from “normal” life events and the frustration caused by misunderstandings.

The subtle traits Mia’s family and doctors miss are real traits of Asperger’s that are frequently missed especially in girls, the bullying Mia experiences really happens every day in our schools.  The rest is just a story that I totally enjoyed writing, and I hope you will enjoy reading.

I welcome your comments and after you have read the story, I welcome your reviews on the bookstore sites, as well as here.