Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Calling Out the Bully Label

My son recently got in trouble for sticking up for a friend at school who was being made fun of by another kid in the library.
Not like trouble trouble, just in that he had to apologize for his behavior. 
Basically for his words.
This kid was mocking his friend and he called this kid a jerk.

"You know, you're being a jerk." 

I have been instilling in both of my kids that they can't stand by when someone is being bullied - say something, tell someone, don't just stand there and watch.

Now in real life, calling someone a jerk pales in comparison to the stabbiness that is sometimes reality to everyone at one time or another over something as simple as driving to work. Apparently in 5th grade, name calling is a very big deal because this kid turned around and told the library teacher that my kid used the word.

"David called me a jerk."

To which the teacher responded by telling my son to apologize to this kid with no investigation as to what was going on. I realize that 5th grade is about which situations to diffuse and which to investigate so I get that this did not constitute questions, it was about what an acceptable solution was for the teacher. I have also reinforced respect for adults and authority so he didn't argue or try to tell the story, he just followed the command given to him. End of story. He did what he was told - but it was apparent he wasn't happy about it at the end of the day. He was doing the right thing. He just went about it like a 5th grader would. He fought fire with fire.

As the teacher, and being that these kids are 11, something in me would want to ask this kid if they were in fact being a jerk. Maybe if he had used the word bully it would have been a different situation.  The big conclusion my son came to was basically standing on the sidelines instead of saying anything is better because at least then you won't be getting yourself in trouble.

In re-evaluating this situation, we determined it was his words that backfired. We talked about whether or not the person you are sticking up for is worth getting in trouble for, if this person would have done the same for him and if the problem would get better or worse if anything was said. We talked about the uncomfort factor and the power of words. We are big on practicing situations and so we substituted his calling this kid a name with something I'm personally becoming an expert at.  Here are some example responses we came up with instead of name calling:

"That was so nice of you."
"Saying that must have made you feel better."
"Was that really necessary?"
"I'd like to make chocolate out of you, you're so sweet."

Now I while know sarcasm and name calling may come from the same family, sarcasm is harder to tell on someone for so why not go there? Labeling didn't work so well. What if that bully label is thrown completely to the wayside and has no meaning? Why not instead toss out something to distract them and maybe make them think about how they are projecting themselves as a person?  He won't be doing nothing about it, he will be throwing them off instead of sitting there and watching. Instead of fighting fire with fire, smother them with kindness. Better to be pro-active than reactive. Kindness is better than name calling even if it's dripping in sarcasm, right? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Going Old School

So my best blogging bud who I'm still dying to meet and hopefully will this year, The Robot Mommy has tagged me in the newest pass it around post about going old school.  I think she knew I needed a reason to post something since I have been under my own rock for a few months now and really have no excuse.

Annnnd we're off!

1. What were you doing 10 years ago? 
Wow - 2003 I was still a new mom, had a 1 year old son. Still renting in our first house and my cousin was living with us.  We've come a long way since then!
2. What 5 things are on your to-do list?
• Write
• Drink Coffee
• Nip my PITA and skin issues in the bud with the quickness
• Flood my blogging dry spell
• Get some sun
3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
I'm not really much of a snacker, not that you could tell by my waistline...
• Coffee (it's a snack, right?)
• Cheese and crackers
• Bacon
• Anything cheesy
• Avocado
4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire:
First pay off the house and make my bathroom bigger. Open my own coffee house where if you're a regular, you bring your own mug and take a different one home each time, take a barge cruise in France, show my daughter Paris, go back to Ireland, take my parents to pay them back for all the crap I did when I still lived with them in high school and my early 20s.
5. Name some places you have lived:
• Dolton/South Holland, IL
• Mason City, IA
• Lansing, IL
• Lowell, IN
6. Name some bad habits you have:
• Procrastinating
• Over-thinking things
• Getting sucked into the internets
• Picking my nose (just seeing if you were paying attention)
7. Name some jobs you have had:
Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, Pharmacy technician, Coffee Beanery Barista/Supervisor, Preschool teacher, Counselor/Supervisor at an In-Home facility for abused children, Drug Counselor - Intake, Office Supervisor for a European Travel Consultant where I took my trips to France, Germany and Ireland.  Currently working Retail Services for impulse items in grocery stores, Girl Scout Co-Leader and blogger part time, taxi driver, referee, alarm clock, multi-tasker, accountant, chef of the future, maid of the minions, laundry queen extraordinaire, household CEO and coffee drinker the rest of the time.  I would like to go pro on the last one!
8. Name those you are tagging for #OSBlog:
All three of whom hold me accountable, support me no matter what and try to light a fire under my ass from time to time. I thank each of you for being great friends! Thanks also to TRM for getting this rusty ball rolling again!

So tell me, what (if anything) do we share in common?