Archive | March 2017

Are Schools Really Concerned About Bullying?

Just the other day, I talked with a friend of mine, Bud Collier about bullying and the attitude of schools toward the problem. We all would like to think that schools are there for the children, that they always want to help when a child or teen is relentlessly bullied, that their main interests are in the welfare of children. However, as much as I hate to tell you, this is not reality.

Schools are an empire just like huge corporations and the majority of them are only concerned with the almighty dollar. Therefore, if there is a problem with bullying, the school will more than likely only sweep it under the rug instead of addressing the problem properly.

Sure. School officials and staff would like for the public to think that they are investigating incidences of bullying and may even tell parents of the victim that there is an investigation underway. But the reality is that they only say this to pacify parents and make them go away. And if the parent is relentless in protecting their child and keeps coming back, schools will often label this parent as “the crazy mom/dad” just to avoid looking like crap themselves.

The cold, hard truth is that most schools simply do not do investigations into bullying because an investigation would take extra work on their part and the last thing they want is extra work. I say this because I saw it firsthand when I was in school and I still hear about the same today from frustrated parents and anti-bullying groups.

The majority of educational institutions simply do not want to admit that they have an issue of bullying on their campuses. Their reasons for this are that they are afraid that the reputations of their beloved school would be tarnished and may affect eligibility for government grant money.

Most schools prefer to take the easy way out by either doing nothing at all, or worse, blame the target. They will even retaliate against the target for reporting the abuse to parents or writing about it. Make no mistake. If your child is a victim of bullying, chances are that the school will only cop out by making your child look like the bully and labeling him/her as the cause of the problem.

Understand that I am not labeling ALL schools. There are some truly awesome schools that do confront bullying head-on. However, these schools are sadly, in the minority.

Continue to address the school if your child is a victim, but don’t expect anything to be done and don’t take whatever they feed you as gospel. Quietly do your own investigation because schools will lie to cover their own backsides.

It’s going to take more than reports of bullying and parent/teacher/principal meetings to address the problem. Laws against bullying do exist. However, these laws are weak and will have to be revamped.

It’s going to take not only knowledge of the signs of bullying in the target, but also knowledge of how bullies operate and the tactics they use. More importantly, it’s going to take bully-proofing our children by teaching them confidence and building their self-esteems if we ever expect the suicide rate among these kids to decrease.

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The Olden Days of Glory

I think of dirt or bumpy roads not yet paved, and vast countrysides not yet subdivised. I think of drive-in movies instead of walk-ins. I think of little country stores instead of huge shopping centers. I think of tire swings. I think of swimming in creeks and lakes. I think of running around outside bare footed and riding around in the backs of pickup trucks. I think of drinking from water hoses. I think of acid/hair bands instead of emo bands…Kansas, Journey, Boston, Van Halen, Whitesnake and Mötley Crue. I think of real tv shows like Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, BJ and the Bear and Rockford Files instead of reality shows. I think of eating at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV or computer. I think of big old Victorian houses with huge wrap-around porches. I think of wood stoves and homemade ice cream. I think of fist fights instead of gun fights. I think of The Lord’s Prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every school day. I think of long summer days spent climbing trees, running, skating, bike riding and playing Hide-and-seek instead of sitting in the house playing video games and texting and I think of being in the house when the street lights came on in the evening. I think of big family Thanksgivings and Christmases. Most of all, I think of living in an America that treated its servicemen and women with honor…an America where political correctness wasn’t overblown…an America which was moral, God-fearing, and free of the fear of terrorism within its borders.

“From Victim to Victor” is Finally Available!

Greetings, everyone! I am very excited to announce that “From Victim to Victor” is now available at lulu.com. It is my hope that this book will help millions of bullied young people everywhere and open the eyes of those who believe bullying doesn’t exist in “their schools”.

I would like to thank everyone (you know who you are) who supported me and lulu.com, who made this novel a reality! I am truly humbled and cannot thank you enough.

“From Victim to Victor” can be viewed at the following link:

http://lulu.com/spotlight/Cherie72

This entry was posted on March 20, 2017. 2 Comments

Battling Another Bully…CANCER

Millions of people and their families are affected by this insidious disease every year! My family is no exception. With me, it runs on both sides- maternal and paternal, which leads me to believe that if I live long enough, I too have a strong chance of facing cancer at some point in my life.

I was very fortunate to be in my mid-thirties when it struck in my immediate family for the first time. In early August of 2004, it was a gorgeous day and my eldest son (not quite 14 at the time)and I made a day of it with swimming, then later, we went shopping for his school clothes, had a good dinner at a Mexican restaurant, then completed the night with a good movie…”Catwoman”.

Upon returning home just after midnight that night, we both noticed the number 12 flashing red on the answering machine. Immediately, my heckles went up and I knew that something was terribly wrong! I had never received so many messages in one day! After instructing my teenage son to go to his room, I listened to the messages and sure enough, it was either my aunt or my grandmother urging me to call them as soon as possible. The tone in their voices was only another sign which told me that something terrible had happened.

When I returned the calls, my aunt and grandmother were still awake and they told me that they needed to see me as soon as possible. It was after midnight so by this time, I knew. Something terrible was amiss, but what it was, I didn’t know. Immediately, I told my son to grab his pjs and we headed out into the night for my grandmother’s house.

As I drove, being sure to have my flashers on, thoughts and images raced through my head…a car accident? A drowning? A murder? Did someone fall several stories? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I had to get to Grandma’s as soon as humanly possible! My son just sat in the passenger seat, looking at me questioningly and with fear in his eyes.

As it turned out, there had been no car accident, no fall, no drowning or murder. But it was terrible nonetheless! My father had been rushed to a hospital in Memphis after nearly passing out at work. He was diagnosed with Acute Mylogenous Leukemia…a cancer of the blood, and it was aggressive! The shock of it sent me into a feeling of numbness! How? Why? My father had been a powerhouse his entire life! He had been a very strong, hardworking man, who often worked overtime in excess of 90-100 hours a week as an electrician and maintenance guy. He had served this great nation with pride. He had quit drinking and become the rock of the family! He was only 52 years old! Why? How?

Then, only five months later in January of 2005, while Dad was still battling Leukemia, cancer struck the family again when my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer! And although she was 73 years old at the time and had lived a full life, we still could not help but wonder. Why? How?

“Uma” had also been very strong and healthy. She had worked hard all of her life, having worked from the time she was four years old on the family farm picking cotton, milking cows, slopping hogs and helping with the harvest every fall. During young adulthood, she had worked hard to create a good home for husband and children and later worked her fingers to the bone in a factory before retiring early at 59 years old due to carpal tunnel syndrome. She was the rock and matriarch of my mother’s side of the family! And with family rocks, we tend to take for granted that they will always be here.

I felt as if the heat had been turned up a hundred fold! Now we had two loved ones suffering from cancer…at the same time! As a family, we all became a team, doing everything we could to stand together and be there for our sick loved ones, trying to make them as comfortable as possible and being sure to emit as much positivity as we could while we were in their presence. We also became much stronger in our faith!

Sadly, only eight weeks after her diagnosis, my maternal grandmother received her wings on Good Friday in March of 2005. I remember the call very well. We had known that this was coming and had tried to prepare for it, only to be brought to the realization that death of a loved one is something that no one can ever prepare themselves for.

When I arrived at my mother’s house that night, I walked into my grandmother’s room and there she lay, her frail little body finally free from the suffering she had endured. Her eyes closed, hands at her side, she looked as if she were only asleep. I sobbed as I rained kisses all over her face, knowing that I would never again see her in this lifetime.

Then again, only ten weeks after the death of my grandmother, my father, having fought with everything he had in him and tried so many treatments, lost his battle with Leukemia. I cannot help but think back to the last time Daddy smiled at me. On the evening before his death, knowing that he only had just a few hours left, I went into Dad’s room. Feeling the tears well up, I stood watching him sleep. In only ten short months, Daddy had gone from being a strong, healthy, hard-working man, who seemed to have everything under control, to being so pitifully weak that he was bedridden and could not even use the bathroom on his own. Even facial expressions took every ounce of strength he could muster.

When Daddy opened his eyes and looked at me, I stood there crying and blew him a kiss before mouthing, “I love you”. Having lost his powers of speech, Daddy could only let out a soft sigh. He did not take his eyes off me. His moist eyes softened and he made a tremendous effort to smile back at me. He passed away at 1:43 am on June 3, 2005.

Today, not quite 12 years later, my uncle, the younger brother of my father is now battling terminal cancer and according to the doctors, only has a few days left at best. Throughout the years, I have watch this bully…this unwelcome visitor called CANCER invade the lives of so many loved ones- family and close friends. And it is only through faith that we have managed to pick up the pieces and move on. Nothing is worse than seeing someone you love suffer and lose control of their facilities and knowing there’s nothing you can possibly do to help them! You want so badly to do something…SOMETHING that will take their pain away…to take the CANCER away! But you are powerless! You find yourself pleading with God to take their place if it means that they get to be healthy again and stay with you. It is a feeling of having both hands tied behind your back!

With a bully like cancer, only your faith can fight it. Only a strong faith can give you assurance that although your loved one won’t be here much longer, they will never again know pain nor suffering. And although I’m going to miss my uncle just as I do my Dad and others who have gone before me, I take comfort in knowing just that…that they will never again suffer.

What’s a Bully to Do Without a Victim?

Every day, millions of young people suffer in silence after having long had their voices and person-hoods stolen by vicious and relentless bullies. But what if I told you that bullying doesn’t exist unless there is a victim? What if I told you that if we could shrink the pool of victims, the number of bullies might also decrease?

It’s not only about holding bullies accountable, it’s also about teaching victims the confidence needed to effectively assert themselves. This is not to say that bullies do not need to be held accountable for their evil actions because they do. However, we should focus more on how to reach victims, help them find time and space away from their tormentors to heal, then teach them ways to protect themselves against future attacks. When the victim is taken out of the equation, the bully instantly loses power.

Without realizing it, victims unwittingly give power to the bullies by the way they respond to attacks and more so, the body language they use (putting the head down, slouching, avoiding eye contact, etc.). Often, this conveys to bullies that they have low self-esteem, leaving them wide open to receive more and worse attacks in the future.

So how do we teach victims confidence and the proper body language to ward off future incidences of bullying?

By using positive re-enforcement- praising them for each good deed performed, showing love and affection, and never hesitating to let them know how awesome they are and how much they are loved.

The longer we give these victims positive re-enforcement, the better they will feel about themselves, the higher chances are that they will eventually see their own value and the better they will be able to counter any future attacks and bullying.

Think of it as putting money into a bank account. The more money you deposit, the bigger your account grows and the wealthier you are. It is the same with bully victims and positive re-enforcement. The self-esteem is like this bank account, the more love, care and positive praise you give a victim of bullying, the bigger and better you will build their self-esteems and the healthier he/she will be. They now know their own worth and can better counter the incendiary attacks of bullies! Positive words and actions toward the bullied person by family members, teachers, pastors, rabbis, etc. must outweigh and outnumber the negative attacks and assaults of their bullies.

If someone you love is being bullied, it is imperative that you deposit money (positive re-enforcement) into their dwindling self-esteem accounts and do it every day, as much as humanly possible. As mentioned earlier, you must outdo the bullies’ negative messages with your own positive messages toward the victim. Only then will the victim’s self-esteem begin to repair itself, he/she will begin to slowly awaken and open his/her eyes to their own value, and regain their confidence.

Finally, when confidence is fully restored, the victim will reclaim his/her power, be better able to combat bullies and maybe even cease to be a victim!

This entry was posted on March 16, 2017. 2 Comments