Oh ya? Did and Does.

It’s interesting.  How can a conversation with two people about the same event have such different perspectives?  I can’t get into details about this yet, but I can say this…please, parents, know what is happening in your child’s life.
All too often this is the common phrase uttered by well meaning parents, “My child?  My child wouldn’t do that.”  Oh ya?  Did and does.  Sorry, but that’s the truth.
When a mother comes to you in tears and tells you that her child is the target of your child’s daily ridicule and cyber-assaults, your denial really doesn’t help other than to push the problem further underground.  Even though you may not want to entertain the idea that your own child could engage in such hurtful actions, please understand that there exists the possibility that they have done something you don’t like, or know about.
The adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is a lie.  Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can scar forever.  I’m not talking about minor childlike behaviour, I am talking about ongoing, persistent, deliberate hurtful comments or actions that are intended to harm and hurt others.  It leaves a mark.  It can scar.
I received an email this week from a man who was severely bullied in school.  He said “I was called a fag and gay. I was made fun of the way I dressed and who my friends were. This was 20-30 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. The feelings and negativity never seem to go away.”  No one should endure this.
An email from a mother said “my daughter Aleah* was bullied in grade one, a boy put his hands around her neck trying to choke her.  The principal said to her “Why didn’t you scream?””  That’s not the point and the question didn’t really help the matter.
Yet another who said, after the school refused to step and intervene, “I too took charge of the situation and fixed the bullying issue myself. I had one teacher even bully one of my children. Telling him that he had to wear a dress to portray what the women in the pioneer times had to endure! Of course I talked to the teacher, principal and as well sent a hand written note to the education system explaining why my son did not have to wear a dress but we would endorse him wearing what the pioneer men wore! Unfortanely his picture showed up in the year book that year wearing a dress skipping down the track! He then had to explain to us how that happened. Well he said she said I would have to write up a 1000 word essay as to why my parents are not supportive of the school system. So he opted out and wore the dress as it was easier.”
Come on parents, teachers, community members, neighbours.  Let’s stop the bullying and step up to the plate to support youth and parents face this problem head on.  There was a man about 2000 years ago who offered a piece of advise, one that could be considered the national strategy on bullying.  He said, “Love your neighbours as yourself” 
Everyone has a story and your needs to be told.  You can change the outcome too, with the right supports.  Start caring for others.  In the words of my friend, “Lets start a love crusade!” (www.sarawestbrook.com)
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