Tag Archives: #1000speak

A guest post for 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak

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My friend Suzie is an amazingly strong woman that recently drove from Alaska to Florida. Living here in Florida while her husband is in Alaska, due to health reasons on her part. Her strength amazes me. Her courage astounds me. When she asked if she could write for 1000 voices of Compassion Speak, I didn’t even hesitate.

Gratitude, to me, is that rush of feeling, a hot liquid sensation and sense of triumph after the release of cramped abdominal muscles far south of the belly button and the relief, knowing I have made it to the white commode in time. In time for what, one might ask? In time to avoid a future that includes changing one’s clothes and hunting up a washcloth for a partial bath . Hurrying along on a walker is a harrowing experience of balance, pain, frustration, determination and acceptance of whatever outcome. It wouldn’t have been the first time for an “accident” and it won’t be the last. Gratitude is in the moment, in a bathroom. From the abyss of the couch cushions, my cell phone merrily played its country jazz text alert song repeatedly until a woman, near driven to insanity, finally located it, banished it into my friend’s safekeeping and it was delivered back into my hands. Gratitude was what I felt, affectionate amusement was what I saw in my friend Erin’s face. I was thankful to not have to purchase another, lose all the phone numbers I have collected, and briefly resolved to copy them all into an address book, the traditional paper way. This commitment will hopefully last, and be remembered, after a brief nap. I am not grateful for my useless swollen right foot. At least I have a right foot, but I would prefer a useful prosthetic piece of plastic just so long as I could go for a bicycle ride, although diving into the ocean wouldn’t be as easy. My left ankle now aches from the strain of trying to give the right one a respite. I wait, grateful, I suppose, that I am in snow and ice free Florida, not predictably dangerous Alaska where walking without twisting an ankle is a daily test. I failed that test numerous times, although not directly due to precipitous conditions. I have gratitude for owning this computer and using it as a vehicle of frustrated self expression. Creative whining. If my ankles were in good repair I wouldn’t be using this computer. If I weren’t thinking about gratitude, I would be doing what exactly? Unsure.

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Compassionately Honest children

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Honesty. It is something a lot of us strive for. It does however often leave us feeling very vulernable. When we meet that honesty with compassion a wonderful thing happens. We reach a new level of understanding. Suddenly progress is being made where it had not previously happened. As a parent I struggle with this. How do I be open and honest with my daughter about how the world is? I want to protect her and keep her safe.  For awhile I clung to this quote : “Parents need to fill up a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can not poke enough holes to drain it dry. ” Alvin Price.

However, the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it. Why? Why must I fill her bucket so high? What if I just had a child with a healthy self-esteem? Would that be enough? What if instead of filling her up so much that she might overflow, What if I just told her the truth?  If I do that, do I have to have all the answers? It took me a bit to realize, I don’t. I don’t need to be able to tell her why it is, just that it is.I can tell her I don’t know why these things have to happen. They have happened and now we have to deal with them and go forward. If we have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the world, compassion and empathy can be fostered. Not too long ago I found this quote which made so much more sense to me than the first one.

“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. “L. R. Knost

So then my questions turned a different corner. How do I raise a child who can survive this world AND possibly make it better? How do I keep her the loving, peaceful, compassionate and kind child she is with the reality of this world?

The longer my daughter has been at a Montessori school the more I am convinced this is the right path. She is honest about situations but not in a way that is lacking empathy or compassion. This is something Montessori has fostered since the beginning of school for her. There are variations of it but I have heard it called, the peace rose the most.  If feelings are hurt, sit down and figure out how to make it better. Acknowledge that certain behavior was not right without blaming one specific party. I only see this as helping the world be a better place in the long run. If five year olds can do this, What is holding us back? What if all schools everywhere used this process starting in kindergarten. Sure the progress would be slow but I guarantee there would be change.

In order for peaceful conflict resolution, you have to look inside yourself as well. How many of us want to sit down and honestly look inside ourselves? I do it, but I am still squirmy and uncomfortable. I do it because I know my daughter needs the example. I do it because I have seen her peacefully resolve conflicts with skill that just blows me away. Actually, I am not sure if I am being the example or if she is. I know she showed me it is possible in a way I never understood before. I am sure someone had explained the concept that Montessori uses before. It just took my daughter actually doing it for me to understand. Now it comes as second nature to her.  What if we had a whole generation like that? Can you imagine the changes that would happen?

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Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

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Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

Growing up I was told boys loving boys was wrong. Girls loving girls was wrong. Thinking you were a boy when you had girl parts was wrong and vis versa. I was told you don’t question God.God didn’t make mistakes. I never really gave it much thought until a friend came out as a lesbian. Now what do I do? I like her as a person. She is a great friend. According to the religion I was part of at the time, I was not to associate with her anymore. She was openly admitting to a “sin” and not trying to change. When I turned to the church for guidance , I came away feeling like I had done something wrong. I had such immense guilt for wanting to keep the friendship I had. To turn someone away for being who they were was just not part of me.

It took me a long time to work out how I felt about love being love. I had to work past these stumbling blocks I didn’t even know I had. It was not to be talked about so I found myself stumbling. I was lucky to have a friend who was willing and open to let me stutter it out and really dissect how I ,personally felt. I felt a openess and acceptance that I had not felt when I turned to the church. There was a lot of back and forth. Was she born this way? Was it a choice? I saw her dating guys was she faking it? How did she see me? Was she attracted to me? What was her type? Did she have a type? Is this something she was trying out? Didn’t she want babies? She not only explained most of it calmly and openly but she also questioned me back.   Are you sure it’s what you believe or is that just what you have been led to believe? It wasn’t easy and there was definitely squirming in our seats on both sides. We were both works in progress, still are.

It made our friendship stronger. I like to think it made us stronger as individuals as well. However, that was not the end of it. Later I found out that she was holding things back. She told me, Saying that I don’t approve of your choices but it’s your life isn’t acceptance. It is not compassionate. In fact it made her feel guilty, like she couldn’t share everything with me. She wanted to have girl talk and relationship discussions but  when she did she felt very judged. Here I thought I was being so helpful. I was making it worse, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do.  The opposite of what I thought I was doing. I had put conditions on my acceptance and thus our relationship.It wasn’t all one-sided. We had an open and honest enough relationship that she told me about some choices I had made that she didn’t agree with.  It was shocking to me that she actually didn’t approve of some of my decisions. I had not felt any disapproval from her.I never felt judged. She always seemed genuinely happy with whatever decision I made. That was when I realized she was mixing compassion with her acceptance. I am glad she was openly honest with me about her sexual preference. I am glad she was unapologetic about it. It really made me think.  It was easy to say no it is a sin and not acceptable when it wasn’t personal. I didn’t have to think much about it. I realize now how unusual that was for someone to be able to openly and unapologetically say this is who I am take it or leave it. It wasn’t easy for her but she had gone through her own storms to come to the point she was at. We are no longer such close friends. It had nothing to do with her sexual preference. Sometimes you just drift apart. I am forever thankful for the friendship we did have. The learning and growing I went through. Perhaps those lessons were the whole reason she was in my life to begin with.

It wasn’t until I started trying to think compassionately about others decisions that I realized how wrong I had been. Acceptance needs compassion to take the sting out of differences of opinion. Without it acceptance doesn’t mean nearly as much.  As much as we say we do not care what others think, we do. On some level we do. We may not even be conscience of it. The point is, I realized that in order to be accepting of others, compassion is integral. Compassion for myself as I explored what I really truly believed. Compassion for what she was going through and her feelings. True acceptance of someone for who they are is wrapped and entwined with compassion.  As you go through the journey you realize sometimes acceptance is leading and sometimes compassion is leading. At some point you realize they are no longer entwined, they have become one. In the end though there is just love. Love for a friend. Love for another human being. In order to accept that love is love no matter what circumstance requires acceptance at every turn and a blanket of compassion.

 

Join us as we spread warm fuzzy feelings across the interwebs every twentieth to drowned out the sad and horror and bad stuff that bombards us every day. Write and link up, read, comment, share, it all matters. We are not looking to make big huge ripples. Little ripples are much more effective and they can amaze us with their power.

From the ground up (A #1000speak post)

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It’s all over the news these days. It is hard to avoid it. Police brutality! Police shoot civilian! On and on it goes. It starts to get depressing. It is so easy to only see one side of the story, as media often only shows one side.  Even media that tries its best to be unbiased. Are any of us truly unbiased? When the only stories you are being fed are sensationalist and horrible, it starts to taint your view. If you are not looking at the picture as a whole, it is not easy to see why police are acting the way they are. It seems random and unconnected. Folks, it’s time we all started looking at the bigger picture.

When I worked in probation, I saw it progressing. The blatant disregard for law enforcement. It hasn’t gotten any better from what I have seen. In fact it has gotten worse. Both civilians and police over reacting because of past events. ” I wasn’t really resisting!” When you think about it as only your actions it doesn’t seem like resistance.  When you look at it from the perspective of the police who not only have to keep their safety your safety and the safety of anyone in the immediate area in mind at all times. Someone pulling their arm away can seem like a bigger threat.A small resistance can be where it all falls apart. They can’t possibly know that you never intended to escalate it to anything more than that. They are human. They are subject to adrenaline rushes just like anyone else. No? They should control it better? Really? If a person fails to rescue a child being crushed by a car because the adrenaline rush is not enough to lift the car, would we blame them? Would we say they should have been able to control it and lift the car. No one would ever say that. If you really step back and look at it, both situations are one where safety is threatened. They really are not that different of situation. The problem is not them. The problem is not us. It is all of us. It is both sides. Both sides need to reach out. Compassion can be that bridge.

Race seems to play into it sure, but that can end with us. It takes both sides reaching out. If you look back over time there have been many races all over the world that have had clashes with police, for all kinds of reasons. It is not just an American problem. It is global. GLOBAL people. That should be getting our attention. It is practically shouting for change. We can be that change. It won’t happen over night I know that. Right now it is all about planting seeds of compassion. Compassion is capable of building that bridge between them and us. Because really there is no them and us there is only we. We, the human race. There is a lot that needs to change. Compassion is the first step in those changes, I promise. Trickle down effects work. We know they do. We have seen it. Its time to use the same process to go up. Start with compassion from the bottom and it will reach the top. It will. Compassion can go up that chain of command and before we know it change will be happening.

We need to start now, at home with our kids. We need to be setting the example and looking for the good. We need to be scouring the internet for good stories and sharing those twice as much as the negative stories.  We need to be teaching our children to find the positive. We need to get the message through to media that we are tired of only negative stories. We are emotionally burdened by the repetitive horror stories of what the human race is capable of. We need to not shelter our kids from the horror but show them that there can be balance. THEY can be the balance. They can make the difference.  We need to lead them by example. We need to be working towards the changes just as hard as we are teaching them. We need to not only tell them there are two sides to every story but show them. Find the other side of the story. Give them all the facts. Demand that media do the same. From what I have already seen from the up and coming generation they are going to blow us away. They are holding tight to compassion and spreading it. Call it a renewal of the hippies if you want, but peace, love and happiness are not horrible goals.

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Start now. Join us. Read share and comment on the links in the link up below. Link up your own compassion post.

Connecting with Compassion to who I am #1000speak

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Everybody dreams what their life will be like when they are older. Especially when you are a teenager and life is so hard and no one even remotely understands you. Life will be so much better when you are an adult and in charge.I would get married. We would have at least two kids but probably more and of course we would have a boy first and then a girl. We would have this nice house which I would always be able to keep clean. We would have success after success at our careers. We would have money for vacations and would be well-traveled. This picture of how it will be drives you on and on and on. Until it doesn’t. Until that is not how your life is going at all, not even remotely. Your daydreams didn’t account for reality. They didn’t account for infertility, job loss, deaths of loved ones, and on and on the list could go. That’s the problem I struggled with for a while, the picture of my life in my head and how it really has gone.

Many days and nights spent berating myself for messing it up so badly. I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough, doing enough, being enough. I had to get my act together. It was past time to grow up and be the adult I dreamed I would be. In time, I added to that. It was time to be the wife I dreamed I would be. It was time to be the mother I dreamed I would be. It was time I had the career I wanted. I was so good at criticizing myself. Really , I still am.

Every month for a week at a time I would beat myself up. It was so easy to get pregnant we had been told. It only takes one time. Every month I struggled with the feelings of not being enough. Not being woman enough to do a simple thing like get pregnant. Made worse only by doctors who said “ah your young it will happen. There is nothing wrong.” Nothing wrong at all with a nineteen year old, a twenty year old, a twenty-one year old trying month after month to get pregnant and failing. Month after month of seeing my dreams flushed down the toilet, literally. Finally when a doctor did believe, I wasn’t relieved. I didn’t feel vindicated. I felt broken. The day came and the test was positive, for a short while everything was back in place. Then it was gone. I was back to flushing my dreams down the toilet. That picture in my head said I should be pregnant with baby number two by now. That picture in my head was starting to shake and tremble. If I was really honest that picture had broken years ago but I refused to see it.

The test was positive. I took a million more. I didn’t really believe it. I was sure something was going to happen. Even as I was in labor, something would happen. My dreams can’t be coming true. I will mess this up some how. We were leaving the hospital with a baby. WITH. A. BABY. For a few days I believed and then, you have eighteen years to mess this up every day. For eighteen months I worried about every single detail. No, I didn’t worry, I obsessed. I question every decision at least ten times. My house could never be clean enough, I could never be doing enough for this precious life. Obviously the only answer was to try for another baby. You know so I could mess it up twice. I mean so I could get at least one right. Maybe. Two months and nothing. So much for the second time being so much easier. Then the phone call. My husband lost his job. Laid off. Back to the doctor I went, for birth control.

At this point you maybe wondering if I had the same issues around getting married. The simple answer is no. The process was not simple at all. Three weeks after we met my husband was in a car accident. He had been taken by Helicopter out to a trauma hospital. Scary words were said, like life support, coma, brain injury. To see someone like that is not easy. To see someone like that and suddenly know they can’t die your suppose to marry this person.The only second guessing I have is , if he hadn’t been in that accident would I have ever known? Would I have messed that up and walked away. For a long time that answer was probably. Probably I would have walked away from the greatest thing in my life. I am sure I would have messed it up.

One day it was clear. I needed help. Therapy started quickly, before I changed my mind. Medication happened. Medication changes and more therapy. It took me years to be comfortable with self-analysis. This was just simply not done. You simply didn’t do self- analysis with someone else. This is what you did in bed late at night when no one was around. Most certainly you never told anyone, let alone discussed it. Slowly progress was made. Until it all fell apart. It like literally fell apart, got laid off then my car blew up and then I wrecked my “new” car. I tried to pick it back up and worked at a new job for three months and then I realized. No my family is more important to me then this. This work and have nothing left, using medications that allowed me to work but ultimately would shorten my life considerably. My family deserved more than this.

It really wasn’t though, it just seemed like it. Instead it was all falling into place. All that therapy was not for nothing. I have been slowly coming to accept where I am. The first thing I had to do was tear up and burn that picture in my head of how life was supposed to be. Chronic illness had dictated long ago just how clean I could get and keep my house. It dictated a lot of things for a while. Second thing was to tell this chronic illness crap it wasn’t the boss of me, well not all the time. I started writing as a form of self-analysis and as something that maybe eventually one day it would help someone else. Even if it only helped me it was worth it.

Four years later, trying to look back to what really ultimately helped me make the change. The change that took me from a person who had to please everyone else even if it didn’t please her to the one who likes to please others but knows she has to please herself as well. I can’t tell you how much watching tv show after tv show actually helped because I stayed true to what truly interested me. How many Doctor Who episodes I watched at just the right time. The universe was getting its message to me.

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I can’t tell you how much these words stuck with me long after the episode was over. I can’t tell you how much I really just sat and thought about how I feel about these words. There were quite a few others I am sure that I heard but didn’t really hear. I know now that it wasn’t the right time for me to hear them. Somewhere along the way I found myself back to being an avid reader. Somehow I was finding myself. Four years of this, so don’t think it was just one day. I can’t tell you where I was in the journey when I saw this next quote. I just know it stuck with me.

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Huh, yeah. THAT. For a while I just related to this post. I would see it and it would always get a “like”. Then maybe I shared it. The more it sat in my brain just percolating the more I thought about it. Then came the final point, the epiphany if you will. What if I just let go of that picture? What if instead of burning it or ripping it in anger of how it was “suppose” to be. I just let it go. Slowly, I began to actually enjoy my life. I began to start analyzing what I do have about a year ago.

I can’t tell you that voice that always says I am not enough, not doing enough is gone. It is not. It is not always easily squelched under foot either. This is where Buddhism has really come into play for me. Reading some of the Buddhist texts and books available through the Unitarian Universalist Library in our Church I found this quote.  This quote quite often becomes my mantra during meditation.

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I can’t tell you how many times that voice tries to rise and I can only answer Self compassion repeated over and over. I am not quite there yet. I am not quite to who I am yet. I am getting closer and stronger in it every day though.I am trying every day to connect with who I am instead of who I thought I would be.  I hope you are too. I hope you are showing yourself compassion because that voice is wrong. It is dead wrong. You are enough.

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Please do CONNECT with Compassion and Link up to 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak

The blog you are looking for….

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Is off spreading compassion,love and nurturing through-out the interwebs.

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This blog had thought to keep going with posts. However Compassion and love and nurturing is what we all need when we get right down to the nitty gritty.

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So off you go my lovely readers. Off you go. Read comment share spread goodness through out the interwebs!!!

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^^^^^This is the link to the magic

Or go check out some other great blogs that also have the link.

The other hosts for this wonderful spreading of the goodness in 1000 voices of compassion speak are:

Hosts:

Lizzi at  Considerings ; Yvonne Spence 

Co-hosts:

Lisa at The Meaning of Me   Katie at Head Heart and Health  Jen at Driftwood Gardens

Michelle At Getting Literal Crystal at The Qwiet Muse Kristi at Finding Ninee ;Roshn At Indian American Mom

Gene’O at Just Gene’O ; Tamara at PenPaperPad ; Marcia at Blogitudes and also found on The blog for 1000 Voices Speak for compassion

When nurturing is hard to do #1000Speak

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There is so much going on in the world that is bad, sad, disheartening and dare I say evil. When you have a kid you just want to protect them from all that bad stuff. I want to stick my daughter in a bubble and not let any of those bad things touch her. I don’t want her to know there are people who are cruel to animals. I don’t want her to see the devastation of deforestation. I don’t want her to see children starving. I don’t want her to see polluted waters and animals dying from it. I don’t want her to see what happens in oil spills. I don’t want her to know anything about terrorist or suicide bombers. I don’t want her to see or hear or be part of any kind of hate or discrimination.

Ultimately parents should do what is best for the child and I know as harsh as it seems, hiding her from those things will not help her.

Why in the world would I want to expose her to any of this? Well, if she doesn’t know about it , I can’t nurture any feelings of compassion for those children, animals, plants, whatever. If I bite the bullet and have the courage to talk to her about these kinds of things, I can help her see more than just one point of view. I can nurture a point of view that comes from compassion and love.  I can help her separate the behavior from the person. I can help her see how much even just voicing her dissent is important. I can help her see that even if it seems no one hears her dissent what matters is she voiced it. I can help her appreciate what she does have and how valuable just knowing where her next meal is coming from is. I can try and make sure the information she receives isn’t biased or warped. I can help foster her natural compassion for nature by open and honest conversations. Perhaps we can even learn together ways to do better , make an impact or just have a better understanding.

When I was in third grade I had to go to summer school. I had to go to summer school basically every summer but that is besides the point. This summer was memorable. Mr. Kelso was this amazing teacher I had that took a week to talk about Earth Day. In the middle of the summer! For years I assumed Earth Day was in the middle of the summer. When it came to my attention it was in April, I was like um what? No it’s not. Did they change it? He had made such an impact that it never occurred to me that it wasn’t actually Earth Day that week. When I think of that summer I think of Mr. Kelso and planting seeds and exploring the ocean tide pools and a bright hot pink Earth Day t-shirt we got. I can truly trace back my wonder in nature and the amazing world we live in to him. He nurtured a compassion for the Earth we live on just by using free materials because they were “old”. Did he think it was no big deal? Just something to fill the time that was also free? I don’t think so. He had an excitement about the whole week that just couldn’t be faked. Even if he did what a great example of how the smallest cheapest things can make such an impact.

This is what inspires my desire to make sure my daughter’s summers are rich in education and fun at the same time.  I started by trying to spread out what I remembered in that one week in the summer of third grade and spread it over the entire summer. We go to science museums and events that are geared toward specific issues. We go to things that to her just seem fun, Puppet shows and gardening events and such. Those puppet shows are about the rainforest and why its important to save it. They are pretty spectacular in and of themselves as it is not just a regular puppet stage type set up. The whole front half of the room is the stage.  We go to Gardening events that have focuses on growing your own food, on the importance of trees and many more. We go on nature hikes with biologist to learn about different insects, last year it was dragonflies. We went to demonstrations on controlled burns and demonstrations on the hazards of water pollution.   This summer we plan to go to a village that is run entirely eco-friendly. Don’t tell Rick Scott but they talk about climate change there.

Maybe all those summer’s ago, Mr. Kelso figured out what I have learned. It is not going to be me that changes the world for the better. It is the seeds I am planting. One of those seeds happens to be my daughter. The seeds I am nurturing in her are hopefully going to be planted in turn and continue in a ripple affect.Ultimately they are seeds of compassion in its many forms.

Link up or read other post that are part of 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak here:

It’s coming!!! Are you ready?

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April 20th is right around the corner!

Five days!

Wait… What? That’s Monday?

Well I better get right on that then.

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1000 Voices of Compassion is launching a link-up again. This month’s theme is all about Nurturing. There are even some writing prompts idea if you were like me and sat there thinking. Compassion, Nurturing. compassion. nurturing. yeah, they go together but where do I start.

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Remember this is not just for people who have blogs. IF you want to write something, email it to us. We will post it on the main blog page! Published! Boom Baby!

Check back here on Monday for the link-up and get some good feelings flooded into ya! We all need that from time to time to balance out well, reality. Not that reality can’t be good, it just isn’t always.

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All the Meme’s, #1000speak, April announcement

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When I get on the internet sometimes it is like this:

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Sometimes it even gets to this:

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I have enough pages and friends that I follow that I even get this :

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However this is often what happens

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Which is why I am so glad to be part of the initiative of 1000 Voices of Compassion. There is one day of positivity and good happy reading. We have had two great months of posts. I have to has gone a long way to helping me have faith in humanity on a regular basis. The best part is there is so much to read that I can go back when the news is a little overwhelming.  While March was a hard brain bending topic of Bullying and showing compassion, we had some just simply amazing pieces linked up.

April’s theme has been announced.

Nurturing. Which we brain stormed , so the link will take you to some prompts to get your brain going. Or to interest you into coming back to read and share the posts.

While that might not sound exactly like it is a hard concept, remember the overall theme is compassion and being positive.

While I know all these fantastic writers and followers of 1000 voices are great. I am pretty sure it is not like this

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Our goal is to help spread happiness and kindness , love and compassion around.

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We hope that we can share some of it with others and in turn they will share it with more others and soon others will spread it as well. Maybe we could even bring back unicorns!!! Okay well probably not but, I would love it to see if more people spit out rainbows instead of hate and anger.

I have compassion, but not for them? #1000speak

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When I watch T.V. I rarely just watch T.V. mindlessly. Recently I was watching a re-run of Criminal minds where Aaron Hodgner has a parent teacher conference about his son, Jack. He finds out the child his son has referred to as a friend and wanting this kid to come over and all the fifty million other requests that a child makes when they like someone, is actually picking on Jack. Jack has chosen to be the peacemaker and is set on making friends with this bully. I keep thinking about this. Every-time I read about bullying or hear about it, or see it! I am so thankful that 1000 speak compassion theme this month is on bullying.

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One of the principles of Unitarian Universalism is that every person has inherent worth and dignity. I keep thinking about this and how it applies to bullies. Are we telling our kids that everyone has inherent worth and dignity, except bullies.  Really that except part, you can tack anything on. Is this really what we WANT to teach our children? Probably not. The fact is though, in many ways we are. Just sit with that a minute. Really turn over the words in your head and really think about it. It is a hard concept to wrap our brains around. When we look at why people bully; attention, power, to fit in we can perhaps wrap our mind around that. In my mind, once I accept that a person who is considered a bully does have inherent worth and dignity; it opens a door. A door to compassion. A door of seeing that person for a person. I fully understand there is a difference in bullying child to another child and a bullying adult to another adult. However the more I think about it the more I circle back that the best teacher my daughter has is me. What am I modeling to her? Am I modeling that I truly believe that every person has inherent worth and dignity or am I teaching her that there is an except (insert stereotype).

Let’s look at what does this mean exactly? What is inherent worth? Dictionary.com says that inherent means: existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute. It says it is an adjective, a describing word. What does worth mean? Here again I went to Dictionary.com for a definition. This one was a bit more detailed. It can have a few different meanings.

preposition

1.good or important enough to justify (what is specified):

advice worth taking; a place worth visiting.   2.  having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money: This vase is worth 12 dollars.
3.having property to the value or amount of:They are worth millions.
noun

4.excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem:

women of worth. 5.usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for purpose:
Your worth to the world is inestimable. 6.value, as in money.  7.a quantity of something of a specified value:
ten cents’ worth of candy. 8.wealth; riches; property or possessions:net worth.
No where in there does it say that it is dependent on that person or even thing, to be good, nice, pleasant.  We could even go on to say that we are talking about; each person has an inseparable element,quality or attribute useful and important to the world.
When you take this and apply it to someone who is a bully. WOW. Mind blown! We have to stop and really look at that person as a person. They have some(or a lot) not so great aspects, but what about the good things? At first I was thinking, Well they are really good at being mean. So lets look at Toy Story, at the neighborhood kid Sid.  We could say he is really good at blowing up toys. He is really good at problem solving how to blow up toys. He is really good at deconstructing toys. How do we then apply that to real world things? Well repairmen have to be really good at deconstructing things. Chances are if you are really good at deconstructing you also understand how it is constructed. There is always something somewhere being constructed. Often we think of blowing things up as only bad.  The fact is though, there are plenty of things that require that kind of knowledge. We often blow up buildings to take them down when they have become a hazard or a danger to others. This is not even to mention all the science behind it, that can be applied in other areas.

Let me spin off here and tell you a little story:

Recently my daughter told me that one of her friends was not really treating her as a friend should. It was mostly mild things. Let’s call this friend, Ruth. Ruth was not letting Maggie play the game she wanted. The way she wanted. She would play with Maggie in before care but only until another friend came then they went off and played. There were a myriad of other little things like this. I discussed with Maggie that she needed to tell Ruth how she was feeling. That she needed to stand up for herself and say,” hey wait a minute, this isn’t right.” I told her Ruth may not like it. Ruth may say not nice things back to her. I then told her she didn’t need to believe any of those things. I reminded her that as long as Maggie was happy with Maggie then just let it roll off her. For days when I picked Maggie up I asked her did you talk to Ruth? No. Which led to more conversations about it being okay to be scared. It is a hard thing to do. However once you do stand up for yourself, you will feel so much better. I let it go. Her solution seemed to be to just go play somewhere else.

When our kids are younger we tell them to use their words. We then turn around and tell them if they don’t like how someone is playing to go play somewhere else. There is a missing link here. We would like to think all problems will be that easy. They are only three or four, they will have other friends, but is that really teaching them the best thing to do?Yes there does come a point and time where you do have to walk away. However we should be telling them to use their words first. Tell that other kid that you don’t like how they are playing. This is an essential tool they are going to need later in elementary and even beyond.

It happened one day. I think it was about a week after it first came up. Maggie got in the car and said.

” I did it! I told Ruth she was not being a friend to me. I feel really good about it Mommy! “

She was beaming from ear to ear. I responded with :

“I am so proud of you. What did Ruth say?”

Maggie says “Well at first she just kind of rolled her eyes and said whatever and walked away. But she came back a little later and said. I am sorry I have not been a nice friend. How can I make it better?”

Now this may not be typical in mainstream schools, as much as I wish it was. Maggie and Ruth are at a Montessori school. This is what they spent a whole semester in Kindergarten working on.

” See aren’t you glad you said something? Stood up for yourself?” I asked.

“Yes! and it was hard! It was really hard because I was afraid she would depart from me. I didn’t want to lose her as a friend but I decided to say something. And it worked!”

” So maybe tomorrow you can go to Ruth and ask her if there is anything she needs that you can help her with.”

This lead to more discussion. I explained to her that often bullies are bullies for attention or to feel better about themselves or even to fit in with others. We have to look beyond their behavior and see if we can find out why. I related it to when she gets over tired she gets sassy and cries easily. She is not a sassy girl but the underlying problem is that she was overly tired. To which she responded ” or when I have sugar and am all crazy and you say I am bouncing off the walls. ” Exactly. We can’t always do something about the underlying problem, like a sugar rush, but we can have compassion and show that. We discussed that if Ruth had said ” I am not being mean, I am a great friend.” that it would be time to walk away. It wouldn’t mean that Maggie didn’t care about Ruth anymore. We sometimes have people that we care about but are not really friends with anymore.

Now, it is also true that this is a very mild case of bullying. However if we are discussing this with our kids and actively helping them problem solve the little things. If we are demonstrating that we also do this in our lives with the people we interact with. I truly believe they will have the confidence to tackle the bigger things like showing compassion to bullies.

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