Wednesday, January 25, 2017

That's Just Bad

I would like to take an opportunity at the beginning of the New Year 2017 to give shout outs to the media and the articles about our children, the brave and intrepid children of these articles, who are our future and will make a difference in our lives, our communities, and the world. Their voices, their actions, their dreams are so important right now to have exposure, a forum, an ear of everyone who can listen, have an open mind, and a willing heart for some real changes.

Thank you Jerry Large, columnist for the Seattle Times, for your article on “Bully Busters Take on Rude Pols” (December 19, 2016). You highlighted the bully issues that girls face everyday. Emma Coopersmith, Lilah Aman-Lucas, and Lola Hurst saw the big picture of the political campaigning and nailed what is wrong. They have started their anti-bullying campaign because of “that awful stuff that was said during the election about women and their bodies and their capabilities.”  These eleven year old girls have a voice, have pens and know how to use them.

“Three sixth-grade girls heard mean comments during the recent presidential campaign that made them think politicians could use lessons in good behavior, so they’re doing some teaching. They created a campaign called D.C. Bully Busters, which encourages kids to send letters to political leaders in Washington, D.C., schooling them on how to deal with bullying. The girls also are reminding the rest of us that we can meet negative stuff with positive action.” - Jerry Lange

Another loud, proud shout out to the January 2017 National Geographic, Special Issue, GENDER Revolution, that is dedicated to global issues relating to gender, focusing on the young people in different parts of our world, and how societies deal with sexual orientation, especially redefining the very term “gender”. As if this is not confusing enough for most of us, there are now twenty-one definitions in one article on redefining gender "A Portrait of Gender Today": Agender, Androgynous, Cisgender, Gender binary, Gender conforming, Gender dysphoria, Gender expression, Genderfluid, Gender Identity, Gender marker, Gender nonconforming, Genderqueer, Intersex, LGBTQ, Nonbinary, Pronouns, Puberty suppression, Queer, Sexual Orientation, Transgender and Transsexual

The entire special issue is a beautifully done and vital edition which gives credence to those who are marginalized in all parts of the world. What we are finally acknowledging is the need to embrace all our differences. The power struggles will never end, for there will always be bullies and demagogues that make it a challenge to exist true to oneself and not as part of a herd, or ideology that suits only a narrow spectrum. These nine-year-old children across the globe comment on how their lives are, will be, and should be; it is not often pretty, but strikingly honest and sometimes, hopeful.  Much has changed, but not enough. The last paragraph on page 33 sums it up succinctly: “The aspiration mentioned most often, across the lines of geography and gender, was summed up by Avery Jackson. If the world were hers to change, she said, there would be ‘no bullying. Because that’s just bad.’”

Nine year olds and eleven year olds leading the way out of the darkness. We as a nation, and as individuals, have had a long, arduous journey through the political wasteland of an election year. Your party affiliation does not matter, finger pointing and complaining about the process is futile; what we must do is put together the strewn pieces of the puzzle to make a whole picture of our government, of our nationality and lives, once again. That is what we do as Americans in a representative government--we roll up our sleeves and get to work. We put on our walking shoes and march, we put pen to paper and publish opinions, we take an active part and use our voice for change, our time, money and skills in our participation in the governing process.

It is a right of a democratic society to vocalize and mobilize in our communities, in meetings, through the media and demonstrations. Let us never forget our rights or cede our rights to voice our opinions and demand to be heard. Let us not succumb to the bullies, either in our politics or schools, work places, homes or relationships. Let all of us strive to be a change for equality and gender recognition, making it safe for children and adults to live their lives without fear of physical, emotional or mental cruelty. We can make positive changes, and we must be bigger than our petty selves and validate our humanity. We must do so for the children. Emma Coopersmith, Lilah Aman-Lucas, and Lola Hurst, the Bully Busters, and Avery Jackson, a representative voice of children globally, got it right.  And that’s just good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ways to Handle Adult Bullies

9 Ways to Deal with Adult Bullies and Mean Girls
by Dr. Ellen Hendriksen via
"While we want to believe that adulthood means the end of off-limits lunch tables, demeaning back talk, and snarky gossip, unfortunately, middle-school bullies and mean girls grow up and go to work. Bullies of the playground often grow up to become bullies of the workplace, which means too many of us find ourselves in eerily familiar scenarios to our dark days of junior high.

Unfortunately, grown-up queen bee and bullying behavior remains the same as back in the day: it systematically targets a colleague with the intention to intimidate, undermine, or degrade. The same tricks get recycled, too: gossip, sabotage, exclusion, public shaming, and many other deliberate behaviors." Read nore>>

8 Keys to Handling Adult Bullies
by Preston Ni, MSBA,
"Most of us encounter adult bullies at certain points in our lives. An adult bully can be an intimidating boss or colleague, a controlling romantic partner, an unruly neighbor, a high pressure sales/business representative, a condescending family member, a shaming social acquaintance, or other types of abusive relationships.

On the surface, an adult bully may come across as aggressive, demanding, and domineering. However, with an astute approach and assertive communication, you can turn aggression into respect. Here are eight keys to successfully handle adult bullies, with excerpts from my book: “How to Successfully Handle Aggressive, Intimidating, and Controlling People.” Not all of the tips below may apply to your particular situation. Simply use what works, and leave the rest." Read more>>

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Penny in Time Chapter 8: To Be (part 1)

Just a few minutes ago, the chambers had been filled with Monosapiens, but now at a glance, it was empty.  Sitting on the hard bench with Yugo on my lap, we might as well have been on an island, with no hope of being rescued.  Yugo must have felt bereft, too, for he burrowed against my cheek and clung to me as I stroked him.  He whimpered and I looked down into his teary brown eyes.

"Hush, so I can think," I scolded him gently. It worked, for he drew a deep breath and I could tell he was trying to make himself feel brave.  I know I was.

I wouldn't do a bit of good for Yugo if I didn't come up with some sort of argument in his defense.  The first thing I had to do was erase those five faces of the Perfect Council from my mind.  I forced myself to calm down, breathing in, letting go, remembering the conversation I had had with Mr. D, trying to figure out what could be wrong with the "perfect society".  Yugo wasn't the problem, and I doubted he'd be the last misbegotten to show up.  They couldn't just throw the baby out with the bath water and call it a clean issue.

A couple of things occurred to me, but I wasn't sure how to work them into a case for us.  Mr. D had made such a point of the "self-perpetuating society", but even though I suspected this might be the key to the puzzle, I couldn't come close to knowing why.

Time ran out.  As the five judges took their seats in front of me, the courtroom pulsated with voices and scuffling bodies as the seats were filled up.

"Elizabeth Conner, come forward!" commanded Judge Ludwig.

My hands were cold and clammy, and in spite of Yugo's reassuring kisses on my neck, I felt myself quaking.  The place suddenly got real quiet.

I stood and wobbled a little as I approached the panel of judges.  Yugo loved me, loved me, loved me.  As I held him tight, I responded, I love you, too.

"What have you got to say, Elizabeth Conner?" asked Judge Ludwig as the others eyeballed me.

"I don't understand why you want to kill Yugo."

"Let me clarify," Judge Ludwig folded his hands and leaned against the table.  "There are moral issues:  partnership and family; economics, for there is no provision outside of the family to support the misbegottens; therefore, misbegottens create an imbalance in our society.  It is by far, the best and kindest solution to the problem of caring for the misbegottens to remove them from our society."

Suddenly, he no longer scared me, he just seemed like a total jerk.  "Why don't you come out and say it's murder?"

"Because Elizabeth Conner, we do not consider it a moral judgment.  This is not an issue of love or hate.  We cannot tolerate imbalance.  Is that all you have to offer as a defense?"

Something snapped inside of me and all the anger I felt came out in a rush of words.  "How can you call yourselves a 'perfect society'?  Couples stay together even if they don't love one another, and for what, appearances?  Is that perfection or harmony or balance?  NO! it is a lie!  You wouldn't have a society if not for a lot of individuals---and the good of one is just as important as all of you!  This is not a perfect society!  Your premise is built on a pyramid of half-truths.  You are a society of liars and murderers, and that is a moral judgment!"

Was it only me shivering, or did I feel a tremor throughout the room?  Chairs scraped.  The natives are restless, I thought to myself, hoping that they might be shaken out their indifference.

"What is the real problem?" I challenged.  "Just come out and say it!"

The five judges glared at me.  Mrs. Furbal spoke up in a clipped, deliberate voice.  "There is no provision, Elizabeth Conner, for the support of a misbegotten.  There is only so much in resources available to each family unit.  Our economic system is based on that precise balance.  That is the crux of the problem," she spat, flicked the file folder shut and tossed her drab mane of hair with an air of finality.

The one sitting next to her, a man-thing in reading glasses, added haltingly,  "We cannot afford to feed and shelter misbegottens."

"Precisely, Mr. Reader," Mrs. Furbal said and smiled her little snobbish smile.

I was stunned!  "You mean, it's all a matter of money?"  It gave me the same feeling I had when my Dad bought me expensive presents, like money was really more important than spending an honest hour being with me.

I juggled Yugo so that I had a hand free to dig into my jeans pocket.  I pulled out the five pennies, stepped up to the table and smacked them down right in front of Judge Ludwig.  "It's all I have, but take it!  Yugo's going home with me!"

I don't know what I had done or said to affect a freeze frame in the proceedings, but I knew in an instant it was major.  Yugo twittered, like he was both thrilled and frightened.  All five of the panel appeared dumbfounded; Judge Ludwig stared at me flabbergasted, Mrs. Furbal's hand froze midway between the table and her mouth, the man beside her had his glasses half on, half off, and the other two on the committee stared at me with their mouths gaping.  There was a huge gasp, like everyone sucked in a big breath and held it.

I took a step away from the table and did a quick scan of the room.  Mr. D walked towards me, his head high, looking very serious.

He came beside me, encircling me with his arm.  "I claim the misbegotten, Yugo, and take responsibility for Elizabeth Conner's safe return home."

Judge Ludwig composed himself, but not without a slight stutter.  "She, um, she must take back the coppers."

I didn't hesitate one minute to sweep the coins up and pocket them.  I was ready to turn around and get out of there, but Mr. D didn't make a move to leave.

"This is all so unprecedented!" Judge Ludwig huffed.

"What is it that you mean, Mr. dIAmand, to claim the misbegotten?" demanded Mrs. Furbal, ticking her fingernails on the tabletop.

"I mean to say that I will assume parental responsibility for Yugo."  Mr. D hugged me, then dropped his arm to his side.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Adult Bullying: You're Not Alone

Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic
by Valerie Cade,
"Think of a time when you were ignored. Think of how you felt. Hurt, sad, puzzled, stressed… Did you think, “What’s wrong with me?” or “How come I was left out?” Or how about when you were brave enough to reach out and ask ‘why is this happening?’, and were met with a polished answer from the person that left you with more self doubt and no answers?

Now think about being ignored, left out and pushed aside…day after day…after day…after day…This repeated ignoring is one of the worst types of bullying known." Read more>>

Adult Bullying: Harassment By People You Respect
by Sue Scheff, via

"Adult bullying is more prevalent than many want to admit. If you’re old enough to pay a mortgage or raise a family, shouldn’t you be able to handle anything that comes your way? But bullying doesn’t come to a standstill after graduating from the playground, and giving grown-ups a pass on aggressive behavior only sets a bad example for our children still on the playground.

A while back, I discussed the case of a parent who felt the need to air her laundry (dirty and clean) all over her Facebook timeline. Her thoughts were broadcasted publicly, even for her children to see. Additionally, a group of mothers recently took to Facebook to bash pictures of toddlers. These behaviors make kids think: if my own mother can bully, then why can’t I?" Read more>>