I am sharing a mother’s plea for parents to talk to their children about embracing their differences as well the uniqueness of others.
The video was made after her nine year old son came home upset that he was the subject of racial jokes. Listening to her plea made me think how we, as adults, need to be better models not just in how we interact with different cultures, races and religions but also in the face of any differences. I love how Dianne does not talk about “tolerating” but embracing our differences.
A child growing with a learning difference , a teen experiencing a mental health condition, a youth struggling with his or her sexual orientation or sexual identity or a youth growing up with physical or intellectual challenges should embrace their differences and other youths should as well.
Children are not born prejudice…it is learned…modelled. I’m not saying all children learn this from their parents. We all know how our children learn and change when they go to school. If they have learned a biased way of looking at the world through jokes or racial slurs they heard on the playground, then we, as adults, educators and parents have a responsibility to talk to them about this on so many levels.
Perhaps we, as adults, need to take a moment or two and take inventory on our own beliefs and feelings before speaking to our children. Children are sensitive and savvy and can see through what is real. So take your time to reflect on your thoughts first.
We are not perfect but let’s try to be the best human we can in this imperfect world.
Who am I but me?
in all my imperfections,
I am perfect!
Parents, now it’s time to have your say on cyberbullying. Take the parent survey which ends Oct 21, 2016. Click here for survey
The mission of PREVNet is to develop a national strategy to reduce problems of bullying and victimization throughout Canada. Recognizing that bullying is a community problem evident across the lifespan, and not just a problem in schools, PREVNet utilizes a collaborative model that establishes partnerships with researchers from universities across Canada, national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments in order to create safe, healthy environments for all Canadian children and youth.
Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet)
PREVNet is an umbrella network of 126 leading Canadian research scientists and 61 national youth-serving organizations. Launched in 2006 with the Networks of Centres of Excellence, PREVNet’s mission is to stop bullying in Canada and to promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth. Created and led by Scientific Co-Directors, Dr. Debra Pepler of York University and Dr.Wendy Craig of Queen’s University, this national network is the first of its kind in Canada, providing an unprecedented opportunity to change the way we understand and deal with bullying problems in this country.
Everyone who is involved in a child’s life, and every place where Canadian children and youth live, work and play, needs information about bullying problems and strategies to promote healthy relationships. Before PREVNet, there were a number of different bullying prevention activities in use at local, provincial and national levels, all of which operated in isolation without an evidence-based national platform for coordination and implementation. As a national network, PREVNet is now bringing together researchers and national organizations to enhance awareness, build research capacity, assess bullying problems and promote evidence-based programs and effective policies across Canada.
Bullying Policy & Legislation
How the Law Deals with Bullying Across Canada
Want to know more about Bullying and the Law in your province? Check out this linkwith an interactive map of Canada giving you information on where your province stands on Bullying.
We often advise youths how powerful bystanders/witnesses of bullying can be. It has been proven on school playgrounds, in school hallways, if a group of bystanders spoke up about their disapproval of any kind of intimidation or cruel bullying, it usually stops within seconds.
True, many are afraid to get bullied in retaliation if it is only one or two who speak up. I get that. In fact sometimes it is safer to walk away but sometimes even speaking “after” the bullying is helpful too. Telling a person that you feel bad for them or that you understand how difficult this must be. That can go a long way, telling a youth, they were acknowledged.
As adults we are not much different than youths on playgrounds. On the subway, bus or train, what do we do if someone starts making rude, racist comments to someone? Do we look the other way? Do we move to another seat to get away from the person? Anyone who takes public transit, has witnessed this more than once.
Here is a video that restores hope…it shows how much power we can have in situations like this. A group of people who know what it means to “be the change”
Muslim woman tells how Newcastle passengers
ejected racist from train
I am relieved I don’t have cable or satellite. I listen to Netflix and many videos on YouTube. If I want to know what is going on in the world, I know soon enough from fellow bloggers. Other news I flip through my Twitter feed and scroll down reading one or two articles. I find I can function better this way and do the work I am paid to do calmly and with compassion.
I could pick up a local newspaper and every day I would probably find some comment with a racial slur; too often I hear or overhear comments that intensify entitlement, ownership and intolerance.
The other day we were discussing among friends on cultural differences and how this has impacted us on the way we were raised in our families. One person referred to a person of a specific cultural descent and made a “You know how They can be” comment which I inquired, “what do you mean by “they”” This person you refer to is Canadian, born and raised.” He sheepishly responds, “Well you know what I mean.”
Well unfortunately I do know what they mean when they make comments like that but in fact, I stressed, most of us here, in this province, are from European or British heritage. And the only people who were here FIRST were First Nations People. The conversation died quickly as he turned off to do something else or probably to get away from me. I guess, I can be a pain the arse sometimes.
When does this way of thinking end? My experience is nothing compared to so many people who immigrated here two and three generations ago. I only had to deal with silly comments like “well, you’re not of Quebec roots.” Oh no!? My maternal grandfather’s family came here probably 200 years ago from France. And yet many cultures of “visible minorities” have been here longer than that and still are slighted with ignorant comments and insults.
Whenever there is a national or international crisis people seem to regress back to bad old habits. Why can’t we offer our sympathy and compassion to those touched by tragedy without spewing hatred and vengeance?
I am so relieved I do not have television and do not listen to radio either. Just scrolling through some Twitter and Facebook feeds is enough to give me nightmares. To read the comments of some, however, can be more frightening.
What worries me is the reaction of people these days after the Paris tragedy. I worry about the Canadian Syrian refugee plan and hope this will not be delayed. I even hear among acquaintances about their mixed feelings. I am shocked at the loud outbursts voicing their opinions. Having read an interesting article about Racial Panic, shared by a fellow blogger on Facebook, I remind them of historical events in 1939 about Jewish refugees and most people look at me with a blank stare. How do I read this poker face? Is it lack of knowledge or hatred? I am praying it might be ignorance and now they will be curious to research this. Yeah, that’s right, they will Google this and learn more …right? Or am I being naïve again?
I just watched Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) with a 2014 joint Belgian-French-Italian production starring Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose), who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Sandra, a Belgian working mother /wife who is faced with a simple and time sensitive challenge. Within two days, Sandra must reach her 16 co-workers and organize them for an important vote.
From the start we feel for Sandra and her pain realizing that after being off work for depression, management realizes they can be more competitive with one employee less which gives the remaining employees a bonus and three hours weekly overtime to compensate for abolishing Sandra’s position.
I keep vacillating between wanting to shout for the rights of people who have suffered mental illness and screaming in the faces of working class employees who are not showing their solidarity. It angers me, it frustrates me to see how management can entice people with money and scares them about their job safety.
And then there is the flip side where this woman, who has battled mental illness and feels like giving up but at the risk of allowing her colleagues to get their “promised” bonus she questions her rights and self-confidence starts to slip. Her husband continues to encourage her.
This movie is so real…we see the struggles and how families are all impacted by mental health and it warms my heart to see Sandra’s husband root for her, believe in her and encourage her. I keep thinking that if she does not get her job back, this is a human rights issue but then again, how many have the time and money to fight cases like this.
Management and some greedy employees threaten others to vote for a bonus which is the same as voting Sandra out of her job. A manager scared employees by saying if they did not vote Sandra out, they would lose their job. It is sad to see the “divide and conquer” approach and I can see how the company is trying to remain competitive but their tactics are so very wrong.
The movie hits many nerves…human rights, mental illness, human greed, abuse of power but mostly I was proud to see a show of integrity by some humans who know what is important in life.
The movie brought up old memories of a steel company where I worked and the employees voted for their raises which would lay off many employees…they were going through a rough patch and if everyone would have worked 4 days a week (and believe me, they had great salaries!) they could have weathered through that economic crisis.
They show working class as the targets of such issues and we all know it happens everywhere but in other places employees do not EVEN have a say. When some companies have to eliminate a few jobs during financial difficulties, they rehire new people a year or two later with just a new title for the same job. Meanwhile, do they know how it impacts on the people they let go? If a person is 20 or 30, it is tough but they will find something eventually but what happens to people over 50?!! We are seeing more and more of this and I find it sad…very sad.
At Mindlovemiserysmenagerie Wordle, we are told to use at least 10 of the above words to create a story or poem (this is a tough one!)The words can appear in an alternate form; we are to use the words in any order that we like. I took a chance and tried them in the same order 1. Bastard 2. Glimpse 3. Rubble 4. Trickle 5. Bonfires 6. Wallow 7. Supplicant (a petitioner, a beggar, a pupil) 8. Tenacious (holding fast) 9. Pique (to affect with sharp irritation and resentment, especially by some wound to pride) 10. Bulge 11. Circumspect (cautious, prudent) 12. Liminal (relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process, occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.) I have also written this for the Photo Challenge at Mindlovemiserysmenagerie
“GrandMaman, what’s a bastard?”
Grandmaman’s eyes widened, she sighed and looked up to the sky for a moment as she was weeding her vegetable garden, and crossed herself.
“Hum, bien tu sais, “bastard” has different meanings for animals and for humans.”
“Huh? Je ne comprends pas, Grandmaman. Les `tit gars à la garderie m’appellent un Baltard. ”
“Mais, why do the children say this to you, mon petit? ” GrandMaman could not help but notice a glimpse of sadness mixed with confusion on her grandson’s face.
“Jean Noël said his mother said I was. So what is it? They had a weird look on their faces like I was a bad person.”
GrandMaman stood up and took her rake to remove the rubble along the riverbank, stealing some time to shake the anger that had trickled inside her soul. She noticed tiny branches in the debris and gathered it together thinking this would make a nice little bonfire for tonight. Yes, she thought, this would be a nice way to end the evening rather than wallow in self-pity for the ignorant bullying her grandson was exposed to. Her grandson looked at her in supplication, half expecting bad news but hoping for the opposite.
“Mon cher petit, sometimes children overhear their parents gossip. Gossiping is talking about this and that and sometimes untrue stories about people.”
“But why would grownups tell untrue stories about me, Grandmaman?”
“Tu sais mon amour, the world is made up of many kinds of people. When a miracle happens some people do not want to believe it. Some are even jealous. Ils aiment piquer le monde autour d’eux. Their tongues become sharp and resentful. ”
Poor little guy just looked more confused at his grandmother’s explanation. His head hung in quiet desolation.
“Écoute mon enfant, some use this word to hurt people thinking we do not know the true root of the word. It is like using the name of the Lord in vain. They use something beautiful and in their tenacious vindictiveness, they turn it into something ugly.”
He sighed loudly and shouted, “BUT WHAT DOES BASTARD MEAN!!!”
“It means “love child” mon amour. You are the product of pure and innocent love and you are a blessed miracle in your maman’s life as well as mine, mon trésor. Tu comprends, maintenant?”
The little guy’s eyes bulged as he could not believe what his grandmother was telling him. He kept thinking this over and thought of stories GrandMaman told him gifted children and how many were circumspect around them. He kept thinking of stories of Jesus of Nazereth and how he was so innocent of his specialness yet was threatened by some.
“So children’s parents are jealous because I am a love child, GrandMaman? What does that make me then?”
“It makes you the most unique and loving miracle, mon amour, and must not ever let ignorant or jealous people put you down. They do not know what they are doing and know not what they say. Keep love in your heart, mon amour. Now help me weed this garden, so we can get supper ready and a nice feu de camp later with des guimauves. Allez…allez…”
By looking away, am I taking part?
Under pressure, will I become what I hate?
Look in the mirror and think about my own fate,
Listen to my heart as well as to my head and
Yearn to be the kind of person who stands above the rest.
Human Dignity + Compassion = PEACE
–Mr. Simon, “That’s What I Am”
Variety is something always found here.
Innocence does not have a mold,
Compassion is not always learned there.
To decide if you will stand up for yourself
Is not the only question that will be uttered.
Many find their path in trying to escape.
Life is about time, opportunity and choices… Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you can.
–Mr. Simon, “That’s What I Am”
Originally written in January 2014. When I saw someone reblog this today, I thought to myself, “Hmm, did I write this?” I sure did and often I would suprise myself writing on Sreejit’s prompts at The Seekers Dungeon. Well I decided to repost this here because school is starting up REAL soon and it does touch thoughts on Bullying. Clr 2014/08/23
A conversation about Anger with Mini-Me (MM)
Me: What do you think is meant by Anger? Mini Me: It is what it is, right?
Me: but what might that be? Mini Me: It’s an emotion, a deep feeling.
Me: but is it sometimes a ruse? some kind of manipulation? like the result of a short fuse. Mini Me: Well (sigh) then it might have become sort of a weapon; alright.
Me: Like … of mass destruction, you say?! MM: heh, heh! good one, I like that analogy. I suppose it can destroy the spirit in a family, say…if it is to keep everyone in tow. That type of anger can stem from addiction among other things, it can be a projection of what hurts inside and it’s pointed to others.
Me: Oh, oh! like when things erupt in a row and the yelling scares everyone into silence? MM: That would certainly stimulate compliance!
Me: But that gives a negative slant to that emotion, I’m not liking “anger” at all now…too much commotion. MM: It can also be the only way to make change…reform.
Me: You mean by bullying folks to conform? MM: Well, that too but I meant to stand up for a principle, like, to stand up for what you believe and the rights of people.
Me: Fight for a right? huh? MM: (Sigh) let me explain in words that are plain: Say, someone is a bit of a bully and will harass and a bystander may blow up and say Hey stop being such a hardass!!
Me: Oh dear! that would attract a fight and who knows what else that might erupt all in the name of having a “right”…
MM: You are missing the point again (sigh!) anger is sometimes necessary to gain attention and so much more when you should be respected, speak of what is true.
Me: Yes, I think I understand this; it would mean to use a controlled anger that serves a purpose for the greater good. MM: Yes, exactly. Anger is sometimes a need to ward off the devious, exploiters and greed.
Me: But what about anger that stems from rage that performs in a deranged, frightful stage? I find that very scary…for the person hearing rage and the person raging feels out of control too. MM: that is an anger that needs to be addressed, help from a counsellor or trusted wise friend and counselling can be a way to contend… search from where this fury stems.
Me: Kind of like bottled up resentment? MM: That may be one plausible cause.
Me: And what about the person who is witness? MM: they require an apology and explanation of the outburst and pledge it will stop or at least attempt to control and ration such frenzied outburst.
Me: I felt much rage and anger when my father died. I found that quite confusing, why rage mingled with grief? MM: Anger is part of mourning and, a process that will subside over time. It matters not to whom the anger is projected, know that it is part of the grief process, causing healthy relief.
Me: Wow! I did not know that, the things I learn from you Mini-Mi! MM: So pleased to oblige…there is so much more, you don’t know?
Me: More? You mean other reasons why one gets angry? MM: it can be a symptom of a greater picture, such as mental health.
Me: Oh, no, not that again…something to excuse this dark comportment. I don’t buy too much into that excuse, sorry MM but that’s just a copout.
MM: It is, on the one hand but it can be a symptom of mental illness and there is help, there is hope, there is even treatment. Me: but treatment can be so long and no one wants to be a zombie.
MM: did I not say there is also recovery for such deportment? Me: I’ll take your word for it…I guess.
MM: don’t take my word for it, it is can be a symptom of anxiety, depression, to name
but a few, even part of aging or dementia may have outbursts of anger and even pre/postmenopausal, hormonal based, burnout, and past childhood issues and/or abuse that have been hidden for many many years…then it can resurface in rations of sudden rages…It can be quite disconcerting. Me: what happens to children who are exposed to such outbursts?
MM: a form of explanation but not a justification one must still acknowledge one’s problems, failings, limits.
Me: I guess that makes sense. It sure takes a lot to finally acquiesce. MM: Yes, it does….it does indeed.
Me: I really enjoyed this little talk, thank you. MM: You’re welcome, I speak only what is true.
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
– Ambrose Bierce
“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
Addendum: I realize this is quite an intense and extreme poem. It is meant to send a powerful message that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of! There is help, there is treatment and there is recovery. Mental anguish, pain and illness is not caused by children teasing, taunting, parents who are at a loss in understanding…they may hurt a person more who may not have the strength emotionally and mentally to spring back. Please read the next post where I will talk more about getting help…reaching out. Cheryl-Lynn