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Posts Tagged ‘Bullying’

Last weekend, as we were rolling into our new home in Nashville, we heard about the death of Mayor Meghan Barry’s only child Max. Her son died of an overdose at the age of 22 in Colorado. I have to give Mayor Barry credit for being honest and open about his death; drug addiction is an insidious disease, an equal opportunity killer. Too often parents feel shame regarding this issue, and the stigma only grows in the dark.

Bob has always said, “There are no fifty year old addicts.”

“Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn the loss of our child and begin to understand a world without his laughter and love in our lives,” the Mayor said in a statement.

Almost every American family has been touched by this epidemic. If you don’t have a family member who is suffering or recovering, you most certainly will know someone who does. And when I told the Bride about Meghan Barry’s tragedy, she was shocked and saddened. They met at a medical conference just last year and she has a lot of respect for the Mayor. .

My daughter is currently on a beach vacation and not in Nashville, so lucky for her she’s been media-free. She asked if it was opioids and I didn’t know; the fact is an addiction is an addiction, is an addiction. Heroin, pills, alcohol? In my mind, your drug of choice is secondary to the disease. Although politicians would like to blame the current opioid crisis on the health system, I think we need to dig deeper.

While we were discussing the rain in Florida and the grandbabies, the Bride told me about a book she’s reading, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” by Brene Brown. The author is a story teller and a researcher, her area of interest is what makes a person’s life authentic? And what does shame have to do with it? To reference my previous post – how does one remain real in this world?

“Participants who were living “amazing and inspiring lives” reported embracing imperfection and vulnerability and being grateful and authentic. As Brown writes, they talked about these things “in a way that was completely new to me.” These participants were living life and loving with their whole hearts.”

Before you tell me this sounds like a jewelry commercial, think about it for awhile. Once you have a child, you will become as vulnerable as a newly hatched soft shell crab. You will wake to a whimper, sit up all night with a fever, and foolishly try to shield your child from the rough parts of life. If you had a child who had to learn from his own mistakes, you know what I mean. But protecting a child too much can interfere with their growth. It’s a delicate balance, parenting.

Brown talks about cultivating three things –  courage, compassion and connection. Once we send our children off to school, these qualities may become elusive in our Kardashian culture. I just heard of parents in NJ who are suing a school system for not addressing the bullying their daughter was receiving. Instagram and Snapchat were weaponized by her peers. The 12 year old girl eventually killed herself. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/02/after-months-of-bullying-a-12-year-old-new-jersey-girl-killed-herself-her-parents-blame-the-school/?utm_term=.ffbf01eb5a92

This was SIXTH grade, in the town right next to our hometown.

I don’t know if Max Barry was bullied in school. I don’t even know if he suffered from a mental illness. But I can tell you this parents, if you keep those lines of communication open, if you can manage to stay connected to your children, they might just stand a chance. Disconnect from your cell phones and don’t worry about being the “perfect parent,” there is no such thing.

And have courage if your firstborn is starting Kindergarten this month!  IMG_1031

 

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We all have our defining moments. I’m sure Jung, Freud and Dr Phil have a word for them, those watershed episodes in our histories that help to forge our collective character. And for many of us, high school was the battlefield for our very souls. I came straight out of Sacred Heart elementary school into a public high school and found my safe center, my clique with the drama club. You can’t tell me that you don’t remember the “pranks” you pulled, I won’t believe you. I distinctly remember a rumor was started about me, although I don’t really remember what it was about. I just knew it wasn’t true, and found out who started it.

One day during a play rehearsal in the auditorium, I saw the girl who started the rumor in the darkened audience. I walked down the stage stairs and over to her, and as I’m typing this I can feel my heart start racing a little. I stood so close to her I could smell her breath, it smelled like tuna fish. I told her in a very strong, loud voice, “If you have something to say to me, then SAY IT TO MY FACE!” She looked sick, and started backing away from me as if I’d struck her but I hadn’t touched her at all. This may sound lame today, but believe me back in the early 60s girls never raised their voices. It wasn’t ladylike. I felt good, in fact I felt better than good. The Flapper had taught me well. It was an early defining moment for me.

So I have to think that Mitt is lying, just out and out shook up his Etch-a-Sketch and wants to start over. How does one forget holding another boy down on the ground with a group and cutting off his hair? Granted Mitt may not have known he was a gay kid, because back then we didn’t even know about gay kids, or adults for that matter, but he saw him as “different,” as a victim and pounced. And we might forgive him for his teenage testosterone temper; but for acting like he can’t remember the incident, for lying? I think not. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-kennedy/mitt-romney-bullying-human-rights_b_1514273.html?ref=new-york

Today’s news from Richmond is that in the dead of night (actually 1 am this morning) the GOP leadership overwhelmingly voted to reject nominating its special Prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland for a judgeship.
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/virginia-politics/2012/may/15/12/house-of-delegates-rejects-thorne-begland-for-judg-ar-1914948/

Why? Because he’s gay, and would have been the first openly gay judge elected in Virginia.

Now we all know these things are usually pre-approved and are only given up to the House of Delegates for a symbolic vote, so something went wrong in our state last night.
“The rejection of Mr. Thorne-Begland shows that discrimination based on sexual orientation is alive and well in Virginia,” Del. Mark D. Sickles, D-Fairfax, said in a statement after the vote in the House of Delegates. “And, it shows that legislators are more concerned about the Family Foundation scorecard than Richmond’s District Court.”

What really bothers me – “Ten Republican delegates abstained and 26 delegates, including a handful of Democrats, did not vote.” So we have a bunch of scared people over in Richmond, like those who would stand by and watch someone being humiliated for fear of retaliation. And this leaves me with a sick taste in my mouth. Cowardly is not an adjective I associate with leadership. We need to make our voices heard this November Virginia, it’s going to be another defining moment. We may need to shout!

In this picture in my old kitchen, I’ve just received a graduate degree in education. I was serving as a member of the Rumson High School Board of Education, dealing with pranks among many other things. The Bride was in college and the Rocker was a high school Freshman. He is already taller than us…it seems like ages ago, and yesterday.

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