And so, I will ask you now to not hate the bullies. Experience tells me that hating them, or being angry with them, will always make it worse. Instead, put your arm around them. Love them. Tell them that they are valuable. Tell them that you expect great things from them. They will stop the bullying. They will stop, because they will start to love themselves. And people who love themselves don't bully others.
And with the bullies, it's really that simple. If they actually believe that somebody loves them and believes in them, they will love themselves, they will become better people, and many will even become saviors to the bullied.
If you are a parent to a child who is less than kind to other kids, I'd very much suggest you read my post from last week, You just broke your child. Congratulations. In fact, every parent should read it. As much as we may not want to mentally go there, a lot of the problem may lie in us. If the problem doesn't, the solution does. We all must understand that we have the obligation, as parents, to help our kids love themselves.
The school bus driver didn't help me. In fact, never once did a single person ever help me. Never once did a single kind soul put their arm around me and show me love. Never once did a teacher comfort me when they witnessed it. Never once did a classmate speak up when they heard it. Never once did anybody do anything.
Part of the answer is a teacher doing more than simply telling the bullies to stop. The answer is a warm hand on her pupil's shoulder, a listening ear, warm words of importance, and then finding a reason for the child to come back the next day, and the next, until that child knows that his presence is cherished.
It got so bad, and my despair grew so deep, that by the middle of sixth grade the only thing I could do was wish that John and Mike would die. I would pray nightly for something, anything, anybody to come and kill them. I would fantasize about gruesome car accidents, fire-filled buildings, and random violence coming to my aid. I would not have cried one tear had those two boys ended up covered in dirt, resting eternally in pine boxes. In fact, I would have been happy. Very, very happy.
In one study, three- to five-year-old pre-schoolers in two child-care classrooms were randomly assigned to the Blue group or the Red group. Over a three-week period all the children wore a red or blue T-shirt every day... In one classroom...the colour groups were not mentioned again. But in the other classroom, the teachers made constant use of the two categories. Children's cubbies were decorated with blue and red labels, at the door they were told to line up with Blues on this side and Reds on that side, and they were regularly referred to by group label ("Good morning, Blues and Reds"). At the end of the three weeks, the experimenters canvassed each child's opinion on a number of matters... The children, for example, preferred toys they were told were liked by their own group and expressed a greater desire to play with other Red (or Blue) children. While some forms of favouritism were common to all the children, more was seen in kids from the classroom in which teachers had made a bigger deal out of the Red versus Blue dichotomy.
Just imagine how powerfully exactly the same psychological mechanisms can drive in-group pride and out-group prejudice when it comes to gender. In a young child's world, gender is the social category that stands out above all others, right from the start...
What does Padme do? Marry a douchebag who admits slaughtering woman and children to her, later he violently assaults her out of jealousy while she is pregnant, she dies of a broken heart because it turns out the guy who earlier told her about slaughtering woman and children is evil.
Back in Evanston, Carrie Goldman was feeling good. Since she had written about the water bottle incident, other parents at Katie's school had talked to their kids. School leaders were supportive, and working on an anti-bullying program.
Something else was happening, too: Traffic on Goldman's blog was exploding.
Some 1,200 people had left messages there for Katie. Readers were coming from Yates' blog, where more than 3,000 more comments stacked up. There were links from "Star Wars" message boards, parenting blogs, tech sites. A Twitter hashtag, #maytheforcebewithkatie, streaked across social media.
Guys and gals of all ages wrote about how they'd been bullied, and how life had gotten so much better since then. They shared that they loved "Star Wars," that they wore glasses, that they were adopted -- just like Luke, just like Leia, just like Katie.
ThinkGeek, a nerdy online retailer, sent Katie a lightsaber. Artist Scott Zirkel sent a cartoon of Katie as a Jedi, glasses and all. A first-grade class in California sent letters to Katie as a show of support.
Taber and the rest of the cast of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," sent "Star Wars" merch. Ashley Eckstein, who voices the female Jedi Ahsoka Tano, sent Her Universe clothes tailored for girls. Tom Kane, who voices Yoda, escorted the Goldmans to a screening near their home.
The thousands of comments left online will be bound into a book for Katie to read whenever she needs it. To keep a sense of normality at home, the family reads just a few every night.
Katie, and her parents, have learned that the universe is so much bigger than the first grade.
"You realize how, if you want someone who has something in common, all you have to do is reach out," Goldman said. "It feels really, really good. What we want is for it to feel good for other people."
Katie is donating many of the books and toys to other kids.
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