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The Making of A Letter To My Bully: Sticks, Stones, and Words Do Hurt

April 19, 2014

Bullying is an illusion of power.

Being bullied is an illusion of being powerless.

Bearing witness to bullying and not speaking or not doing enough

is an illusion that is outside of your power to do something.

Behind it all, these illusions keep everyone from operating

at their full potential, inner strength, and true power.

 

Bullying is nothing new. It has always been around for generations. But I think many would agree that the dynamics have changed dramatically. Bullying and school violence has increased and has become more of a threat due to technology and the way people, from adults to children, can handle their emotions and thoughts.

 Knowing that my girls were being bullied and witnessing it get worse year by year, has been hard. Even if they went to a new school, or if we moved to a new neighborhood, it was apparent that more had to be done. Not just in regards to speaking out against bullying, but also how to deal with the emotional and mental aspect of being bullying. So for the sake of my children and other’s I used a tool that had worked for me when I needed healing and has worked for many others – writing.

Writing has been a huge tool for me in dealing with my problems, sorting them out and sometimes it was the only way I could even have a voice in such a noisy place in our world.  I always wrote in a journal as a child, and I stopped writing when I got older, but I always journal a bit and jot down my thoughts. It was my escape and my savior. A year before being blessed with the vision of doing this bullying book project, I did a book collaboration for women who have issues with their mother called, ‘A Letter To My Mother: A Daughter’s Perspective’.

The women were able to achieve some healing, release, forgiveness, and have a voice. We had already started journaling with the girls at home, but they needed more. Then the idea graced upon me, why not do the same type of book project like I did for the other women and myself who have a strained relationship with our mothers, and do one for my daughters, but make it an open project for others to join along. It made so much sense!  And from that thought birthed, A Letter To My Bully: Sticks, Stones and Words Do Hurt.

The title is so fitting because, yes, it is A Letter To My Bully, but we also know that bullying can be painful and hurtful physically, emotionally, and mentally. Sticks represent the emotional and mental hurt; Stones represents the physical abuse, and Words, of course, represents the verbal abuse.

So when we say ‘Sticks, Stones, and Words Do Hurt’ we are talking about every aspect of pain both seen and unseen. The wounds are painful and leave scars, visible and invisible. One isn’t worse than the other; all are brutal and impact the child being bullied on so many levels.

When this book was just a project starting out, and I was looking for youth to join my two daughters in telling their stories, I didn’t know what to expect, but I got exactly what I was looking for. ‘A Letter To My Bully: Sticks, Stones, and Words Do Hurt’ takes you into the thoughts and experiences of seven courageous young girls from ages 9-14 years old.  

But it doesn’t stop there. There is also an expert bonus section within the book featuring strong adult female authors and contributors who have either experienced being bullied in their youth as well, had children who experienced bullying, or work with the youth who have had this type of behavior and issue. So whether from a professional or personal perspective, or a mixture of both, the adult contributors and authors add another element to this book by providing insight and information on this topic.

The expert section is so vital to this book. It includes stories of being bullied and overcoming it, lessons they learned from their experience, and how they turned their pain into their purpose. It also includes an interview from a psychologist answering questions that you may have been seeking answers to and giving a deeper insight from a psychological viewpoint of bullying not just from the victim, but also from the bully.

There is also a deep introspection of the way we are raising our kids and the necessary steps, (listed as tips for easy reference) we should take to produce emotionally stable, empathic, children with ideal characteristics and integrity. We have valuable nuggets in regards to bullying prevention/elimination, and the roles of everyone involved and/or affected by bullying within schools, families, and the community.

Just about every perspective goes back to the responsibility of the parent and adults, but mostly parents. This was not planned. I was blown away conducting the interviews and reading the contributions myself. It pinpoints one of the main common denominators, not to place blame but to speak truth, providing information and responsibility. We (parents and adults) are the answer to our children’s problems, whether we know it or not.

Included also, are words of encouragement from successful women running a business and having a successful career working with young girls/children on a daily basis who have contributed to the foreword and afterword of this book.

‘A Letter To My Bully: Sticks, Stones, and Words Do Hurt’ is broken down into the following sections:

  • Letters written from our youth authors to their bullies
  • I Affirm section at the end where each girl states their affirmation(s), affirming who they are and standing tall in their identity and individualism. To affirm is to state, to speak, to declare, to set intentions, to create, to take ownership, to believe, to work towards, and to become without doubt.
  • Expert contribution based upon the professional and/or personal experience of five phenomenal women.
  • Facts and Statistics to inform and educate about bullying.
  • Pledge against bullying for youth and adults to take, recite, remember and truly apply.
  • Technology contracts for both parents and children that can be used and revised as needed to set a firm understanding of expectation in regards to all technology.
  • Bonus section at the end where the reader can write a letter to their bully and be an unofficial author to the book project as well and hopefully find a much-needed release.
  • And how exciting! We also have a theme song for this book project and our movement against bullying. TAJ, a 16-year-old artist from Atlanta, released her first single under Epic records; “U CAN’T BULLY ME” The song is a great compliment to ATLMB because music has a huge influence on us all, especially our youth. The fact that they now have a theme song about not being bullied is huge!! I am honored to have partnered with her! 

This is what makes the book so special and different. These girls can write directly to their bully/bullies even if they are not exactly able to talk directly to their bully/bullies. So they are still able to say what it is they need to say and get it all out.

One of the young authors in the book has not been bullied but just wanted to speak out against bullying. She felt the need for us all to take part in ending bullying, and you don’t have to be bullied to stand up and get involved. Also, this book is special and different because it is not only a tool for those being bullied, but for bullies to maybe see what it is that they are doing to others. It also can be a great guide and conversation starter for teachers, principals, parents, communities, and for those who work with young girls. It can also be great for boys! It will serve as a great reference, as a tool for awareness as a conversation starter; give answers, solutions, and information. 

It took a bit of work to get this book together but it was worth it, and I know it will be a blessing in some way.

Become aware! Be informed! Be inspired! Start dialogue! Take some sort of action towards change!

 

 

 

 

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