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Friday, February 27, 2015

Pink Day

This past week, my kids' school promoted Pink Day, or Anti-Bullying Day, or Pink Shirt Day. Here in Canada, students (or everyone, really) wear a pink shirt (or anything pink) to show their support against bullying. It was begun a few years ago by two Nova Scotian teens who got their student body to all wear pink to rally with a male classmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. It has become a wonderful national symbol.
Now, my kids are very conscious of how they treat others--I've raised them to be so. As someone who was severely bullied, I wanted to make sure they not only treat others with respect, but also have the confidence to stand up against such treatment--to themselves or others.
With regards to my son, I'm not worried...yet. He's full of innocent confidence, and regularly points out to others, even strangers, if he feels someone is being mistreated. He does it so often, that when he was recently thanked for such an act, he couldn't remember the instance! I do feel, however, that such confidence will dissipate with time (and puberty) and it's something I'm going to have to watch for. Among inheriting my eyes, love of books, and outgoing nature, my son also inherited my nasty ability to let people walk all over me.
My daughter is who I'm watching with this right now. She is still so young, and still finding out so much about the nature of people. While she has no problem identifying when someone has been wronged, she has a problem expressing herself to them.
"I was bullied once at afterschool care, Mom," she told me the other day as we were discussing Pink Day.
"Oh, really? What happened?" I asked, (visions of my terror-filled days of being bullied running through my mind)
"I was coloring and a bigger girl came and took my markers."
"What did you say to her?"
"Why not? You just let her take them?"
"Yes," she shrugged.
I'll admit, I was a little relieved. While my sweet little girl is a joy, she can also being a fiery ball of fury. Part of me is waiting for the phone call that someone wronged my girl, and she responded by laying them out. But I need her to know that her words are just as powerful (if not more so) than her fists.
"Maybe next time something like that happens, you should say something to the person," I suggest to her, "tell that person you were using those markers, and that you would be happy to share, but that maybe they should ask before taking something that someone is using." She did her super cute "stare-
up-and-to-the-left" that she does when she is absorbing new info, so I know it stuck.
I grew up with an older brother who had me boxing with him after supper every night, so I certainly knew how to use my fists, but I never became comfortable with using my words as weapons. I wish I had.
So cheers to Pink Day, and here's hoping that every day will become like Pink Day, where bullies are outed regularly, and the world finally understands that bullying--at any age, and with words or weapons--will not, and should not EVER be tolerated<3


Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Sad World

I recently had a melancholy day.
My morning was spent running various errands for various purposes. It seemed that every store and interaction I had involved someone who was ignorant, or self-involved, or just plain rude.

As someone who believes in good manners and positivity, it was disheartening for me. I continue to be flabbergasted by people who choose to live their lives in a way that slowly eats away at them. And I just feel pity for people who are so self-involved that they aren't even aware of their ignorance.

Example: In the line-up at the local Big Bad Grocery Store, the lady in front of me asks the cashier how long she is working today:
Cashier, dead-eyed: "10 hours."
Ingnorant Lady: "What!? That's crazy!"
Cashier shrugs: "Gotta pay the bills."
Ignorant Lady, as she pays with one of her myriad of credit cards from her Coach purse: "Well, that is just stupid. You should just find a better paying job with shorter hours."

I locked eyes with the cashier at this point, and shook my head, eyebrows raised. I mean, where the hell do people like this come from??

At the same store, my shopping cart and I were cornered by receiving boxes and bins, and the fellow unpacking product glanced at me briefly before sighing dramatically and moving his stuff. And we're not talking about a moody kid, either. Buddy was a manager. Middle-aged. After I thanked him as I passed, I received not a peep. He didn't even look at me.

At every other store I visited, the staff just seemed miserable. Is no one doing anything they enjoy anymore? Are we all just slaves to our debt? I just can't live my life like that. I mean, if the majority of our time is spent at our jobs, shouldn't that job give us some joy or sense of accomplishment? I know that it is hard to find joy in some jobs, but finding something, ANYTHING in even the most mundane tasks that can bring you some sense of joy just might save you.

Everyone has a bad day once in a while, but living every other day with purpose and passion should be everyone's goal. I mean, what's the point otherwise?

So I challenge you: live your life purposefully. Live it with passion. Find joy in anything. Hell, find joy in everything! Smile at strangers. Hug your friends more. Share your dreams. Ask about others' dreams. And love freely. Always, love.