Dear Senia – A Note to a Brave Girl

self-esteem

Schools and communities across the nation are participating in Anti-Bullying programs this month providing a plethora of tips and techniques on how to handle situations. With respect to all those efforts, I wanted to move beyond providing information and take action. I want to share Senia’s story and reach out to her because she and kids just like her are worth it. Her story will never be on 20/20 or headlined in today or tomorrow’s paper. We are usually hand fed only the worst cases, like the recent and tragic suicide of a 12 year old girl. But, Senia’s story is extremely relevant.  Her story represents the millions of children who listen to daily cruel comments chipping away at their precious beings, and struggle to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. This month consider one child you know who could use an encouraging word to be brave, bold and already beautiful.  You can follow the link below to Senia’s post.

 

Dear Senia,

We do not know each other, but I just wanted to let you know how brave I believe you are to share your bullying and peer pressure story. It takes courage to let people know how you feel and what you believe.  You never know how your story may impact someone else who thinks they are going through the same thing, but alone. It takes self-respect to make the empowering decision to be who you are and move through the pressure to act a certain way.  I hope you continue to think of ways to help others work through peer pressure and prevent bullying. Your ideas were very solid and perhaps you may even want to pursue those ideas for your school or community.  Continue to embrace the unique and fabulous person that you are!
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

http://simplysenia.com/2013/10/15/senias-school-paper-on-bullying/
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

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60 Bystanders

The realities of the case in Steubenville, Ohio, where two football players allegedly raped a 16 year old girl are unfolding, in the second day of testimony being heard today. Reviewing the articles, pictures, posts and video surrounding this horrifying event has brought me to a perplexing place. According to a news story released early this morning (see link below) there are 60 possible witnesses between the defense and prosecution. 60 potential individuals who could have attempted to intervene on behalf of the girl and even the boys. Instead, there was a flurry of pictures taken (conveniently deleted) and voyeurs, to what is now a cataclysm. No one was courageous enough to intervene? Really – 60 people?!! Instead, we watch young men repulsively comment on video to what he feels is hysterical – rape. The details coming out of this tragic situation flow like a Lifetime movie, except, this is a real life nightmare for three young people. Self-destructing choices continued to fall like beastly dominos and yet bystanders continued to watch, and click, and post for their amusement. We must encourage, and educate our young people to make self-respecting choices that are carried out under any situation, and to move to action because; it is the right thing to do.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/trial-to-begin-in-ohio-hs_n_2866339.html

Art Imitates Life

Art often imitates life and often reveals more than subject matter to social issues like bullying and permits purveyors of any medium to “feel” the people, places, and experiences of which we would otherwise lack real understanding.
Art in its many forms can reach and teach, unlike typical lectures or well- intentioned speeches, with incredible power. Watching the movie, Bully, will bring you to tears and have you hurting for the children and their families. Lady Gaga’s lyrics for “Born this Way” encourage her Twitter followers–over 19 million young people around the globe–to accept the unique individuals they are becoming. Multi-media showcases like You Will Rise Project can make one cringe over the brutal truth of a picture. From White Plains, an Off-Broadway production, gives insight into the life-long consequences a bully experiences while attempting to redeem himself, and the simple clear messages of stick-figure drawings by first and second graders during a Turning Stone Moment beacon the reality that children are capable of understanding the power in their actions and the effect those actions can have on another human being.
Art is a language that communes with the inner person and brings forth the emotion and drive to make change happen. It is the therapy we grasp when simple lines of communication cannot render the message or when the pain is so deep our voices become mute.
Unlock the voices of our students, our children, our future by equipping them with the tools that allow them to make self-empowering choices and positive decisions, to gain greater control over their lives, and to give them the freedom to express and explore their thoughts. Please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com for more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process.
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

A Word from the Authors of the Missouri High School Senior List

“I can’t say that I am the most popular guy at school. I don’t have the most friends, I don’t have the best grades, not many girls talk to me… I’m average.
Athletes build their reputation through their performance on the field. Smart kids get credit for their good grades. Popular guys will always be popular because of their good looks and personalities. But for someone not so gifted, I need to create my own image.
When I wrote the Senior List with my two friends, we got immediate attention. Everyone had a copy of the list in their book bag. It was the topic of conversation at lunch and our names were always mentioned.
Some girls were mad, but they did exactly as I planned. I knew that when this list came out, those girls had no other choice but to address me directly because of my critiques. They are reading and re-reading the words I wrote, no other option then to dwell over my reviews. I felt powerful.”
Though this may not be an accurate depiction of the real-life perpetrators in the recent Missouri High School Senior List incident, it is a mindset that fuels the bullying and harassment epidemic in this country. But how many of us can understand this perspective?
The TURNING STONEchoice program teaches us how to identify will all sides of the story in order to see the full-picture. It is not until we understand the reality of situations when our choices are revealed.