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Numbness is a feeling that seems a little too close to home and has nothing to do with the bone chilling temperatures outside. I rarely, if ever, vent on my blog. This hardly means that life is perfect. No, it means that I am focusing on the good things and trying to keep on swimming. Today, something has to give and I need to get at least a little of this off my mind.
Numbness is feeling like no matter what you do, your every action is judged and considered wrong.
Numbness is trying to be part of a team to work together to help a cause, only to find out that your assistance is considered stepping on toes.
Numbness is the feeling you get when something isn’t what is was scheduled to be and you did not see it coming at you like a freight train.
Numbness is having something that was out of your control tossed into your face.
Numbness is trying to plan for the future, but being told it’s only going to get worse.
Numbness is trying to keep a smile on your face and not scare others, but inside you are crushed.
Numbness is not being able to figure out the hoops of a secretly political system that is constantly changing the protocol.
Numbness is being told to do one thing by some sources, but knowing the fallout from doing the right thing will be far worse than just sitting back.
Numbness is not being able to scream when you are frustrated because nobody can truly understand.
Numbness is feeling oh so alone on a journey with no map, rules, or proper checks and balances.
Numbness is NOT a good feeling and makes you see things very differently.
Since it is National Bullying Prevention Month, additional focus has been going around about bullying. In July, New York State implemented The Dignity for All Students Act. The act is so fresh and new that a lot of people are still trying to understand how it will work to protect children that are victims of bullies.
The sad reality is that many children are bullied day in and day out. My son has had to deal with this multiple times in his short life, and I have even seen it with younger children. Several years ago, I wrote a post about bully battles that were happening to NHL. He was in second grade and everything seemed to be coming unglued. Dealing with bullying was not something that we needed to add to the mix. Since it’s National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought I would share this in the hopes that it would spur some more important conversations. The reality is that kids often need our assistance and many times may be too scared or unsure of how to ask for it. Taking the time to open the lines of communication is key.
Growing up is hard to do. Kids these days have more responsibilities and items on their plate than many of us did when we were children. Many times, there are things happening at school that our children do not tell us about, even if we have open relationships.
Why? Well, perhaps they are afraid, feel it is tattle-telling, or have been told not to utter a word. As a parent, it is so hard to know what is going on in the mind of our children. Yet, we often know when something is not quite right. Sometimes we see behavior changes, other times our children regress, and, worse, some try to get away from everything going on within their part of the universe. As parents, we need to try to help our kids to know what to do.
The topic du jour in schools around the country is bullying. Educators are trying to reach out to kids, parents, and fellow teachers to help with this matter. Bloggers all over, including my husband (TechyDad) have written about this topic in recent weeks.
What is a bully? According to the definition a bully is a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. Some people may not believe that a child in elementary school could be a bully. Do not be so naïve. It happens and happens often. Bullies these days not only push other kids physically, but they often use verbal tactics to taunt their targets. If they know a child is not as socially suave, they try to goad them. Kids are smart. They know when another individual may take the blame for something just to be accepted. This, too, is a form of subtle bullying going on in schools today.
Recently, I was waiting with my son before an after school commitment. Several children were inside the room and I did not want to leave until an adult arrived. The kids knew I were there. Even with me in sight, they started to make fun of my child. They wrote his name on the board. NHL is a ______! My child did nothing. He just stood there ignoring it. The kids were getting upset that he was not responding, so they upped the comments. They then started calling him rude, nasty names, and wrote it on the board.
After a few minutes, I went into teacher mode. I stormed in and asked if they wanted me to take a picture to show their parents their work. Perhaps they would be proud of what they had done. My child continued to ignore the situation. Was he oblivious, or so hurt that he was bottling up his feelings and withdrawing from the negative environment? Once an adult arrived, I went to report it to the person in charge. I will spare you with the details, but suffice to say they were ill prepared to deal with the bullying going on.
So my question to you. As a parent, how do you help your child when you know they are being bullied, but do not want to open up about the situation?
There are so many other items that could be mentioned now, but perhaps those will be for another day. For now, please help to educate your children about the dangers of bullying and talk to them frequently so they feel comfortable talking with you.
Disclosure: Parts of this post were previously published on a project I worked on during the my son had this experience. The text is mostly the same, but I placed a new introduction to go along with National Bullying Prevention Month.
Do you see those amazing words above this? They are the title of my post for a reason. They are the fighting words of WKBT News Anchor Jennifer Livingston. Recently Livingston received a horrid letter from a so-called viewer of her news show. The letter basically attacked her for being in front of the camera because of her size. Rather than run from this nasty attack, Livingston stood in front of the camera to face her bully and others.
Her message is absolutely beautiful and one that more people should listen to. It isn’t simply about weight either. It’s about what we are teaching our children. How do we want them to treat others, how will they handle the stinging words of a bully, and how will we do the same? If you have not seen Jennifer Livingston’s segment, please take a moment to do this now. I promise you the four minutes is well worth your time and will definitely make you think in another manner.
I think the bigger message here is not simply about weight (says the girl who can completely relate to this piece), it is about being kind to everyone around you. Thinking things through before you say or write something hurtful. In this digital age, it is far too easy to do something stupid and not be able to take it back.
In a society that is filled with people that judge based on visual appearance, we MUST stop this. Sure you may think you know the problems a person is facing, but do you? The smile on that mother’s face may be hiding a deeper pain or concern. Something that you can not see just by looking at her, or her family. When you see a child throwing a tantrum in a store, do you automatically judge the parenting skills of that individual. STOP!
Remember during National Bullying Prevention Month, and beyond, that if you do not know someone you can not judge them. There truly are so many factors that are invisible that people can not be aware.
Wildlife seems to be an issue in our neighborhood recently. Over the summer, neighbors spotted some skunks. Although we never saw them, we smelled them once or twice. Our problems with the ever growing bunny population continue. Thanks to “Little Bunny Foo-Foo” and family, we quit trying to grow any new flowers or attempt another vegetable garden. I know squirrels and field mice will always be around. This is especially true when you have a neighbor that feeds pigeons. ICK – dirty birds!
Last year, we saw chipmunks taunting the neighbors dog, but they seemed to go away. I think chipmunks are cute, but the only type I will allow in my house are these two critters:
While walking to put something into the garage, I realized that our chipmunks are still here. I do not think they ever went away. They now like to taunt me in the style of Jerry from Tom and Jerry. I do believe that they are seriously laughing at us.
Last weekend, we sprayed some natural pest spray (deer pepper spray good for rodents) around the house by some areas that we had seen the cute, but annoying critters hiding in. After hearing some animal cries the other day, I went outside to investigate. The only animal I saw was this little guy:
He kept making noises, but would not move no matter how close I got. Then he ran into the hole under the porch and kept going in and out while making sure to look me in the eye. I’m serious, this chipmunk had attitude.
With winter coming soon, we need to figure out a way to get these cute and destructive rodents away from the house. If anyone has had success in getting rid of chipmunks, please, please, please let me know in the comments because Chip and Dale must get their friends to go!
Children learn early that is is not acceptable to steal written words from other people. Of course, that does not mean that everyone follows these copyright laws. As a teacher, I had ways to check to see if my students were plagiarizing their book reports, essays, and other items. It’s sad to say that tools exist for teachers. This was probably part of the reason why I made book reports into projects that were more creative and outside of the box. They were more fun to correct and share. Plus, they were harder to copy from a source.
As a parent, I have had to explain to my nine year old that when he needs a photos for a project we have to go to sources that are acceptable. Simply using Google images to hunt something down is not allowed. This is something that many schools are starting to explain to students, but with budget cuts many technology education curriculums are being slashed. This often means internet usage and copyright laws are not being covered properly. We need to make sure that our children are following these.
Now, you would think that grown adults would know better than to copy something that was not their work. This is not the case. Several months ago, I had a content scrapper pull an entire blog post about my anniversary. Every word, photo, link, and item was pasted onto their for-profit website. No permission was asked, it was simply taken. I caught it because of a ping-back on a link within my stolen post. I submitted a comment requesting the item be removed immediately and mentioned DMCA laws. After a week of nothing being removed and noting more and more stolen item on their website, TechyDad stepped into use his webmaster ways. Since they were pointing to MY photos hosted on my server, we replaced their call to them with this:
This remained on their website for a few days, then the website vanished. Of course, not all content thieves leave a trail. Case in point – the NickMom website (that I refuse to direct you to). If you have not heard about their massive blunder, you must head over to read Amy Lupold Bair’s post where she introduced the blogging community about the tactics of NickMom. Kelby Carr, Type-A Mom, continues to update her post about how NickMom is sliming parent bloggers. More and more bloggers have written about how to protect your photos after they realized their items were stolen. The reality is that NickMom continues to publish content that is not theirs and will not remove it unless the owner notifies them. I love the way Emily, ColoradoMoms, puts it. The picture of her adorable son and the caption are spot on. Nichole Smith, The Guilty Parent, compares this tactic to stranger danger. These wonderful women, and so many others, have now written about this topic, but one post really hit home. It was from Sarah, Nerdy Apple, on why she left NickMom. As someone who once left a writing job because I was worried about my reputation, I applaud Sarah for standing up and protecting herself. As a community, we must unite to protect each other and stop people from thinking that it is acceptable to take content without permission.
So my question to you this week:
Had you heard about the NickMom drama and have you ever had someone take your writing, photos, or other work without your permission? Would love to know your take on this ever growing issue in the blogging world.
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.
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