Wisdom from Dr. Seuss

I think that we all have memories of being bullied, that we would like to forget.

I distinctly remember a good friend in elementary school refusing to walk home with me in junior high, scared that if she did walk with me that she too would be severely bullied and harassed, just by associating with me.  That probably hurt me the most.  It wasn’t what a few bullies did, it was that my own friend did to protect herself.  I didn’t blame her, I understood but I wasn’t sure if I would do the same.

I seemed to have a lot of understanding of why bullies picked on me.

Glasses.  Glasses that looked like coke bottles with frames bigger than my face.  The style reminiscent of a grandmother and not that of a teenager or the style icon I wanted to be.  They didn’t have the lightweight lenses available like they do today. You can understand why I was so concerned when Jackson needed them.

Skinny & carpenters dream under-developed.   I was so skinny and stick-like that my Gr.8 Phys. Ed. teacher nicknamed me Olive Oyl.  The name still comes up every so often.  Thanks Ms. Ferguson.

Mod. Punk. ICE mist obsessed afficianado.   I liked to wear black and listened to Depeche Mode, Stephen “Tintin” Duffy, Tones on Tails, New Order, Morrisey, Ministry, etc.  I watched John Hughes movies with avengence and related to every awkward character.  I spiked & krimped my bangs straight up, to the point where one schoolmate called me Chinook cause it looked like I was caught in a strong ‘chinook’ like wind.

Sports.  I was on the first string in basketball and volleyball.  The place were conformity was the key to popularity.  I remember my Gr.9 basketball coach Mr. Babuik remarking about WHY the ball wasn’t passed to the open girl, Naomi, me.  He also remarked that I had one of the best layups, it was ridiculous not to pass it to someone who could score.  No one said a word but we all knew, they didn’t want me to pass to the weird girl or have the different person touch the ball, just in case it was contagious.  I eventually did get passed the basketball, only because of the threat by our coach.  I swear the looks that day were daggers towards me as we ran lines.

Braces.  Headgear.  Metal and crap surrounding your face is just not a good look for anyone.

Laugh.  I had the laugh.  Few schoolmates remember it because I didn’t have the opportunity to use it.  With all of the above, there was not too much laughter going on.  Why give bullies any more fodder to use against me?  I do remember my friend Jans making me laugh in my Algebra 11 class, too much that I had to take the class over again.

I realize why I was not popular and why I had difficulty playing the popular game.  I was on the outskirts, I was always just a bystander instead of a player in the game of popularity.

So you can understand the sinking feeling I felt when I was received an urgent call from Jackson’s before and afterschool care.  Finding out that Jackson was punched in his ‘funky monkey’ ear because it looked ‘stupid’ to another kid, made me cringe, grade one bullying already?  The fact that it was an older boy that may or may not have issues with understanding social cues didn’t help, because I then realized that the reason Jacksy was having meltdowns about The Man or myself picking him up or taking him to school, was really because he was scared of this boy.

Jackson is like a clam. You won’t catch him talking, let alone talking badly about another child, unless it’s his sister.  Jackson wants to be friends with everyone.  Even when a boy hurt his feelings on the playground one day and he decided not to play with him, he still gave that same boy a chance when he saw him at hockey camp.  He told me that boy was a mean boy before but is a good guy now.  Jackson told me he must have ‘grown up’ and noted that he seemed taller in height.

Luckily, the daycare bent over backwards to make Jackson feel comfortable and even met with us after hours, supplying dinner for all of us.  We brainstormed over pizza, simple strategies to make sure that Jackson felt safe and secure and that he enjoyed himself at daycare.  The communication was astounding and we got Jackson to open up and agree to talk about it.  Jackson also contributed to the conversation and agreed to the strategies that he felt comfortable with.

Jackson has been happy ever since.   Luckily, this was an outcome that was favourable for everyone.  The other boy in question also learned that some things he may say or actions he may do, can offend or hurt other kids feelings, even if he really did not mean it in that way.

Jackson learned that what other kids say about him is just their opinion, not the truth.

This reminds me of a great quote from Dr. Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”~Dr. Seuss

Have you had to deal with bullying?  How did you deal?  What lessons have you learned by being bullied or bullying someone?  How do you deal with bullying in your family?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. We have had some challenges with a particular boy this year, too. His teacher has specifically told me “it’s not a bullying situation” but DS’s feelings about the boys behaviour are in the same ballpark. He takes this kid’s behaviour problems and name calling personally. I’d love to hear some of the strategies your DCP suggested. DS’s teachers haven’t been a lot of help, and as much as I try to tell him that this boy doesn’t know how to treat friends (he literally doesn’t have any, and C knows this, and I think this kid even wants to be C’s friend and asked once if they could have a playdate) and to try not to let it bother him, it still makes him not want to go to school. I suggested retorts like “Whatever” and even “I know you are but what am I?” Stil an issue….

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      First, it is a bullying situation if your child feels threatened enough not to want to go to school. I would personally go to the Principal & V.Principal and talk to them, as I would not be happy with that teacher’s response.

      Our DCP had Jackson be their ‘special buddy’. He would sit behind the school bus driver and he had a special action figure to play with. The verbal bullying would happen mostly on the bus, when it was loud and the boy was out of earshot from staff. They also had Jackson help out with projects and then they made sure that a staff member was within earshot when he was playing with the child in question, so they could correct the child’s behaviour. Luckily, the parents of the other child were aware of their son’s lack of sensitivity, it would be different if they were not aware of it or refused to recognize it. Although, the DCP said that if the parents were not willing to cooperate, then they would most likely not be able to have that child in care anymore.

      Good luck Nancy. It’s just so frustrating when things are happening in environments that you have no access to. Keep me posted as to what transpires 🙂 Take care.

  2. Naomi
    I recall, in elementary school, being quite envious of your bedroom, and the fact you WERE tall and slim.

    I too had the braces/appliances and added to that was bad hair and horrible acne mixed together with a horrible fashion sense (no, I didn’t get to pickout my own clothes until I could pay for them myself!) I will never forget Mr. Vaandeen telling the entire class that I ruined the class picture, as he handed them out to everyone to bring home. That one statement carried with me all the way through to my late 20s I swear. I was never comfortable with myself and doubted myself to the extreme after hearing that. Thanks alot.

    I have many more examples, but I just actually wanted to let you know that I think Jackson has such a wonderful family and he has the support behind him that he will be able to overcome anything. He sounds like a caring boy who obviously has received the right tools at home to be able to deal with other children whom haven’t had the same open communication at home.

    I remember growing up being able to tell my Mom anything (and I mean ANY thing) and I’m trying to ensure my children know they too can come to me with any type of question, problem etc. I hope if/when bullying comes up in our household that we can sit and discuss it and follow through with a course of action that will empower them into believing that they are perfect. just. the. way. they. are.

    xoxo

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      Thanks Denise. I think that you are also a very supportive parent and I think that your Mom set such a good example. All of us kids felt welcome with Mrs.S, I am sure that you will be a great sounding board for you kids, you had a good example.

      Well it was my mom’s dream bedroom! Heh. Elementary was a breeze comparative to junior high and high school. Yes I was tall and yes I was slim but to the point it was a detriment. Anything that doesn’t conform to a standard ‘norm’ established at the school, was picked on. I remember you being my comrade in braces, I think we even had the same orthodontist, Dr. Yip.GAH! Horrible orthodontist, my teeth still are not straight and I wore the bloody geeky headgear.

      I think Mr. Vaandeen was a complete ass for saying that. I knew I didn’t like him for a reason. These days he wouldn’t get away with saying that.

      One of the lessons I have learned about being a parent is that you have to be their number one advocate. I think I will be getting lots of practice 🙂

  3. Reminds me of another great quote “What people think of you is none of your business” ~Deepak Chopra

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