Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Special Thank You

I want to take a second to just thank each and every last one of you who has taken time to share my blog, read it and comment it.  10 years ago, if you asked me what I'd be doing, it would have been this. Truthfully I thought I'd either be employed or on the verge of mental collapse or my own demise at the hands of bullies. Thankfully I survived all that and now, I write my own little survival guide that may help another kid or a stray adult or too. At the end of the day, I don't care if I never get recognition for this. Because it's not about me, sure I play into it, draw inspiration from my own life and at time share brutal bits from it. But this is about helping and if it helps just one person, one person than every second I spend typing and every second of my tortuous, tumultuous school years has been worth it.

When you guys share this stuff with other people, it's like broad spectrum antibiotics, The range is huge and eventually it's going to attach to what and where it needs to. I know I can't thank you all by name, if I did, I would never get to bed. Though I do try to thank you all when I see it on my twitter feed.

I just wanted to say that you are all awesome, amazing, unique and special people to me, Even you!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to be a Hallway Hero ( Step up to Bullying)

It's still the start of school, you've all still have nine months to go. That seems like forever, just wait until your 20s kid. Nine months...seems like nine days, what you wouldn't give to be back in the class room. Still there are nine months left to start being somebody's hero.

If you notice a kid being bullied, don't shy away from them, be a friend. Ask them to play or about their favourite music. Let them know that even though somebody or a lot of somebodies are being jerks, You'll always be their friend. Stuff like that, it means so much to a kid that feels friendless.

Teachers can't be everywhere and they certainly can't see everything. Sure it's fun to get away with things, like chewing bubble gum in class, sneaking a bit of your snack from your lunch. But bullying isn't one of those fun things a teacher can miss. If you see a student being bullied, find a teacher and tell them. A teacher can't help, when they don't know whats happening. If you don't want to be seen by other students, catch the teacher during recess or just after school.

Maybe you know bullying is happening, but you've never really seen a student doing it in order to tell a teacher. Don't worry thats O.K because there are still things you can do to help. Make a poster about why bullying isn't nice, and how being nice = being cool. Ask your school's principal if it can be put on the school's bulletin board, who knows maybe the principal will turn your small idea into a school wide project.

If your a parent concerned about bullying, be a hero, be active. Get together with other parents from the school in perhaps a PTA setting and brainstorm on school activities that would force your children to get to know other children through fun activities. Activities that would enforce the values of being kind  and not being a bully. This helps in so many ways. Also be mindful of how you act at home, if junior always hears you gossiping and complaining and saying mean stuff about people in your life, they may thing it's ok to do the same thing to their school peers, especially when your kids don't have the contextual knowledge behind some of these actions that you do.

Remember to be a Hallway Hero.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

9 Eleven, 12 Years Later. ( Guts, Glory, Patriotism and Love) Photo By Allan Tannenbaum
Before 9/11/2013 is out, I want to write something about it. I was 12 years old. I remember I was in the 7th grade. We'd all been pulled from our classes from kindergarten to the 8th grade and ushered into the gym.  I attended a small Seventh- Day Adventist faith based academy. I'm not of that religious denomination, however the school had superb academic standards and looked passed the " Mentally Retarded" brand some child specialist gave me at the ripe old age of three. But I digress.

In the gym we were all asked to pray for the citizens of New York, we were never told why. All we were told was there were people who needed our prayer. I did not matter if they believed in our God, it did not matter if they were Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Taoist, Agnostic, Muslim or some other kind of weird to us religion. Didn't matter if they were Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Asexual, Pansexual or utterly confused. They needed our prayer and pray we did. At the time I just thought the principal got some creative wild hair for praying.

I remember my sister picking me up at 3:30pm, which was kind of rare. She said " Aunt Doreen( God Rest Her Soul) and Uncle Nello are OK". I probably looked at her as if she'd gone mad, which wasn't to far from the truth in my general opinion. It wasn't until I got home and couldn't find a bloody hockey game to watch. I was kind of an absent minded 12 year old and had probably flipped through dozen of channels and all thought they were playing the same movie. It wasn't until I really looked and listened that I realized what had happened.  Funny enough I still didn't figure out the significance to my sister saying my Aunt and Uncle were fine. I was young and thought Buffalo was Buffalo , New Jersey was New Jersey and New York was New York.  Didn't know the reality of the three being right on each other's arses.

12 years later, I have heard about it being a terrorist attack as well as a black ops planned stunt by the U.S government to solidify itself as the only super power in the world. Truth be told, I don't give much of a damn what the true story is. Either way shame on them, you can't change the past, you can only work on the present and hope for the future. I will always remember the fallen from that day. The Heroism of those on the Pennsylvania jet. I will remember not how a nation pulled together in a time of need but an entire continent. People often forget the part us Canadians played in the heroics of 9/11. Maybe because all our skylines stayed the same but we were a part. So Canadian 9/11 heros and American 9/11 heros we love you all the same. I'll always remember wondering if I had to start calling the Pentagon the Square.

I'll remember not wanting my dad to go to work on the 12th incase they came here. Most of all, I'll remember that being a day when a part of my childhood innocence died. When I realized there really was darkness in the world but it was also the day I realized, I had to be a light in this world because I never wanted to be darkness, I wanted people to find me if they ever felt trapped in the dark.

If you happen to be reading this blog and you're a member or veteran of any North American Branch of Military from United States Marine Corps to the Canadian Armed Forces and our allies. Thank you for your service. If your a First Responder thank you for your Service. I'll never take you for granted.

That wraps up my 9/11 story, memory. I don't think I've ever shared everything with anyone but today I have.

I left out a picture of a soldier, to make a point. I know branches will bicker like bratty children over who really is better. Countries bicker over who's military is better. But in the end, that really doesn't matter. You're all brave, You all fighting for your country. You're all Heros. When it comes to war that followed 9/11 Desert Camo, unified you and made you family. Sure the Camo is a little different from branch to branch, country to country but look at your last family portrait none of you look the exact same but you look enough a like that the world knows your family

Being the New Kid, Declassified.

Image from RolePlay Republic
Hey, Howdy and Whats Up? Besides the sky, unless you're doing a handstand! Because obviously, the sky would be down then.  Enough of my nonsensical ramblings. I'm pretty sure I started this blog with a very good point in mind, oh right being the new kid.

Being the new kid, can be a good thing and other times it can be kind of scary. It's always a new start. Maybe you've moved to a new town, changed schools or maybe you're just growing up and moving up to the big leagues, 9th grade.  I was the new kid three times before eighth grade, again in 9th and all over again in college. I learned a few things along the way, sometimes later rather than sooner.

If you're worried about locating your classes or other things in the school, just ask your principal or the secretary for map. If you happen to be going to a large school, they should be able to print you a copy and then you can highlight where you need to be. As much fun as it is to miss a chunk of class while you still have the excuse of getting lost, not being able to find the bathroom while everyone is still in class, sucks.

There is something about lunch hour, for a lot of kids it's intimidating. Lunch is viewed like a poster for the schools pecking order. I have secret for you, it's all rubbish. If you don't know where to sit, you can always introduce yourself to any table and ask if you may have a seat. Sometimes that might be just a little to much for a person on their first tour of duty at a new school. You can always look for another person who is alone and introduce yourself, you don't know you might just have found your first new friend.

Sometimes making friends isn't always the easiest or most natural thing for some of us, I was a textbook case of having trouble making new friends. What I found was, I had an easier time, when their was already a common interest in place. Make sure to check out your schools clubs or sports teams. This is a great way to make friends, because you already have something to talk about. If you notice your school doesn't have a club that fits your interests, talk to your schools administration about possibly starting one if a teacher is willing to be on duty for it.

Most of all, just be confident and own your stuff.  It might take a while to settle in, but grin and bare because it will get better.

If you have any advice for new kids, leave a comment in the comment section. If you have any ideas for future topics leave it in the comments.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How your School can put a curb on Bullying and be able to deal with incidents faster

With a new year, you are bound to see bullying take place, you may even be a victim of it. You know you should probably tell a teacher or even ask the bully to stop, but sometimes, that can be very hard.
Everyone knows what it means to be marked as nark, looking back on it as a grown adult you'll end up thinking the whole fear of being a nark, was really stupid.

Statistically, only about 8% of school yard bullying ever comes across the administrations desk, because school supervisors can't possibly see it all, Then you have all those students who fear the social repercussions of being marked, tattletale.

If you're a teacher, student consider talking to your school about a smart phone application called TipOff it was recently rolled out as a pilot program in Hamilton Ontario. This app allows students, parents and even teachers to select their school and send a text directly to the school administration. This application scrambles the phone numbers so it remains truly anonymous. Thus far it's already caught a student who brought a knife to campus and intervened in school bullying.  It's gotten great reviews and I'd like to see more schools globally showing an interest in the app so it's in every school possible, sooner rather than later.

I think this is a great application, that could be a serious asset, face it students are going to text in class whether you ban cell phones or not. Might as well make it a truly positive thing.

You can browse this article about the app.
shout out to CBC for being awesome.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just let Beautiful, Be Beautiful.

In the last seven days millions of children, teenagers and young adults have made the trek back to school. A year to grow, learn, live, love laugh and be Beautiful. Beautiful is a state of being and not something defined by society.  Girls and Boys never, ever let the people around you or society dictate your brand of beautiful, being beautiful isn't something you learn to be, takes steps to be it's something you are.

Nobody should say you're not a pretty girl, because pretty girls don't wear boy jeans, sci-fi t-shirts and faux hawk hair. Nobody should say that only beautiful girls dress in pink, purple and close that flatter their girlish curves. Nobody should say that you're not a pretty girl because you don't have a big chest, that your arms are to muscular. Nobody should say you're not a gorgeous girl because you aren't skinny or your to skinny.

Nobody should say you're not a handsome boy, because handsome boys look athletic. Nobody should say you're not a beautiful boy, because beautiful boys don't wear skinny jeans, light pastels and shirts with cute graphics. Nobody should say you're not a handsome boy because your muscles aren't big and you don't even lift bro. Nobody should say you're not gorgeous because you're just a little to fat.

When people say that, don't listen to them. People like that are full of crap. Kids, No people don't be those people, don't be a contributor to a society that thinks they have a monopoly on what makes you beautiful. What has society driven beauty ever achieved? Anorexic young women, Bulimic Boys, Bullying and generations of people who'll never be able to look in the mirror and say " I'm beautiful" and believe it.

Yes I know, everybody has their turn ons and what they find attractive in other people. Thats normal, thats fine but you should never tell a person they're ugly and so disgusting that no one will ever want them and they need to change to be more Beautiful.

It's time to just let beautiful, be beautiful.

Nothing More, Nothing Less.