No Place For Bullying in School Sports!

Character Picture Sports

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – Coach John Wooden

What are your thoughts on how your school district is handling intimidation, harassment and bullying in regards to school sports and sporting events?

There has been highly negative public reaction to several recent news stories. From Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson to Greg Hardy to Jonathan Dwyer we hear about a culture where aggressive behavior isn’t just contained on the field. It also takes place at home in the form of domestic violence and child abuse, and at school with taunting and hazing.

Now it has occurred here in New Jersey at Sayreville War Memorial High School.  Sayreville has cancelled the remainder of its football season because of allegations of abuse, intimidation and bullying.  All of us want our children to have positive school experiences, and we encourage them to get involved in clubs and sports. We recognize that these involvements can provide our children with a well-rounded education. Sports are supposed to be a way to build character and a sense of teamwork. Harassment and bullying should not be accepted or tolerated at any level.  It’s important that coaches send this clear message, and a message of acceptability and tolerance of each other, to the players before the season begins, as well as during and after the season.

To read more about this topic follow the New York Times and NJ.com articles on Sayreville for acting swiftly to curb bullying.

What do you think of Sayreville’s response?

What can be done about the backlash towards the freshman students that were assaulted?

Internet Safety Matters

social media

Children are leading digital lives! As early as elementary school, through high school and college children and teenagers are using social networking, creating and uploading blogs, videos, photographs and music and searching different subjects, chatting on IM, snap chat, and more. There is no “off” switch when it comes to cyberspace.

In our world, the Internet is often no longer a solitary or passive experience. For many children, the Internet is social. Children are using the Internet to express themselves and to experiment anonymously with different identities. While the desire to strike out on their own is age-appropriate, all kids still need parental guidance on how to conduct them safely online.

Learn the Basics of Internet Safety

  • Mark your profiles as private - anyone who accesses your profile on a social networking site can copy or screen-capture information and photos that you may not want the world to see. Never share names, schools, ages, phone numbers, or addresses. Remind your kids that when they post something online, they lose control of it. It can be cut and pasted and sent around the Web. If you teach them to self-reflect before they reveal, their online experiences are more likely to be safe.
  • Keep passwords private (except to parents) – safeguard your passwords and change them frequently. If someone logs on to a site and pretends to be you, they can trash your identity.
  • Don’t post inappropriate or sexually provocative pictures - things that seem funny or cool to you right now might not seem so cool years from now. If teachers, admissions officers, or potential employers see inappropriate behavior on your social media pages it could be damaging for any future opportunities. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t feel comfortable if your parents saw it, it’s probably not a good idea to post.
  • Talk – tell a trusted adult if something mean or scary happens on the Internet. We want to make sure that kids feel safe reporting bad and dangerous behavior.
  • Stop and breathe - remember nothing is short lived online. If you get the urge to react instantly to an angry IM or comment on a message board or blog, it’s a good idea to wait a few minutes, calm down, and remember that the comments may stay up (with your screen name attached to your angry words) long after you’ve regained your composure and maybe changed your mind about posting.

Keep your children safe on the Internet by finding out what they’re doing online. You want to make sure they’re making respectful and responsible choices . Take an active role in your children’s Internet activities. This will help to ensure that they’ll benefit from the wealth of information the web offers without being exposed to its dangers. It is crucial for parents to learn about the types of new media and social networking their children are participating in. This will give them more knowledge to facilitate conversations with their kids about the activities they engage in online. The goal is to teach our children how to be responsible digital citizens. This is what will ultimately keep them safe online.

~TURNING STONEchoice

Parenting Begins with You!

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One of the most important characteristics of teaching children is to show respect for their views and to let them have some say in their choices that surround them.  Many parents take the word “discipline” to mean punishment.  Discipline doesn’t have to hurt.  As parents, if we can see the word discipline to mean teaching instead of punishment we can help teach our children to become better human beings.

Here are some tips to teach children to respect.

Love – Children need lots of love and approval.

Communicate  – Take time to listen and consider their point of view.

Set Clear Limits – Telling children in advance what is expected and what the rules are helps prevent conflicts before they happen.

Be Consistent – This is the key to effective consequences.  Don’t say you will do something unless you are prepared to carry it through.

Check Yourself – If you are angry or frustrated take a time out for yourself.  Take a deep breath, count to ten and calm down.  Once you are in a calm state of mind then address the situation.

Parenting is one of the best and most rewarding jobs in the world.  It is also a tough, 24-hours a day job.  The most important key to successful parenting is knowledge, knowing what your children need, knowing how to deal with them in different situations, and knowing how to take care of their needs.

Learning more about parenting and child development can make a world of difference.  To learn more check out Skills to Build a Secure Child workshop series.

~ TURNING STONEchoice

“We make our choices, then our choices make us.”

Short-Term Satisfaction!
Often choices are clouded by obstacles, like anger, stress, prejudice, etc.
which impede clear thinking and the chances of making a self-empowering choice
When decisions are made in this state, it leaves individuals feeling like they have
limited control over their life. Often, these choices result in a short-term satisfaction and rarely
result in an outcome that is truly fulfilling.

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To learn more visit TURNING STONEchoice

When Will It Stop?

Ferguson

We’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge go viral over the last two weeks on social media; people happily dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise money for a worthy cause. During this same period of time, Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri and protests have continued in that city and around the country. In the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown, may we engage thoughtfully and critically in examining the situation in Ferguson and stand together on the side of justice and equality?

We need to make empowering choices to actively plan how to take actions that will dismantle injustice when it happens in America. So here’s a #FergusonChallenge:

Share a story about how the events in Ferguson have resonated with you, and then donate to an organization that promotes underserved youth, racial justice, and/or police accountability.

Here a story that resonates with TURNING STONEchoice. It is one of the Letters to the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled When Ferguson Hits Home August 21, 2014

I never thought I would be living so close to conflict. If I jumped on the highway and zoomed down a few exits, I’d be visiting Ferguson. We are that close, yet we are so far away. Our entire city and country has become focused on what is, and even more alarming, what is not happening in a town within our town. Yet we attempt to put distance between our neighborhoods, just like we attempt to say what’s happening in the Middle East is happening “over there.” Well, folks, “over there” just came to our backyards, and it is madly screaming for our attention.

None of us know the whole story of the incident that led to this massive turmoil my neighbors are embracing without choice. I grieve with every single person involved in this story. There is not one person who is unaffected by this tragedy, including those of us who attempt to drown out the sirens because it’s happening “over there.” It’s “here,” people. The world is watching us, and most importantly our children are silently observing every step we take.

I wonder what would happen if we embraced all those who were hurting tonight, and realized that grieving is actually taking place on both sides of the police line. What if we all held ourselves accountable and allowed each other to take a deep breath when confusion, fear or anger sets in to release a potential breath of hope? I wonder if we’d find peace.

Jen McCurdy  •  St. Louis County

The choice is yours to empower your children and help guide them through purposeful and empowering choice making to help end intolerance and create a peaceful world.

As TURNING STONEchoice always teaches children and adults in our communities, and as the writer of this letter suggests, the first thing we must do is to take that “breath of hope”.

Michael Brown

ACLU of Missouri Foundation: http://www.aclu-mo.org/get-involved/
Amnesty International: http://www.amnestyusa.org/donate-to-amnesty
Ferguson Youth Initiative: http://fyifergyouth.org/
Ferguson Bail Fund: http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/…/bail-and-legal-fund…/
Or buy an “I Am Human” tee-shirt to support protestors on the ground: http://teespring.com/IAMHUMANDONTSHOOT

How critical can you think? A blog for making choices and being in control of your own living.

TURNING STONEchoice:

Worth Re-posting! Please Read!

Originally posted on TURNING STONEchoice:

If individuals only think about themselves, are they being selfish? In our society today, the answer would most likely be yes, but is that really true?

Thinking about ourselves, for ourselves and by ourselves is what keeps people in control of their own living. No one else has the power to shape our actions besides ourselves.

An anonymous author once wrote, “The greatest knowledge we can give our children is knowledge about themselves. Such knowledge gives them the base for learning everything else important in their life.”  TURNING STONEchoice (TSC) holds this philosophy at the core of its program. Self-communication and interacting in (vs. reacting to) a situation is integral in solving everyday problems.

As part of the TSC program, educators and leaders are helping children identify their innermost feelings about realities they are facing.  The TSC program teaches children to make self-empowering choices resulting in inner fulfillment.

Making a…

View original 69 more words

A Great School Year According to Kids

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Summer’s end gives way to back-to-school thoughts with traditional articles doling tips and advice to kick off the school year just right.  Usually– no, always these thoughts are derived from the experts, teachers and parents. No one ever asks those who ultimately should get to define that experience.  When asked, kids have their fair share of what would make for a great school year.  Enjoy the thoughts of students from pre-school to senior year of high school, when asked, “What would make for a great school year?”

“Reinstitute recess.  And, I mean, a real recess that the teachers don’t try to control.”  – Charlie, 8th grade

“Elementary school should have more science and experiments so kids can have fun learning.” – Joseph, 5th grade

“No NJASK! It doesn’t count as a grade & it builds too much attention for something that almost means nothing. Prepping for months long is not a learning experience. What did I learn?”  – Shawn, 8th grade

“For writing kids should be able to meet and interview authors to get tips on how to become better authors.” – Joseph, 5th grade

“I want a field trip to an amusement park with lots of roller coasters.  I want to know how they work.” – Caleb, 5th grade

“Some days, I want to be able to scream at the top of my lungs without getting into trouble.” – Nick, 2nd grade

“I would like to do more math and get rid of reading.”  – Justin, 2nd grade

“A great school year has lots of play dough!” – Jessie, Kindergarten

“We need video games, like math video games in every room and a half day of school with recess every day.” – Justin, 3rd grade

“I’m happy to get to go upstairs with the big kids and bubbles.  We should have bubbles.” –  Jasmine, Preschool

“To receive equal respect from teachers.  They are demanding respect from us but it seems like they don’t give it back to us.” – Avery, 12th grade

I wish we had basic life skills being taught to us.  Everything is so academic and I feel like that it really doesn’t prepare me for life.”  – Lily, 12th grade

Also, we learn so much about history that I feel disconnected to what is going on in the world today.  I wish we learned more about current events.” – Lily, 12th grade

I think there should be breaks throughout the day to hang out with friends, better lunches and no homework.  I would rather spend an extra half hour a day at school than do homework.  I just want to be done! “- Phillip, 8th grade

Elementary school should have a baseball team and clean bathrooms, a glass dome with a huge opening so I can sky jump from a private jet right into the building. And, reading, lots of reading, I wish we had more time to read.”  – Michael, 4th grade

My school year would be great with lots of outside time! Did you know my favorite letter is E, like egg, elephant. . . I think we will learn more about the letter E. “– Emily, Kindergarten

Great friends that are there, teachers that support, not adversary and a nice atmosphere. “– Riley, 9th grade

It’s difficult to learn subject matter that is not enjoyable but important.  Wish teachers could make it fun. And, students stop being mean to others that have different interests.  I see kids being mean or just ignoring others because they do not have shared interests.  Wish that could end.” – John, 9th grade

Down with the yellow buses.  They smell disgusting!” – Charlie, 8th grade

The pressure to be more ahead of where you are is insane.  I wish there was an acceptance from adults that not everyone needs to be so advanced.  We should be motivated by our learning experience not always trying to get ahead.” – John, 9th grade

“Having a choice in what we learn would be nice.  We are always told what we should learn but no one asks what we want to learn.” – Riley, 9th grade

Students were incredibly eager to voice their feelings about their education.  Between the bubbles and smelly yellow buses were some profound messages.   I hope as teachers and parents we are listening and willing to have a great school year.

Good luck with the upcoming school year and enjoy the last days of summer.

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TURNING STONEchoice