I purposefully avoided posting this past week. My meeting with the new administrator of the former school was disappointing although I was proud of how I handled myself. I wonder if he can say the same.
I lost hope in ever getting through to anyone at the school because this man is known for implementing an empathy program at his former school yet, I did not feel any compassion from him. Aloha was certainly missing from this meeting.
Still, I know there are good people in this world and my children are safe. They are both amazing and kind despite the world and despite the former school’s attitude about doing the right thing. I am not going to pursue trying to talk sense into the senseless anymore. I have more important things to do with my time than waste it on those who seem unable to be compassionate. My family needs me to drop it, so this is my last post about my daughter’s school experience. She is happy again and is working towards her goals and that is all that really matters to me. I am grateful that we have supportive people in our lives and both of my children have good friends.
The news out of Connecticut last Friday shocked my very core and deeply saddened me. The news media continues to promote stigma instead of the need for more support and understanding, and the list goes on and on.
I pray for a kinder world for all children. I send prayers to the families in Newtown. I send out prayers that someday the rest of the world will understand that supporting children and their families should be the norm regardless of whether the child has a physical illness, a developmental delay, a neurological difference, a mental diagnosis, a physical difference, or any other difference. We support victims of senseless violence and of disease and we should, but we should also support everyone else.
I wonder what if:
- What if Adam and his mother had support when he was younger?
- What if assault weapons were illegal?
- What if children saw beyond the packaging and they saw his heart when he was younger?
Would things have turned out differently last Friday? We have no way of knowing for sure. Yet, I can imagine a different outcome. I can imagine a kinder, more understanding world where everyone really is safe.
I hope I am not alone. I hope you can imagine it too. Help to change your corner of the world to a more supportive place for all. Help the Adams of the world before it is too late. Everyone deserves more kindness in this world.
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.
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!