Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I bought a new book for school.  Do you know Patricia Polacco's work?  She draws and paints pictures that jump off the page.  Her use of color surprises.  I love her faces. This book is extremely current.  It speaks of Facebook and state testing and meanies.  
Bullies.  Schools are presenting all kinds of programs to combat this age-old problem.
Today my sweet Birdie experienced a bully's jab.  A little girl put her elbow on Birdie's work, intending to ruin it. She made my little lamb cry.  Kindergarten.  Mean hearts already in motion. 
We should NEVER condone meanness, NEVER laugh when a man or woman says a wounding remark.  It's NEVER okay to injure another person with our words.  
Sometimes when a victim of bullying complains to someone they hope can help, that someone says, "Kill them with kindness" or "Just ignore them".  Sometimes that does reduce the instances of cruelty, I guess.  It doesn't take away the hurt, the fear, the sadness.
Were you ever a victim of bullying?
Did you ever witness someone else being bullied?
When I was in the sixth grade (the same age as my students) two boys that I didn't really know very well would somehow find me when my friends were not around and say, "Flat chest! Flat chest!" That part didn't make me feel all that bad.  I wasn't too worried about growing breasts at that particular time, but what I couldn't get my mind around was WHY they were picking on ME.  I still don't know.  They were mean and I guess it felt good to be mean.  They eventually stopped and I never told my friends or my mom.  
I witnessed bullying when I was in elementary school.  One friend of mine suffered in silence, too.  Only recently did she share her experience with me.  I couldn't believe that I hadn't noticed the depth of her pain.  
I now wish I had stood up for more than one of my classmates when they were singled out, made fun of, or isolated.  
What are your thoughts on this subject?


Betty said...

Oh Pom Pom your poor little fairy girl, I do feel sorry that someone spoilt her work. Yes, lots of memories of bullying - as a child my brothers are I were taunted 'gypsy, gypsy' and other children would pretend we smelled and not sit near us. My brother had a lot of fights and the whole school would gather round to enjoy the scene (many of them were defending me!). In the workplace I experienced it many times with people trampling me on their way up! (but they often met me on the way back down!) My oldest boy once experienced it from a dinner lady who took the class for wet play and snatched his painting away at the end, scrumpled it up and threw it in the bin, saying 'you wont want that'. Youngest boy was recently 'attacked' on facebook with a photo of him depicting hitler moustache and racist comments about jews, such nasty, ignorant behaviour but you can get people blocked. Bullies are usually unhappy people themselves and always have a weakspot though. Betty x

Catherine said...

You know Pom, I've never realised before, but I don't recall ever being bullied at school...I guess it's all happened in my adult life. I hate bullying! But when I was about 14 we were getting changed for PE & a big girl we didn't really know started being really mean to my friend Suzanne. I instinctively stood up to her & told her to stop...she punched me...so, I punched her back!! I got in to trouble with the Head Mistress for hitting back & a fat lip for my efforts. (I'm not very good at punching & have never done it again lol) Mean hearts are not nice are they. Love to you & a big hug GK x0x0x0x

Catherine said...

You know Pom, I've never realised before, but I don't recall ever being bullied at school...I guess it's all happened in my adult life. I hate bullying! But when I was about 14 we were getting changed for PE & a big girl we didn't really know started being really mean to my friend Suzanne. I instinctively stood up to her & told her to stop...she punched me...so, I punched her back!! I got in to trouble with the Head Mistress for hitting back & a fat lip for my efforts. (I'm not very good at punching & have never done it again lol) Mean hearts are not nice are they. Love to you & a big hug GK x0x0x0x

A tale from toadstool house said...

Hi Pom Pom,I'm so sad for little birdie,I do hope She will be alright....
I've been bullied by various people during high school and only when I stood up to one particular gang did it stop,it took months to work up to that though. I've also witnessed bullying in the work place,such a horrible thing and I would never put up with it now,Age and life gives you strength I guess?Its horrible looking back, You realise what a miserable time it was...
Love and hugs Lovely,XoXo

Melanie said...

I have worked in schools over the years too and I have seen bullying from the early age of 5. It's incredible how even children so young can manipulate and be bullies. It is a sad but very real part of life. I guess you can look at it that it builds the human spirit but for many it is soul destroying. I was not so much bullied but rather ignored when I was a child. My brother has Downs Syndrome and back in those days children with disablilities were put in hospitals rather than be kept at home. Other children looked at me as if they came near me or my brother then they may catch it too ! Unbelievable but true. x

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

As I was reading the post, I kept remembering both my grandmother's words and my mother's words ... of course they were the same. The words were "consider the source"...it put it all in perspective even at an early age. Then the conversation went something like.." if they have to pick on you, they are only trying to make themselves look better, so poor pitiful THEM!...consider the source that they themselves are inadequate in some way"

I'll never forget that.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

First, I love Patricia Pallaco--she's one of my favorite artists--and I'm eager to get this book. I experienced bullying as a child and am sad to say that I also sided with the mean girls from time to time. I think people are shocked by how early this kind of behavior starts, but I remember it from a very early age.

So sorry for your darling girl!


Farm Girl said...

Oh I am so sorry for your little girl, I would be so upset, poor baby. I think it is a horrible thing in any form, but in children I think it is the worse. My husband was bullied horribly as a child, he was put into a rapid learners program and then bussed to a school far away and on that bus ride he was beat up by older larger kids for 3 years. Can you imagine? His parents thought it would make him tougher.
My own was different as I was so small, but my Grandpa bless his heart, took me aside and taught me how to pick up an equalizer. Once you pick up something say a branch from a tree and begin to hit back they leave pretty quickly. :) Do you see why I chose to home school now? Once they were big enough to handle the meanness on their own it wasn't as bad.
There are still bullies out there they just take different forms.
I can't even begin to tell you the kind of emotion the post brings up.
I hope you are having a good week.
Don't work too hard.

Attic Clutter said...

bullys ugh.. yes the ocean ana Canon beach were so fun glad you get to go too..are you in the NWest??

M.K. said...

Personally, I have seen so much bullying meanness in my own experience, other kids, my own daughters, and students I've taught, that it seems to me that bullying is the norm in every school, every class. I'm sure there are a smattering of exceptions. I'm afraid, very afraid, that the girls who say they had lovely elementary/middle school experiences, with delightful friends and fun, simply were part of the popular crowd and had that defense against the bullying. It's always there against someone, the outcast, the pariah.

I think many homeschoolers consider this as part of the reason to choose homeschooling. As a teacher I had to watch my daughter be rejected, devastated, picked on, ridiculed, by 8th grade girls who I also had to teach and treat equally and fairly as a teacher. It was so hard. They kept their meanness out of my room, but I heard it from her later. Other teachers told her to consider the poor girls who were bullies -- that they came from dysfunctional homes and divorces, etc. They made excuses for the bullies. I deeply regret putting her in that situation. I believe it's taken her until her sophomore year in college to fully recover from those 2 years in middle school.

What can be done? Usually bullying kids come from bullying parents, and we teachers know exactly who they want to victimize, if anyone ever criticizes their darlings. Sorry, Pom. This subject touches such a sore spot in me, from my 7th grade year from hell to my daughter's misery.

ann said...

Oh my, Pom Pom. What a nerve you have touched. My grandson goes to a very small Lutheran school where he is in 4th grade. He loves his school and does quite well, actually he is second in his class. However he has been the target of the same kid for years and this year his mother (who is PTO president) has had it. The school has a new young male principal who seems to be addressing the issue more aggressively, unlike the last principal. Hopefully the mean kid has gotten the message that name calling and elbowing Jacob are not to be tolerated any more. The bullying has been so bad that my daughter is considering moving Jacob to another school. Poor little Birdie. How sad for her to be so badly treated. She probably doesn't really understand why someone would be so mean. We must teach our little ones to be brave, strong, and kind. You little book hopefully will have a lesson for your 6th graders.

Pom Pom said...

Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I feel my blog sisters are so with me. It feels good.

Anonymous said...

Very useful blog. Keep up the good work.

Happy@Home said...

It makes me sad to think of your little birdie being treated that way in kindergarten.
I experienced bullying in every school I attended. I loved school until the bullying began and then it made me feel sick to have to go face that every day. The worst experience was at my 13th birthday party when my supposed best friend bullied all of the other girls into not speaking to me for most of the party. It was a sleepover in my basement and my mom had planned it. I didn't want her to know so I suffered through it. Like you said I never could figure out WHY my friend would do this to me.
Bullying is a terrible thing and even though I went through it, I'm not sure what the best answer is. I think your advice of NEVER condoning meanness is so good. I think now with all of the various forms of social media, it is even easier for the bullies to inflict their wrath.
Great topic today, Pom Pom.

libbyquilter said...

i'm sorry your Birdie was a victim of this behavior. i hope she understands that what happened is not about her and i'm betting that you have helped her through it beautifuly.

i felt "on the outside" most of my elementary years.
when i was in about the fourth grade i noticed a dog every day on my way to school. the dog was tied up and i thought it looked underfed. it always cried when i walked by and so i began to put a few bits of kibble in my pocket to feed to it every morning. one day it was somehow discovered that i had dog food in my pocket and it seemed to ignite a lot of teasing for quite some time.
i didn't stop feeding the dog but i did make sure to empty every last bit of food from my pockets from then on.

as i got older i think i was less sensitive and that certainly made life much easier.

i remember in high school noticing that the cheerleaders were quite mean to everybody including each other which i found somehow comforting. i suppose i felt that if they could even find ways to torment their closest peers then there probably wasn't anything too terribly wrong with me if i happened to be in the line of fire.

when i was working on the playground as an adult bullying was one of those things that i was most on the lookout for. i didn't tolerate it and the kids knew that. i did notice that there were certain teachers who subtly bullied certain kids. i think that was the most surprising thing to see.

thank you for the thoughtful post Pom. it certainly is a sensitive subject for many of us.


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

First she is one of my favorite authors. Two of my kids and I stood in line for four hours to meet her and let her sign our books...she was as real in person as her books. She talked to both of my children...there are only about two of her books I don't care for...too politically correct...the others I am collecting...love her

Bully...well I think to some extent at sometime we are all bullied...I can't think of anyone who doesn't have some story...but I feel it has grown worse. When a child tells me he loves playing football because he can hurt people...which no one would think was being bully,..well it is...then I think the heart of children needs to be addressed.

Great post

Attic Clutter said...

So good to address Bullying..such a sad thing.. we hear of it in our town too and there have been some ''young suicides'' so sad .. it must be stopped ~!!
For SURE..!!
yes the Oregon Coast is wonderful POM did you live on the westside of the state or the east--I am central WA.

Lisa Richards said...

It's especially painful when they hurt our own innocent little babes, isn't it? I don't ever remember being bullied myself, but I know other kids were. Too bad we ourselves are usually too young and self-centered to go to the aid of other youngsters when this happens. Our hindsight is much better! :)
I guess homeschooling was my solution. I didn't want my kids being treated insensitively while they were still tender. I hope it did some good, but I know it's not always possible to keep them protected. Lots of prayer and loving them when they're home is our part as moms.
I LOVE Patricia Polacco's books! We read every one we could get our hands on when the kids were little. I'll be revisiting them soon for Audrey! My favorite is Thunder Cake! :D

Gumbo Lily said...

I remember getting the "flat chest" comment when I was in grade school too. It didn't bother me a bit because I wasn't thinking about that either.

I used to tell me kids, "Walk away from trouble." Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't.

Poor lil Birdie.

Bonnie said...

Words hurt worse than fists. And unkind words aimed at a loved one hurt even more.
I hate bullys...old and young..well I don't really hate THEM, but I hate bullying. There must be a reason one feels the need to put another person down.

Fat Dormouse said...

I don't really remember being bullied when I was younger...and while I wasn't a bully (I don't think!) I fear I was very unpleasant to some children. Perhaps that makes me a bully? But my home life was happy and I was too..

When I was a teacher, I hated children telling me they were being bullied because I felt so helpless! It is difficult to know what to do - our school had a "no blame" policy, talking about why the bully did what they did...Frankly, I don't think it did much good at all. Of course, I would always try to help, but often I don't think I was much use at all.

You have certainly touched on a subject close to people's hearts. I really hope that your young Birdie can find a way through this - it certainly shouldn't be happening so young, should it?!