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Bullying & Beyond… 18.Sauce, Diamond, Lynx.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

My writing has brought me through the best of times and the worst of times to a Spring of hope from a Winter of despair to paraphrase Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of two Cities.”

I’m breaking with my usual routine of sharing at the end of the week because, lets call a spade a spade, I have been let go again, unpaid, like every year, for 11 years now, for every holiday, from my teaching post until after the Easter holidays and so I get to spend time with my much loved and enjoyed family and writing instead of being with my much loved and enjoyed students, whose willingness to share their true selves with me… has brought me through the best of times and the worst of times to a Spring of hope from a Winter of despair!

And thanks to Paulas Light and her 3TC prompts for helping me to voice this…

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951/posts/2244712447

NAMELESS…

She might have thought
She got the sauce
When she retired
To a lush and early pension pot,

That Principal
With no principles or thought for
The children in her care,

Those innocent children, each a
Diamond, she was entrusted to polish
To bring them from the rough
To their most lustrous, luminous shine
She denied,

And so she left him,
unaided,
when he bravely told her
He was being bullied
Him, she left in no doubt,
That he was nothing;
NOTHING in her eyes
Far from a diamond,
Thanks to her cowardice…

“Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself”
As she said
Her damage, that depleated
The diamond of his right
To glow and shine,

Or brought his sister to the front of class

And belittled her grasp of maths

Until her peers laughed

Because of what as a

Principal and Teacher she had lost or

Worse still maybe never had..

But fear not
All is not lost,
Those diamonds
Once voiceless and violated
Have, thanks to the power of

LOVE

AND

LIGHT,

Found their inner sight and

Right to luminosity!

And fear not Mrs Principal
with no principles
Or thought for the children entrusted and dependant on your care,
For Face you will, the

Lynx that latently lies,
Lurking
Within
And your
Lush pension pot and early retirement
Will like the diamonds you failed to polish,
Quickly lose their shine and
Your demise will be one of unrelenting

SHAME…

You took our childrens childhood happiness by trampling on their cries for help,
whether it was the bullying you ignored or the bullying you perpetrated yourself
or the mental health implications,

You were implicit in creating or ignoring,

You crept inside our home
And you depleted
Our childrens childhood happiness
And bullied us, we now know, through their distress and left us unrequited…

But one day I know you’ll read this and you’ll realise, without a doubt, exactly who

You are

and what you’re made of,

And you’ll answer for it…

Have you been failed by the education system? Have you been bullied?  Just know that I have your corner, I hear you and you are a true and beautiful Diamond and you are not alone!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…17. Stand up, speak up!

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

 

Your child is or has been bullied at school and you have found an opportunity to talk to them, making a written record of events as you discuss them, without being caught up in frustrating and emotionally upsetting arguments. Now pause to acknowledge the progress you have made, you’ve managed to… 6.Avoid the hook!

You’re now aware and can understand that the changes in behaviour you’ve seen are signs of bullying. Those signs probably included your child;

avoiding situations,
reducing their academic performance,
refusing to go to school,
lacking motivation, wanting to achieve goals but showing perfectionist traits, then appearing paralysed,
disappointed by not living up to the high standards they set themselves,
withdrawing into themselves,
being stressed, having emotional outbursts,
showing signs of anxiety, depression, OCD or specific phobias,
consuming excess alcohol, or maybe using drugs,
getting into trouble in school,
being charged with social disorder,
or engaging in self-harm
then…

If you are like me,
you probably struggle to know what to do.

You are unsure of where to turn next.

You are probably paralysed like we were.

You probably struggled to even accept the situation.

You wanted to wave a magic wand and fix everything…

If any of the above resonates with you, it is very important that you are pro-active. Do not allow bullying to render you paralysed. Your child might not want you to speak up for fear of making the situation worse or been seen as ‘a grass’ or a ‘cry-baby’. You must be very discreet but you must seek out support to help you stand up and speak up to bullying!

In my next post I will help you list what you can do.

Have you noticed your child’s behaviour changing? Have you struggled to understand the changes you’ve noticed.  Can you see it from a different perspective now?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… 16. Social Media, a Silent killer!…

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

I’m always grateful when readers share their experiences with me, it starts a conversation on bullying and prompts further reflection.

I’d like to share two such responses to my post, Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the pain, part three.

Paula at Paula Light https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951

bravely said “I was bullied for being fat and nerdy and bad at sports. Thank God I could get away from the kids outside of school and escape into books and tv shows. I also found my own hobbies, such as needlepoint. But today, with social media, there’s no escape. That’s the worst ~ I can’t imagine the horror of never escaping the peer group.

Parikhit Dutta at Weeping Pines https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56154764

responded with empathy saying…
“I’m so glad for you Paula. It can be so frustrating to live the pains of bullying always, never being able to escape. And isn’t it a silent killer”.

My thanks to both Paula and Parikhit for prompting this post.

I can, from experience, confirm that bullying via social media is as noxious as poison gas, it is a silent killer!  

One Christmas while we were enjoying a family gathering our daughter was suffering in silence in the midst of us, as bullies targeted her with vile and upsetting messages on social media.   We were oblivious to this happening until our daughter could no longer contain her distress and broke down telling us.  Even after the girls in question were reprimanded and made close their social media accounts, the bullying continued because they were able to create new accounts using fake identification.

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.

Social media enables bullies to infiltrate the victim’s home; often the only safe space victims have. Online bullying is omnipresent, affecting children, adults and even Politicians, as we’ve seen during the United Kingdom’s Brexit attempts.

When bullying is frequent and continues over a protracted period it can cripple the victim leaving them distressed and confused. The implications can be life long, leaving them with low confidence and self-esteem, and can cause them intense dislike of themselves for being too fat, too thin, nerdy, shy or a miriad of other perfectly normal human characteristics just because a bully decided these traits were “unacceptable”.

Other sign of distress can include mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, eating disorders, OCD, and finally but not exhaustively, self-harm until another innocent, tormented life could be lost to bullying.

Having witnessed the effect of online bullying I’d like to highlight to parents the distress children feel at, the horror of never escaping from this silent killer.”  I’d also like to stress the lasting impact of bullying and encourage parents, adults & society to be vigilant.

Have you or your children been bullied? Did you/they experience “the horror of never escaping the peer group” because of the pervasiveness of social media? Did you watch this silent killer in action?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… 15. Sympathy?

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

When dealing with bullying, empathy is key as shared in Bullying & Beyond… 11. Resilience.

Another hurdle we faced when trying to search out help for our son was the problem of sympathy.  We were told by a responsible adult, that our son would be dealt with in a more “sympathetic” way.

Children, just like our son, who are being bullied, need to know that others care about them and are sorry about what they are going through.

Some children, particularly boys and teenagers might be embarrassed by being in the spot-light receiving sympathy.  They may not want others feeling sorry for them.

Sympathy while supportive can reinforce a child’s belief that there is something wrong with them and can make a child worry that they are at fault.  It may take the locus of blame off the bully, where it rightly lies. Too much sympathy can compound feeling of helplessness and of being powerless.

I believe that every child, be they a bully or bullied… need sympathy backed up by action.

My trust and respect was weakened when I asked one adult in a position of responsibility, if they had ever seen a case like our son’s, as he had been struggling with school not just in the short term but over the majority of his time in secondary school and I was amazed to receive a resounding “No.” This answer exemplified the fractured and broken school system that enabled bullying to flourish.

I believe the solution lies in education for all involved, including regular professional development opportunities to raise awareness of the short and long-term effects of bullying.

Did you or your child receive sympathy, how did it make you feel? Were you able to access competent, professional support when needed?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond… 14. “Acceptance”, Love & Time.

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Emma and Andy, besotted and at peace.

 

I wrote this post one morning as I really struggled to cope, to accept, to hope…ACCEPTANCE!

When I think back I can still recall how visceral my emotion was that morning.

We had struggled under the weight of both our children being victims of bullying and its short and long term consequences.  We watched both our children suffer and we searched for answers to many questions…

With no avenues left to follow, sadly one day we were forced to accept that the situation was outside of our control.  I recall the pain of frustration and of what felt like failure.

We offered it up to God, to the Universe, to the silent expanse of the countryside… We were exhausted, depleated and we knew we had to sit back and develop patience.

We tried to listen with love, we spoke with love and we encouraged with love. We learned to trust, to hope and to let go control.  We let go our need to fix, our need for things to be as we thought they should be.

As I look back now, it’s amazing how acceptance, love and time changes things!

Hardly two years on, time has intervened…

With time, he re-tuned his body clock.  He began to re-engage with life.  His motivation to study slowly improved.  He spoke of sitting his exams. We quietly encouraged him to do what he thought was best for him… And it worked!

He took back power over his own life.  He regained his voice; the damage from bullying being slowly put behind him.  He decided how he wanted his future to look…

Now reaching towards the end of his second term of college we see… that acceptance, love and time... was the key.

For our daughter, who continues to struggle with her mental health, a mischievous puppy named Andy may well be… the key!

If you’d like to follow their journey as Andy works to become the first Psychiatric Service Dog in Ireland and Emma resorts to training him herself, while continuing to lobby politicians; although losing hope that her months of requesting them to help her make this service available, will come to any fruition… then you can find them on Instagram @reallyhandyandy or on Facebook at Emma and Andy.

Has bullying impacted your life? What was the key to overcoming your challenge?

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

Uranium, moss & dancer

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There is strength in holding on but also strength in letting go. Marie Clancy.

 

Your true dancer emerges… Only when you realise your softness is as strong as uranium and your strength is as soft and beautiful as the moss beneath your bare feet.

Le grà,

Marie xx

Paula’s 3TC

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951/posts/2194818805

 

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the pain, part three.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t paint the pain of bullying experienced by our son because the canvas is blank and will remain blank as our son, kept almost all of the painful details to himself.

What I can paint is what we as parents noticed at home, which included, his frustration shown through nasty comments and angry outbursts. His loss of interest in his hobbies. His withdrawal into himself. His sleep pattern changed dramatically, unable to get to sleep resulting in him sleeping longer into the morning and soon he developed insomnia.   He was awake at night and asleep during the day.   We slowly noticed a real change in his pleasant and warm personality.    All these changes led to self-isolation and school refusal.

We stood by helplessly, watching our warm, outgoing, resilient child slowly disengage from all aspects of his normal functioning life.

This did not happen over-night. Being bullied was something that chipped away at his resilience and eventually over years, wore him down.

Every child, no matter their age, sex, nationality, colour or faith is entitled to attend school, to feel happy and included. They deserve to achieve, to the best of their ability, without the fear of bullying and its devastating effects.

The pain of his upset is still visceral as I recall and share these memories.  It hurts because I realise, yet again, that the sheer frustration and powerlessness we felt came from feeling unheard in a broken system.  This feeling of isolation compounded the impact bullying was having on our family.

Thankfully we have, as a family and individually, empowered ourselves to move forward whilst not diminishing the pain of the past. But instead wanting to put our learning to the service of others.  You might like to read our son’s attitude, Bullying…”I am grateful for it all”…

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  Did it wear down your child’s resilience? Did it render you silent and make you feel powerless?

I would love to hear your experience so that together we can let other families know that they are not alone.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Learning… to sing

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Don’t let the sun set…don’t leave your song unsung! Marie Clancy.

I love learning and the focus of my blog is “creating, living, learning.”

I especially love when learning comes about because you’ve seen something from a different perspective… like today when I learned something pretty important…

thanks to Donna @ A Year of Living Kindly and her excellent post and the quotes listed below

The Writer as Wounded Healer

I realised the reason why I have to follow my heart and try to begin a conversation about bullying.  I realised the reason I can’t stand back is because…

“The song I came to sing is left unsung. I spent my life stringing and unstringing my instrument.” Rabindranath Tagore.

And today I also found myself learning that I can’t let embarrassment of my wounds hold me back because…

“Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?’ When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.” Professor and theologian Henri Nouwen.

Are you holding back from you song? Will you trust enough to sing your song?  Will you hide your wounds or use them in the service of others?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Dee’s word of the Day…learning https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/80183056/posts/2192220572)

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part two.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

It has been just two weeks since I shared my last post in this Bullying & Beyond series.  It is not an easy read and comes with a trigger warning.  You might like to access it, to give you some background to today’s post… you will find it here… Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.

Those past two weeks have been very challenging for our daughter as she tries to cope with her anxiety but she refuses to give in and her resilience is remarkable.  She has been pressing political representatives and support organisations for many months to try and access the support of a Psychiatric Service Dog. Sadly in Ireland this support is unheard of.  While there are guide dogs for the blind and companion dogs for autism, access to Psychiatric Support Dogs does not exist.  To understand the whole area of Psychiatric Support Dogs, Emma has been busy educating and informing herself via books, online sites and Youtube and has decided to go it solo for the moment.

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This is Andy…who knows what the future holds for him and Emma as they follow their dream to see Andy become the first Psychiatric Service Dog in Ireland. #breaking down stigmas one paw at a time.

 

She hopes that in time and with the correct training Andy will be able to pre-empt the onset of panic attacks which are having a life limiting effect on her.

She has just started an Instagram account and she would love you to visit her and Andy @reallyhandyandy where she will document and share their journey towards improved mental health and where she hopes to fulfill her dream and goal of paving the way towards the availability of Psychiatric Service Dogs in Ireland.

Do you struggle with mental health issues?  Do you have panic attacks?  What do you know about Psychiatric Service Dogs?  Do you know anybody who would benefit from reading this post, if so, please feel free to share.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

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