Kindness Wins!

Hello, my name is Precy Larkins. I’m so excited to be part of the Bully Box Brigade!

A little about me: I primarily write Young Adult fiction, though I love all kinds of children’s books, even picture books! I grew up in the Philippines but moved to the US by myself when I was 18.  I was going to college. I guess you could say I was very adventurous. And indeed, it was quite an adventure. I met my husband while at school, and now we lived in Utah with our three lovely children.

My short story that’s included in the Tales from the Bully Box anthology is about two Filipino sisters coming to live in America. This is a piece that’s dear to my heart because I know how hard it is to move to a new place and have to start your life all over again–making new friends, learning a new language, tasting new foods, and living in unfamiliar surroundings. It’s also about family and love and standing up for what’s right. I hope that you’ll enjoy my story when the anthology comes out.

My two older kids are in grade school right now. We’re not new to bullying issues–in fact, my first grader has a kid in his class who is being mean to him. Two weeks ago I was gone on a trip, and when I came home, I gave my son a little gift. It was a Tiki keychain from Hawai’i, the kind of thing my son loves to collect. The next day, the kid in his class picked up the keychain and threw it on the ground. It broke in half. My son told the teacher, and the bully eventually said sorry, but the damage was done. It was unnecessary and a spiteful thing to do, but that’s what bullies do. They don’t care about the other person’s feelings, or they act without thinking that their actions are hurtful to others.

Sometimes, they don’t even really know that they’re being bullies to someone.

photo (9)

We fixed it! Hooray!

 

I offered to talk to this bully to stop him from harassing my son, but my son wanted to handle it on his own. He wanted to be brave, but more importantly, he wanted to be kind and to show this kid that maybe it’s possible for them to be friends. At first, I wasn’t thrilled that my son didn’t want my help, but recently, when he got new glasses to help him see better in class, the bully did not make fun of him. Instead, he said to my son: “Nice glasses!” So maybe it’s working out after all. We’ll see. *crossing fingers*

I always tell my kids to be kind, to be nice, to be strong, to be brave. We’re constantly faced with choices from the moment we wake up to the time we retire for the night. Make those choices count, and make them with kindness in mind. The girl in school who’s not a very good reader? Be kind and don’t make fun of her. The boy who kicked you in the playground during recess? Be kind and don’t kick him back. Instead, find a teacher or an aide who can help you.

If kindness were to rule the world, bullying wouldn’t exist. Alas, we’re not there yet. This kindness thing has to start somewhere. It has to start with you.

Dress for Unity: Wear Orange on Wednesday!

Celebrate Unity Day on Wednesday, October 22.

To support the cause against bullying and encourage acceptance, grab some orange and stand out for what you believe in.

        Take a Stand!

Don’t forget to visit PACER to see what you can do to build a stronger community.

Friends Are Not Foes

Once upon a time, one of my very good friends started picking on me. When other people were around he called me really mean names, wouldn’t let me sit with him at lunch or play on his team. He got the other kids in our grade to tease me too. I hated school and wanted to stay home instead of going every day. I talked to my teachers and to my parents. But no matter what I did, this friend kept picking on me. Finally, I told him to knock it off. I told him he wasn’t very nice. I stopped talking to him and inviting him over. I didn’t answer when he called on the phone. I tried really hard to be nice to everyone else, even though I wasn’t mean to him. I was just serious about telling him to leave me alone. Pretty soon, he started being nice to me again. It took time and we are friends again, but he knows I won’t let him pick on me anymore. Sometimes you just have to stop being friends to people who aren’t nice to you. Because a real friend isn’t mean.  By TJ 12 years old


Dear TJ,

It sounds like you handled the situation very well. Sometimes our friends get carried away and they start treating us poorly. Telling them how their actions and words make you feel can help fix the situation. If it doesn’t, sometimes you have to walk away and make new friends.

The good news is that school is filled with kids who would love more friends. Just remember what it feels like to get picked on and never treat your friends the way you were treated.

Cat~

Greetings!

A warm hello! I’m Steven Carman, a writer from Long Island, New York. I’m proud to have my story “Hailey’s Shooting Star” included in the soon-to-be-published anthology “Tales from the Bully Box.” And I’m proud to be part of the Bully Brigade, a team of authors, parents and professionals who are dedicated to helping bullied kids and teens. I have two young daughters, 4 and 6, who are just starting their journeys in the public school system. It’s likely that they will someday have to deal with bullying.

I know firsthand that bullying can start as early as 3rd grade and peak in middle school and high school. Today, bullying doesn’t just occur during the school day. It can occur 24/7 with social media. So the challenges to combat bullying are that much greater. Bullying isn’t just some people’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.

It’s clear to me that school admins today, at least where I live, are much more proactive in addressing bullying issues than when I went to school. On Open School Night, I was glad to see anti-bullying posters on the walls throughout the school and forms in the lobby that kids could complete and drop into a box to report bullying. They have anti-bullying assembly programs in place. The Superintendent frequently sends out automated calls in which he delivers anti-bullying messages. Kudos to him and the school.

I’m not naïve enough to think that these actions will completely stop bullying. But they’re steps in the right direction. If all the effort results in one bystander finding the strength to intervene, or one bullied kid finding the strength to tell a teacher, or one bully finding the strength to reform and not bully, then it’s all worth it. The same goes for why I wrote the story I did for the anthology: If just one kid reads the story and it helps him or her in his or her own bullying situation, then it’s all worth it.

Dear Bully Box

Dear Bully Box:

How do I deal with a thirteen year old bully?

PS. I am in the fourth grade.

Dear BRAVE One:

Being bullied by a student much older than you is serious. You need to tell an adult right away about the things that are happening to you. Parents, teachers, the school nurse or the principal are all good people to talk to. Even the librarian or bus driver can help you figure out what to do next.

When you talk to an adult, make sure you tell them exactly what is happening, where it happens and who is involved. Tell them everything. Even if you said something you shouldn’t have, they will need to know the whole story.

But the most important thing to do is keep yourself safe. If the bullying is physical, stay away from the bully if at all possible. Make sure you are not alone in a place where you are often bullied.

If the bullying is verbal (name calling, hurtful words, rumors or jokes aimed at you), walk away with your head up. Bullies get their power when they know they hurt you. If you don’t show you’re hurt, they might get bored and leave you alone.

I hope this helps.

The Bully Box Brigade