Friday, November 19, 2010

Listening to what isn’t said

I surprised my daughter for lunch at her school's Thanksgiving feast. While I waited in line, two girls vied for my attention. My daughter naturally hung on my arm, claiming me as her own, but these girls still told me their stories. As they talked, I listened. I looked them in the eye. I wonder if anyone at home listens with undivided attention.

By giving them my attention this way, I validated their existence. Now, trust me, I know kids can talk, and talk, and talk … I remember my elementary teachers commenting on my report cards that I was very talkative—almost every 6 weeks! And my girls have, as my husband says, inherited my "gift of gab." But is anything more important than showing your child you care? There is so much more to their stories and tales than what is said. Listen to how they tell, their tone of voice. What details do they put in? What do they leave out? What can you learn from what they don't say?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bullied Survey

If you have ever been bullied, please help me help others by filling out this survey. No names are necessary. I will use the information gathered to research how to best help those who are currently being bullied. You can email your completed survey with Bully Survey in the subject line to If that email does not work, you may use just be sure Bully Survey is in the subject line. Thank you.

  1. Were you bullied in gradeschool (K-5th), Middle School (6th-8th), Highschool (9th-12th), College?
  2. How were you bullied? Physical? Please explain. Verbal? Please explain.
  3. Do you know why you were bullied? Please explain.
  4. How did you react?
  5. If you are completing this survey, then you survived the bullying. What helped you get through it?
  6. Some kids these days are not surviving. They are giving up on themselves, on life. Do you have any advice or encouragement for those who are currently suffering being bullied?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My opinion on Shirvell vs. Armstrong

I came across this early this week.

Andrew Shirvell authored a blog against a college Senior and sociology major

Shirvell's lawyer, Phillip Thomas thinks it's political and blaims the liberal media--why, because Shirvell is a Christian?

Shirvell was whining about being bullied? Who's the bully here?

Where is the precedent that the First Amendment allows people to bully others on a blog? The precedent for use of the First Amendment has been related to people complaining about the government. Cox claims that bullying is protected under First Amendment rights?!

But Shirvell didn't get in trouble for the blog (supposedly, I guess because sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can't hurt?)

Shirvell says he is a Christian exercising his First Amendment right--to stand outside the kid's house and call him Satan's representative? That's Christian? What about "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"?

While I'm glad there were repercussions for his actions, I'm disappointed in the logic used.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Connection? Correlation? Coincidence?

Yesterday, one friend posted this article where parents, not children, were being unkind about a child's costume. Then another friend posted how rude customers are, apparently forgetting all manners. There is a group called Social Smarts (,!/SocialSmarts?v=info) that has designed an entire curriculum for schools (from toddlers to teenagers) to teach appropriate social skills in order to create a better learning environment and all but eliminate bullying. I remember in elementary school we had a slogan, complete with buttons, "Manners count at SCS." So when did "we" stop using manners? When did "we" forget social skills? Did "we" stop teaching them?

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to see a connection. Bullying is getting worse. Basic manners and social skills are becoming a rarity. What if we respected one another enough to use our manners—please, thank you, excuse me; could we see a decrease in bullying? Sure, sometimes we have to get a little pushy with sales people (the ones who are more concerned about making money than about the customer), but how about if we start with kindness and see how far it takes us.


Monday, November 1, 2010

When Your Child is Hurting by Glynnis Whitwer.

This is a great Bible study that every parent should read. But there's no reason to wait until your child is hurting and then quickly read this for damage control. This is a great Bible study to do before your child is hurting. The study questions at the end of the chapters encourage you to look at your own life to sort through negative behaviors that we as parents can unwittingly pass on to our kids.

Whitwer covers important topics such as bullying, stress, grief, anger, disappointment, as well as when to consider professional help. While she tells stories from her life and her children's, she doesn't claim to be an expert; just a fellow parent offering advice on what she has found works and why. Frankly, I'm tired of "experts" telling me they know my child. It's refreshing to hear Whitwer's take from the trenches.

I found this book encouraging and thought provoking and will be recommending it to many of my parent friends and my church. We can't put our kids in bubbles, but When Your Child Is Hurting can help parents and kids survive the hurts life inevitably brings.