Saturday, May 28, 2011
“Silence is Consent.”
Three very powerful words, aren’t they?
It’s been swirling through my brain for days.
I had to share, but I sit here wondering what else I can say, but really that just says it all, right?
Sometimes it's the things we don't say that speak loudest of all.
Teach your kids to respectfully speak up, and practice it in your life.
Let's all make an effort to speak up against injustices.
To Keep the Conversation Going.
To Not Quietly Accept something that is unacceptable.
To Talk to your kids about Bullying, Acceptance, Tolerance and Kindness.
What would happen then if everyone made that effort?
By speaking up, we can and we will make a difference!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday was a perfect day to dry laundry on the line! It was warm; low 80's and there was a swift 20mph wind and plentiful sunshine. Jeans were dry in an hour, fantastic! This perfect laundry line day could not have come at a better time considering I had piles and piles of laundry awaiting me...
I was in a routine; the "Laundry Machine" had been unleashed. I sorted the piles into "candy lane" (as 11 calls it) due to the fact that I make piles of loads in every color of the rainbow... blue, red, green, brown, white, black, denim, yellow. You get the point. I am very, shall we say, particular about my laundry. I consider it an art form LOL. OK so by 6:30 am I had my first load washing. I was strategically loading the machine alternating dryer items and clothes line items (nothing more frustrating that running out of line space). I was whipping through those piles with precision. 43 made an emergency DownyÒ run for me, love him, and the tubs kept spinning.
As the afternoon wore on the sky began darkening. I had checked Facebook between loads and read a post from Tom Skilling of WGN Chicago; "Tornado watch is imminent for the Chicago area." Mr. Skilling is a weather genius! I quickly pulled up our local radar and didn't see anything for 100's of miles. 43 had run BACK into town a few minutes prior and then I hear the door. He walks in with the dry laundry off the line. He didn't want me (or the clean laundry) to get stuck in the rain; he was having a SUPER considerate day I must say! Luckily my laundry rotation had already flipped over to dryer stable loads and I was ready for the sky to open up! Laundry off the line and machines running at full speed with fresh loads, I turned on The Weather Channel.
This is when my beautiful, perfect, productive happy Sunday was permanently altered. I tuned in just moments after the tornado hit Joplin, MO. The Weather Channel newscaster was aimlessly navigating the barren street littered with crumpled cars, tattered lumber and little else. Then the audio went out, or so I thought. But then, in a barely audible choked up voice, I heard him mutter… this is the worst devastation he had ever witnessed. He was sobbing; his raw emotions touched me to the core of my being. I felt his pain, I felt the horror through his eyes and it broke my heart knowing how he may feel embarrassed for being emotional on live T.V. He managed to compose himself and the studio anchors did a great job consoling him and filling in the silence. He explained how they were driving less than a half mile behind this palatial twister, "it was rain wrapped" he said. This prevented them from realizing how close to the danger they actually were. As he walked around in circles looking for any signs of life he explained how even the Fire Station was hit and it was taking the firemen time to respond. He began begging for doctors, nurses, first responders from anywhere nearby to please head over. It was primal. The camera panned to a small group of men carrying someone out the rubble. The reporter said "it looks like they might have rescued..." then swiftly pushes the camera away from the shot and follows up with "actually we may not want to show that right now". Well it was too late; those of us viewing his report saw the grim view. It wasn't a rescue and it broke my heart...
I had to turn the T.V. off immediately. It's not that I didn't care or wasn't interested in learning how to help or what happened. But I knew there was nothing good to see. My heart could not take the visual images. The families now trickling in looking for their loved ones, deserved privacy. I know me turning off my T.V. did not give them that, but it was one less set of eyes on them and it was one less traumatizing visual for me to absorb.
I thought of my laundry. 43 turned back around from half way into town to get it off the line and bring it inside for me. In one instant the people of Joplin lost everything. I was worried about clean jeans landing on the grass, they are wondering where their child was. How can life change in a flash? How can we go through life taking every moment for granted? How can I breathe my next breath and not appreciate it? How can your life be on the line... and you don't even know it?
Life is short. Time moves quickly and the longer you want a moment to last, the faster time goes. Summer break goes by much faster than three months of school. A great movie seems like minutes compared to a two hour traffic jam. Four hours of sleep leaves you feeling deprived, unless you have a newborn baby, then if feels luxurious. Every moment is precious. Every second has value. But most of all, every person in this world has great WORTH and PURPOSE!
Do you know your neighbors? Would you know what name to call out if you were searching through the rubble for them? Would time go by quickly or slowly? Would you only look for the people on your street who shared your beliefs? Would you ask them if they were Democrat or Republican before you helped them? Would you ask someone if they were gay before handing them a bottle of water? If you have a heart, NO! You're there to help, you would just see humans. You wouldn't step over a black neighbor to save a white one. Most people could never be that cold hearted in midst of a crisis!
I take this moment to remind myself and ALL of us that we are HUMAN BEINGS... We are ALL made from something bigger than us... We need to see each other as we see ourselves and treat each other as we wish to be treated. We need to reach out a hand to EVERYONE, EQUALLY. Because in one flash, it could be your life on the line... By separating humans by our differences, we put a lot on the line… we put humanity on the line… and that's a storm none of us will survive!
Be kind. Teach acceptance.
When I pick her up from school, she gives me a run down about her day and this day was like none other. As soon as she hopped into the car, she starts telling me about this boy who was beat up to the point that he was bleeding. I was in shock! I asked her about it and she told me what happened, but the strangest thing came from this conversation, something I did not expect.
She didn’t realize that fighting comes from bullying.
She told me that the boy who was beaten up gets picked on frequently, but he is a really nice kid. The boy who beat him up is a bully. I ask her if she is nice to the boy who got beat up and she said yes and she told me how sick it made her feel to watch him get beat up.
I asked her, did she tell anyone and she said no, because she was scared. I can understand that. She’s a tiny little thing and the bully is almost as big as a full grown adult. But she knows now to speak up the next time.
Funny thing, what kids think of bullying.
What I learned from this: Take every opportunity to talk to your kids about bullying. You never know what you’ll learn.
And one further point, I do want my daughter to Stand Up and Speak Out against bullying, but in this instance, I expect her to only go find someone, not get in the mix. I cannot fathom the harm she could have faced if she stepped in to the fight. I realized it was important we talked of what actions she should take as a bystander.
It was a learning experience for both of us…. Aren’t those the very best kind?
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The teacher wrote the bully up and sent him to EAP. I think the teacher should have suspended him. I didn’t speak up because I was scared. Now I know to speak up.
When I got told mean stuff I told my principal and she said, “Not now, I’m busy.” She is the principal and she should listen to me.
What I've learned:
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I understand that true forgiveness is difficult to achieve. In fact, I have only experienced it one time in my life, where I truly and honestly forgave someone. That person was my father.
In all rites, my father was an emotional bully. He was strict, and his words could be very biting and demeaning. Everyone else saw him as this incredibly smart man (which he was), who was supportive and loving and compassionate (which he was...toward other people). At home, the story was quite different.
Living at home, my father made me cry practically every day. He was the kind of person whom you feared, yet respected. He demanded respect, but showing respect for his children was difficult for him at times. He would tell us how he felt, but he did not want to listen to how we felt. If we tried speaking to him, then he would be angry and tell us that we were talking back, and would send us to our room. He would ignore us for days, not saying a word. He would make comments that would send me into a depression and if I refused to tell him how much he hurt me, he would think that I was being defiant. I couldn't win with him.
He wasn't always that way, however. During his early years, my father was a strapping, muscular, strong man who would do anything for anyone. He was the person people would go to with their problems, and he would do whatever he could to help them out. Family meant everything to him, and he was a proactive father. I often went to him with a problem, and he would help me sort it out.
As he grew older, he developed multiple sclerosis, which took his entire body from him, except for his incredible mind. I should have realized in my adolescent years that he was no longer the man I knew, and I should have been more understanding. Adolescents however, does not give you the capacity to realize those things however, and I took everything to heart and was severely depressed.
We fought constantly. He hurt me and I would in turn hurt him. However, he was also the man who helped me with my math, consoled me when I was heartbroken about a boy, and would give me general advice about life. He was a good man. He was a good father. He just had no control over his body, so he coped by taking control of everything else around him, including his children.
Before he died, my father and I had a moment of clarity, love and forgiveness. I explained to him that although I had a hard time showing it, he was my hero. He was a man who may have been spiteful and mean, but he never complained about the disease that took him from us. He never complained about how much pain he had to endure everyday and he never complained that he could no longer do the things that he used to do. I loved him, and I let him know that. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he was proud of me and my accomplishments, and that he was also sorry for the relationship we had during the last few years. It was a beautiful conversation, and I forgave him. We forgave each other.
When my father passed away, I felt no guilt or shame. All I felt was love. When I think of him now, I no longer think of the tumultuous relationship that he and I once had. All I think about, is that he was my father, and he was loved.
My father passed away five years ago, and yesterday was his birthday. I cried while thinking of him, but not because I was still harboring ill feelings. I cried because I knew he was in a better place, and because I loved this man with all of my heart.
True forgiveness is the most wonderful feeling in the world, and it has brought me inner peace.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Once a friend, always a friend...
This was sent to me from very good friend of mine, who I went to high school with.....
“I was thinking back to a time, I thought was much simpler….and for me, the time of my life....I am not sure if life is more or less complicated these days... I don't think we, as humans, change all that much, but I do know that I had the time of MY life in HIGH SCHOOL. I know that it is not that way for so many kids. They seem to be under more pressure than ever to be and do more...for some the pressure to be the best has had its downfalls....
I, for one, think that FRIENDSHIPS can and should surpass the test of time...they can make life much more sweeter and so much more fulfilling…All you have to do is open your mouth and speak...say a kind word to someone and you will soon see how a friendship can blossom from you taking the initiative...I have had a group of girls that were my best friends back in school, who to this date are still with me...
I always tell my children... choose the right friends, because they will be with you forever....I am thankful that these women are still a big part of my life and that if I ever needed any of them, I know they would be there for me in a heartbeat...
So, make it your personal goal to befriend someone you would otherwise never speak to....who knows, they could be your friend for life….can you imagine how much more happy your life could be just by saying five little words....HELLO...MY...NAME...IS...____...By being kind to someone.. You could forever change your life...."
Remember as always... BE SWEET....
Monday, May 16, 2011
One day Anna saw someone getting bullied. She was thinking , “Should I tell someone or just walk away?” She just walked away. She was not thinking the right answer, she should have told a teacher.
The next day at 12:00 she saw someone getting bullied. So that day she stood up and said, “Stop being Mean to a nice little girl.” Then she said, “I bet she was not doing anything at all to deserve you treating her bad.” So the bully did not say anything mean. He just walked away and never did anything mean to anyone again.
When she walked away everyone shouted, “Anna stood up. Anna stood up.” Then everyone was so happy.”
Sunday, May 15, 2011
As I sit on a beach chair inside a home and watch Lake Michigan pound against the sand, I took out my 8 year old daughter’s notebook that I had her write about bullying in. As I sit at this Open House on this cold and blustery spring day, I decided to type up her words, take pictures of them to prepare for her very own blog posts.
We talk about Bullying frequently and she has often told me that she is proud of what I am doing. When we first started ABC, I gave her the notebook and asked her to write in it with the intent of sharing it on our page. Now that we have a blog, I will be sharing her words with you via this.
I have just finished typing them out and taking the pictures and I feel on the verge of crying. Now some of you who know me, may exclaim, “Well what’s new with that?” I admit to being a cry-er, but I was not always like that.
Having kids changed my life, changed my whole world. While the bullycides of too many youth were the inspiration behind ABC, if I was not a mother, I don’t think it would have affected me as much as it does.
When I think of the mothers and fathers that will never again get to hug their child because they were ruthlessly tormented by bullies, it honestly breaks my heart. And it also inspires me to make a difference.
I am honored that my 8 year old takes the time to write about bullying. I am happy to introduce you to her and her writings through our blog. Maybe one day she will be doing what I am, striving to make a difference.
For my protective motherly instincts, we will call her Ruby Red in all of her blog posts. She recently had me dye her hair a color as bright and unique as she is, and we came up with this nickname yesterday.
I will be posting her first blog post tomorrow morning, so make sure to come back, read her first blog post and subscribe to our blog!
Together We Can Make a Difference.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I guess before I continue to blog it would be polite to introduce myself. I am a fantastic "29" year old woman who loves ALL of the children in my life, many of whom call me "Aunt T~". I live in Northwest Indiana on the southern tip of Lake Michigan. I was born here, raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and returned here about 16 years ago. Its home.
I am a very giving person, I L-O-V-E to help make things better! Many who know me would say I am very giving of my opinions as well =) Please do not let this be confused with being judgmental - THAT I try very hard NOT to be! Everyone tells me to "write a book of AuntTisms" or "write a blog". So here I am!
I live with three male two legged pets ages 43, 14 & 11. We have many furry and feathered pets including a rabbit, eight Muscovy Ducks, ten chickens, four dogs and 75 head of beef cattle roam around our property. I love all of my pets, especially the first three!
I hope to bring kind words and thought provoking, insightful, funny post from my world to yours. I will not stick to a theme, but I will attempt to keep it on track. If you ever have a question for me or something you would like me to write about, feel free to let me know! One thing I can assure you, I will never blow sunshine up your keester! So if something I write offends you, keep reading! My blogs will be like Northwest Indiana's weather… if ya don't like it wait five minutes. Ha!
I will leave you with my favorite live tips:
You MAY use your brain and lips congruently – it will NOT cause bodily damage…
You have ONE mouth and TWO ears, use in proportion…
"Ignorance is learned. Teach acceptance."
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
"Now to introduce myself, my name is Cari Adams and I moved to Michigan City in 2009. I am a mother of 3 children; Blythe, the one with the fabulous glasses, and Grace & John, who are twins. I go to school full-time at PNC and work part time at Merrion & Associates with my fiancé, David, and his mother. I am a HUGE Ellen fan and believe we will one day be BFF’s.
Last fall there was a rash of bully-cides and they are a large part of why ABC is here today. I found myself crying in my office over the senseless deaths of these children who felt there was no way to escape the bullying they have had to endure other than to kill themselves. It made me want to make a difference and I started heavily researching bullying. I began formulating a letter to the local schools when I talked with my friend Timary about it. Timary is a teacher in Gobles, MI and she authorized through her principal to send me a Behavior Rubric they had recently implemented into their schools. It really felt like the missing piece to the puzzle. We’ll be talking about it later after lunch. I mailed the letter and packet of information to every principal, superintendent and school board president. I heard from one counselor since the 4 months of that letter, who felt as I did, that it could be a missing piece.
Knowing my passion against bullying, my dearest friend Candice connected me with two moms who were currently facing bullying issues in the school. That day I decided to start ABC but wasn’t sure what to call it. I tried thinking of some cute acronyms like MAB – Mothers Against Bullying but that was too narrow, too limiting. My fiancé, David, came up with ABC and that night it was live and on FB. Candice was right along with me from the get-go and within a week we found and added Tanya, a fellow like-minded soul into ABC.
Since then we’ve had an overwhelming amount of local and beyond support and have been featured on the newspaper, radio, at the Samaritan Skedaddle and a Family Fun Fair in conjunction with PNC’s Education Dept. We feel incredibly blessed to have the outpouring of support as we truly believe that together we can end bullying.
ABC’s Goals are the following:
• End bullying in school
• Community involvement
• Strong Family Advocacy
• Build Awareness + Confidence
• Host Workshops – In Schools and the Community
• Coordinate “Positive Play Dates”, “Teen Time” & “Grown Up Get Togethers”
• Promote a well executed, universal anti-bullying action plan.
• Be the “What to do...?” Community Resource "
Thank you to everyone for your continued support. I will post within the next couple days about the workshop! It was a wonderful event and we are so blessed!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I am 42 years old, happily married with two beautiful children. Our daughter is 10 and our son is 6. I have a degree in Special Education from Texas, and I also have a degree in Human Services in Iowa, which I just completed today (I had to put that in there, because I am extremely happy to be finished). The next goal for my education, is to take the summer off to spend time with my kids, and then I plan on going to Graduate School to get my Master's in Mental Health Counseling.
When I am not in school, or spending quality time with my family, I am a very active supporter for victims of bullying and in raising mental health awareness. Unfortunately, those two things can sometimes go hand in hand. I have depression and anxiety, so I am aware and understand completely the complexities of having a disorder that many may not understand. The stigma of mental health disorders is getting better, but we still have a long way to go.
I believe in diversity. We are all unique individuals who come from all walks of life, and I believe that our values and integrity can help shape the world into a more compassionate one. At least, that is my hope.
We need positivity in this world. With bullying issues that sometimes lead into suicidal tendencies, and with people who do not understand the differences that we all have, we have become a society of negativity, war, and hate crimes. I believe that creating a positive environment and raising awareness to the issues at hand, starts with us...the adult. Children learn from their parents and other role models. Children are not born to hate and to discriminate. They learn those things from what they see adults doing, and they emulate those behaviors. It is up to us to teach them how to be productive and compassionate citizens in this world. Our children, by all standards, are the ones who will be running this country. They are the ones we will look up to in the years to come to run this country with compassion, honesty, integrity and the values our forefathers taught us.
It's time to stand up. It's time to stand up against the ones who find it necessary to tear others down. It is time to make our voices heard, and teach our children that it is not ok to be discriminatory. We need to educate and we need to teach. We need to be proactive individuals, not be reactive after something terrible has already taken place.
It is time, and the time is now.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Check out more about the Samaritan Center on their website @ http://www.samaritancounselingmc.org/
|The ABC-teers showing off our fabulous T-shirts!|
|ABC Banner making it's 2nd appearance|
|Candice showing off her I'm "M.E.A.N." - Moms Expecting Acceptance Now - Shirt|
|Our Table at the Samaritan Skedaddle - It was rather windy! Thanks Matt for going and getting them!|
Learn more about ABC on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/AntiBullyingCoalition!
May 5 Health Fair @ Michigan City High School
May 7 ABC Workshop @ Marquette Catholic High School Library 11 am - 2 pm
May 21 Positive Playdate @ Homann Karate Do 2 12:30 - 1:30 pm