Once upon a time, my daughter believed I had eyes on the back of my head. She was so sure I had these amazingly powerful orbs that she’d stand behind me and hold up fingers or make goofy faces. Somehow I always knew what she was doing. I was either the most convincing liar in the world, or she was the most gullible child alive.
When she finally realized I wasn’t Super Mom, we decided that plain old eyes on the back of your head would be boring. After all, moms and teachers alreadyuse these extra-sensory organs to keep kids in line. We needed something more. Something wild and weird and utterly unbelievable. Our brainstorming gave birth to the short story, “Eyes on the Back of My Head.”
That was five years ago. As my daughter grew up, we grew past things like super-secret eyes, and the short story sat on my computer until I was asked to speak in a fourth grade class. I created an entire presentation around this short story that had absolutely nothing to do with bullying. The following year, another teacher asked me to present it in her classroom. And the year after…
It wasn’t until my daughter was a junior in high school that this fun fantasy became more. About the time she lost her innocence and quit believing in the eyes on the back of my head, she started getting bullied. First it was name calling, then crude texts and shoves in the hallway. Over the years it got really, really bad. So bad my daughter created an anti-bullying program. Out of her pain, she chose to help others Build Relationships Against Violence Everywhere.
That year, she asked me to speak as a guest presenter for her program. She wanted me to read “Eyes on the Back of My Head” for what it said about bullying. My story–virtually unchanged from my first writing to publication in Tales from the Bully Box–had journeyed from sheer fantasy to a teaching tool on interpersonal relationships.
“Wouldn’t it be fun,” she said, “if we had more stories like this to help kids better understand what it means to be BRAVE?”
“Indeed, it would,” I answered. My publisher agreed. So did the authors who submitted their short stories.
We hope you do, too.
Stay tuned for the upcoming release of Tales from the Bully Box.