Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Help Bullying Victims by Befriending Them

Do you know someone who is being bullied? Sometimes just including that person in your activities and group of friends can make all the difference. It certainly did for high school sophomore Chy Johnson in Queen Creek, Arizona.

A special needs student born with a brain disorder, Chy came home from school every day crying about what the other students were saying to her. Looking for answers, her mother contacted another student at the school who was a friend of the family. The family friend was the school's starting quarterback, senior Carson Jones who decided to take the matter into his own hands by inviting Chy to sit with him and his friends during lunch. She's been hanging out with the boys ever since and the bullying has stopped. (Read the article from azfamily.com here>>)

Imagine that a gesture as small as including someone in your conversation or inviting them to join you at lunch could make such a lasting difference. We all need a support system to help us navigate through life. I'm sure you can think of someone who needs a bit more support. Take that first small step and make a difference.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Sometimes I forget how blessed I am. Like many people, I tend to chew on the should-ofs, could-ofs, and would-ofs, becoming embroiled in thoughts that cloud the positive happenings in my life. I used to make bargains with myself: rollerblade six days a week and do a “gratitude” list for ten minutes out of an hour, and only then was I no longer obligated to stay positive. Unfortunately this left too much time to stew in the negativity. Usually I could talk myself into a better mood; at least I felt a better balance in my life. Nowadays, I forgo the bargaining and just gently remind myself to renew and review my gratitude list daily, or at least weekly.

I have recently given some thought on “Thanksgiving” and what it means to me. What am I thankful for? Well, for one, how could I not be thankful for two weeks in Honolulu? At this moment, the sun pours over the city, scattering diamonds across the water and deepening the melatonin in my skin. And I have savored a perfect latte while drinking in the beauty of early mornings gifted with magnificent rainbows arcing across a crisp blue sky.

But when I really think about it, my first thoughts are of the people in my life who enrich my soul and make my days count. After 37 years, my husband can still make me laugh out loud at his quick repartee and I thank God every day that I met him. And, I also thank God that I did not hit my husband yesterday for that most annoying remark! I have friends who are the glue that keeps me from falling to pieces. I once thought I was a loner, but what a goose I was to think I would want to inhabit a sterile world without friendships. I've come to realize that my aloneness was a prison; I am fortunate to have been paroled and to have formed relationships that sustain me, giving me the freedom to be myself—loved  and wanted for who I am.

And I do not say lightly that I love my family—feeling grateful for them uses up at least eight of the ten minutes I allot for reviewing my gratitude list. I am truly thankful for the relationship I have with my brother, who had the good sense to marry a woman I love deeply as a sister/friend, and their children.

As the holidays rush toward me, and as I shop, cook, wrap presents, decorate, and entertain, I am reminded that this is but one way, once a year, I can slow down, remember, and say how much I love and appreciate the positive happenings in my life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The New Trend of Nice it Forward

Have you heard about the latest trend in social media? "Nice it Forward" means to tweet or post nice things about your friends, classmates, friends, etc. Around the country, proactive students are using Twitter accounts designed specifically to create a more positive atmosphere around their schools.

Kevin Curwick of Osseo High School in Osseo, Minnesota is believed to be the founder of the Nice it Forward trend when he started a Twitter account this past July after seeing hateful tweets about several classmates. Via @OsseoNiceThings, Kevin compliments his fellow students for their abilities, accomplishments, positive attitudes, and much more. (Read the KARE11 News story about Kevin>>)

Other students at schools around the U.S. have started similar accounts and it appears the idea is spreading. For example, in response to Twitter accounts that were targeting students at their school, Cameron High School students in Cameron, Wisconsin started @CameronNiceThings to report on the positive things happening at their school. (Read the WEAU.com News article about Cameron High School>>)

I certainly believe this is an idea worth following: spread the kindness and let everyone know that technology can be used for good! What are you doing to create a more positive atmosphere at your school or workplace?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Students Talk About Bullying on Nick News

Hear what students have to say about bullying in this episode of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee from 2010. Friends and siblings of bullying victims who committed suicide speak out about their feelings. And victims and bullies are brave enough to share their stories. The segment also includes an interview with Barbara Coloroso, author of the book The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to HighSchool--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle.

Nick News: Sticks, Stones and Cyberslams

Nick News: "Sticks, Stones and Cyberslams"
Get More: Nick News Episodes,Nick News,Nick News Games

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bullies are a Pain in the Brain

Bullies are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain is an engaging read about dealing with bullies for kids in grades 3 to 6. Romain tackles this serious topic with his characteristic humor and fantastic illustrations. The book is chock full of useful information including why bullies are such a pain, what you can do about bullies, myths about bullies, and suggested books and websites for students, teachers and parents.

I particularly enjoyed the section of Do's and Don'ts for Dealing with Bullies:  Do stick up for yourself but don't fall to the ground pretending the bully is "irritating you to death". Although a bit silly at times, the book includes helpful suggestions like practicing in a mirror what you'd say to a bully, avoiding situations that leave you alone with a bully (when possible), and not feeling like a tattle tale if you go to an adult about what's happening. The author has also created an animated video based on the book (available on Amazon).

This is a book I definitely recommend...don't wait until your child is being bullied to start the conversation about what they can and should do to protect themselves and their friends.