From 1963 Speech of Martin Luther King, Jr.
I started writing Delightfully Different to teach tolerance of differences, yet at the time I was angry not forgiving. A group of mean girls wounded someone whom I love dearly. The books for middle school girls were about being mean to be popular, and the other mothers were reading Queen Bees and Wannabes. I learned some even were okay with their daughter acting like the queen bee. I don’t believe that was what the author of the book intended still that is what happened.
I decided that I had to change this somehow. I started by educating the school as to how things affected my loved one and how they could help. They did help, but I also realized the root of the problem was not the school. The root of the problem was lack of understanding of differences, and that meanness is not okay. I decided I had to do something which is how the book was born.
A good friend saw how angry I was and suggested that I try writing from a place of love not anger, and she was totally right to suggest this. She also advised me that even if I never sold the book that writing would be therapeutic, and again she was right. Still I refused to stop there, as from day one I kept telling people about my idea, and that I was going to write a book to teach tolerance in our schools.
Another friend told me that if I was serious, that I needed to get the book on Oprah, because some schools chose their required reading books from Oprah’s book club. I did my research and learned that at least some of the books used are on Oprah’s list; therefore, my ultimate goal for this book is to somehow get it be to be one of the books in Oprah’s book club. I know the kids who need to read it most will then read it, hence I e-mailed Oprah yesterday through her magazine web site. Now we wait and I ask all of you to pray that she somehow sees the e-mail and agrees to help.
D. S. Walker
How do we forgive those who hurt our loved ones? It certainly isn’t easy. I am fortunate in that I had just finished reading Immaculee Ilibagiza’s book Left to Tell at the time I learned about the bullies who hurt my child otherwise I might have reacted the same way as the dad in Florida who stormed the bus. I also got to hear Immaculee in person and meet her face to face during this time. She is a truly wonderful person and she inspired me to learn to forgive the bullies.
Still for me forgiveness is a work in progress especially when I hear about other kids being hurt by bullies. For those who don’t know Immaculee’s story, she survived the slaughter in Rwanda in 1994. She and one of her brothers, who was out of the country, are the only survivors from her family. While in hiding she overheard the murders of her younger brother describing his death as they called for her so they could kill her too. Yet, she forgave them as she realized that remaining angry would hurt her. When I met her, what struck me the most is how serene she is and the fact that she is clear that forgiveness does not mean forgetting.
I hope in some small measure my book will inspire someone to learn to forgive without forgetting and maybe they’ll inspire someone else to do the same. Let’s all really work at passing this message on to others. Thanks again for listening to me as I blog.
D. S. Walker
Kids, who appear different, still have much to offer the world if schools teach tolerance of differences instead of turning the other way when children are mean. I started this project after it came to my attention that most of the girl’s book series at the time were actually about girls being mean to be popular. Since then Gossip Girl which is all about girls being mean has been turned into a TV show and now Pretty Little Liars has been too. The least harmful of the books was The Clique books and these were made into a movie.
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This blog is not about pointing fingers or placing blame; its is about educating our youth. Kindness to others is all too often one of the values that some of today’s young people seem to be missing for whatever reason. Unfortunately, some kids don’t seem to understand that being mean has consequences so we all need to work together to make sure they understand. Rather than punishing kids after someone gets hurt, let’s teach tolerance of differences so no one else gets harmed.
Boys are victims too and sometimes they are even victimized by the mean girls, but Delightfully Different is about a girl. My next story will be about Mia’s brother and it will address some of the issues boys face.
This story isn’t about anger; it is about learning to forgive intolerance while teaching tolerance. Healing of the injury is not complete without forgiveness.
God bless our children and our educators!
While all of the characters in my book exist only in the author’s imagination, being misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated by others when you have differences is real. People with a learning disability and/or a neurological disorder, such as Mia’s sensory sensitivity with features of Asperger’s syndrome may find it hard to recognize when others mistreat them until things escalate. I want to educate the world about the delightful traits many of these kids have and encourage them to standup for themselves, but also to encourage all of you to standup for them too.
Remember, every life has a purpose. We are all unique in some way, even if we do not admit it. Be grateful for who you are and for who your children are. Help them to learn to cope in this world. Use whatever resources are necessary to help them. However, do not try to make them like the rest of the world. Help them to be proud of who they are.