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Aside

How has bullying changed over the years?


LITB Ep. 3

How do you define “bully”?  There’s no doubt the answer to that question is different now than it would have been 50 years ago.  Don’t you agree?

Fifty years ago kids were expected to get up early, do chores, walk to school, and return home to do more chores.  They packed their lunch and were taught to say “yes sir”, and “no sir”

A “bully” in the 1950’s would have probably been defined as someone who singles out weak classmates and picks on them in a physical way.  Hitting, kicking, punching….that was bullying.  Bullies in the 1950’s stole lunch money and dumped lunch trays. At least that is what has been portrayed on television.

Fast forward to the 80’s – my era.  When I was a freshman in high school I was bullied – at least in my mind it was bullying.  Upper classmen took it as their duty to harass freshman.  It was a right of passage.  All freshman had to endure it at some level…..for me it was little clicks of students making comments and laughing at me as I walked past them.  I don’t even know what they were saying.  Could I have ignored it and pretended it didn’t bother me?  Of course – but I wore my heart on my sleeve; and the stronger my reaction was – the worse the bullying got.  If I could get to my locker and to my first class without being laughed at – it was a good day.  I was bullied – and no one ever touched me.  Sticks and stones…..they break your heart.

Now we have  the internet.  That’s the biggest change.  The internet has given kids an avenue to attack even if they are not tough enough to say what they want to say to the victim’s face.  It can be more harmful because what is posted online can be seen by thousands. That is the obvious harm the internet brings.  Another not as obvious harm is the way the internet has caused kids to be sedentary. Instead of being outside running and playing until dark, they are staring at a computer screen all day.  Not only does this open up opportunities to bully and be bullied, it causes our kids to become weak.

cyber bully 3 final

Wikipedia has a lengthy definition of the word bully.  You can view it here :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying.  It’s more of a thesis than a simple definition.  Is there really a  definition?  Isn’t it relative to the victim’s response?

What are some ways you have seen bullying change over the years?  How do you think it will change as time passes? Will it be the same, better or worse for our grandkids?

I’m not sure I want to think about it.

Aside

Steubenville, Rehtaeh Parsons….could it have been avoided?


As a parent of a teenage girl, I cannot begin to imagine the pain felt by the parents of the Steubenville victims.  Just this afternoon I read a similar story about a 17 year old girl from Ottawa, Canada, named Rehtaeh Parsons.  She, however, was driven to suicide.  Such a pretty young lady and a tragic story.

We try to so hard to teach our kids, guide them, and help them understand right from wrong.  We want them to understand that when we say “choose your friends wisely”, we are not trying to run their lives.  Literally, in this day, we are trying to save their lives.

The people our teens choose to spend time with, and the way they choose to spend their time, is no longer a simple decision to make. The availability of drugs, alcohol, and even entire homes is so much greater than it used to be.  Being a parent these days is more challenging than ever.  It is a scary world to raise kids in. So many of us without even realizing it – are enabling our kids.  We buy them cars, and smartphones.  We give them money instead of making them earn it.  We do what we can to keep them happy, but at what cost?

I am not saying that tragedies such as the steubenville rape case could have been avoided by proper parenting.  This is a terrible tragedy that breaks my heart.  What I am saying though, is as parents, we  have to be so very careful.  I am far from the perfect parent.  My daughter has had her share of trouble including being a victim of sexual assault herself.  Could I have made her stay home that day?  Sure I could have, but I know she would have found a way to get into trouble anyways.  She is strong-willed and probably would have snuck out to get her way.  Letting her go spend time with her friends that summer day was a small step in letting go.  That’s what we have to do as parents.  We let go and hope they make wise choices.  Unfortunately it sometimes doesn’t turn out so great.

Do you ever just wish you could crawl inside their brains and force them to make the right choice?  Choose the right response? What a difference our kids could make if when they are chosen as team captain, they pick the one that is always picked last first?  What an impact that could have!  Why can’t our kids see that?  It would be such a simple thing to do!

Referring back to the young girl from Canada,  I wonder what it would have taken for her to find value in herself?  I wonder if it would have been that hard to do.  A kind word, a smile, an invitation to sit at a lunch table. When you think back on your own middle school and high school years, do you remember a time when someone went out of their way to be nice to you or help you?  If you do, it was probably a simple gesture on their part, but you never forgot it.

If we could just get our kids to grasp that concept.  Sadly , it isn’t possible.  So here we are.  The best we can do is do our best to help them understand how easy it can be to make a difference.  Be it a negative difference, or a positive one, our words and our actions are more powerful than any double edged sword.

What ways have you used to teach your kids the value of simply being nice?  Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

 

 

 

Aside

Because they need Jesus so very badly…..


Because my heart over flows with love and throat closes up, I am calling out.  I am calling out to my Jesus and to all of you.  The words, they just hurt so much. We often take them far too lightly.

If you follow my blog, you have seen this picture of my Ashley….the most precious thing to me. She has had some really low lows in her life.   Most of them typical life lessons, some of them very personal life lessons.  Some of them self-inflicted, some of them not.  Some of them with emotional scars, some of them with physical scars.Just me

When Ashley was born, doctors could not explain how she survived my pregnancy. My placenta was severely malnourished, my umbilical chord was paper thin, and it was wrapped around her neck.  With my very first contraction her heart rate plummeted.  In a matter of literally minutes I was prepped and wheeled into surgery.  When she was delivered,  she was covered in stool.  This was an indication that she was in distress.  That alone could have suffocated her.  She was a healthy 6# 2oz, 21″long baby.  Her only challenge within the first week was jaundice.  I remember hearing the surgeon say “I don’t know how she survived this pregnancy”.  And I remember thinking to myself, I do!  I know why!

Or I should say I know how, the why is in the works.  I can’t wait to see what it is…..just what the Lord has in store for this amazing young lady.

Scripture tells us in Isaiah 54 that “No weapon formed against us shall prosper”.  I am clinging to that promise. Scripture also says that when we pray, He will heal us (see 2 Chronicles 7:14).

I am asking you to pray with me.  Not just for Ashley, but for all the teens that hurt.  For all the teens that think they are alone.  For the ones that feel as if no one understands.  Pray with me

Lord Jesus,

You created us in your image, all of us!  You never intended for any of us to feel alone. 

Father I pray in Jesus name that you would put people in the lives of hurting teens. People that they will listen to, and who will lift them up.  Help this generation of young people to see that they are so very valued.  Whatever it takes Lord, for each individual heart, you know what they need. Lead them into arms that will love them. Most of all Lord, lead them to people that will help them find you. And father because she is my child, and you have allowed me the privilege of raising her to love you and trust you, please Jesus, touch Ashley right where she is.  Give her peace and wisdom.  Help her make you a priority. 

In Jesus precious name, 

Amen