Tag Archives: bully

A Song of Abuse and Hope


Domestic Violence May Be A Painful Subject For Many Caution is Advised

Bathroom Floor blog

Bathroom Floor

Words and Music by Cathy Scott

I’m sitting here on the bathroom floor,

the only room with a lock on the door.

There’s been a fight, thought that I was right,

but he’s turned it around on me Lord.

Somehow I felt I had to get away,

so I’m sitting here repeating words I’ve heard.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

He leadeth me beside the still waters,

He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me

in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Again I’m here on the bathroom floor,

hope the lock holds on the flimsy door.

I tried to be good, thought that I could,

but he’s really mad at me now.

I must have caused this fight somehow,

so I’m sitting here repeating these words.

Yea though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil

For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff

they comfort me.

Here again, hugging my knees

wishing he would just hit me

For then I’d feel something real,

perhaps I’d heal.

Tonight he broke the car window out

with his bare hand, to get a coat

Now I drive through town

to find and bring him home.

Thou preparest a table before me

in the presence of mine enemies;

Thou anointest my head with oil;

and my cup runneth over.

He tried to kill my cat today,

then made me drive to throw him away.

Dumped in the desert and left to die,

could I have stopped him? Did I try?

I’m sitting here on the bathroom floor,

wondering if I can take much more,

And I repeat the words I know so well now.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.

God led me up from the bathroom floor.

I don’t need to cower there any more.

He brought me home, and set me free.

This is the place I’m meant to be.

The words I’d heard in Sunday school

became for me God’s blessed tool;

My whole life now I’ll remember these words.

The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

He leadeth me beside the still waters;

he restoreth my soul; he leadeth me

In the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

If you or someone you know if suffering from domestic violence whether that be verbal, emotional, physical, sexual or neglect there is help.  Contact your local Transition House, CHIMO help line, or call the police.

In the Fredericton area:

Chimo Help Centre Inc.           1-800-667-5005

Child Protection                           1-888-99- ABUSE

Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis  506-454-0437

http://www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca/en/index.php?page=spousal_assault

http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/Home.aspx 1-800-668-6868



photo from http://www.kmhlawyers.com/practice-areas-2/family-matrimonial/domestic-violence/

Post 120: Are We Having Fun Yet?


 

flickr.com/photos/shanepope/2375499336

On Tuesday, June 7 I will have been writing this blog for five months.  Today’s post will be #120 and I got to thinking that I must certainly be repeating myself by now.  If this is the case, I heartily apologize.  I don’t go back in my post list very often and I write what comes to mind on any given day. 

 

Despite the fact that my teenage daughter gives me a hard time for doing so, I did a little checking on the stats for curlingupwithGod.  In those five months there have been 9,800 visits to my site, many undoubtedly directed by a search for something which led them to me erroneously.  The Footprints poem seems to be the most common search term which directs people here.  I have no way of knowing whether these people actually stop and read something or just scan quickly for the lyrics and then head on their way.  On my busiest day I had 245 visits which was really exciting!   I have been thrilled to have people write me notes occasionally and with those and my responses I have 77 comments.

 

Every time I write a post I have the option of tagging which may lead people to the post.  I didn’t do much of this at first, but have discovered how important it can be.   WordPress keeps track of the most common tags and makes them available to choose rather than writing them in each time.  I thought the list was pretty interesting.  When I see it, the words I have used the most are actually in a bigger font.

 

Bible blog bully change choices choir Christianity church cross details distractions Easter evangelism Facebook faith fashion forgiveness God help Holy Spirit improvement Jesus justice kindness leadership Lectionary Lent love music prayer preaching problems promise quiet reflection sin song stress students survival teachers The Message//Remix:Solo time Twitter worry

 

Back to the title question, are we having fun yet?  I know that I am enjoying the writing and any associated thinking and reflecting that is associated with that activity.  Some days I will have several images or comments pop into my head which lead to posts and I have to type them in before I lose them.  So far my feedback has been good and I’m assuming that for every person who goes to the trouble of writing a comment there are several who at least smile and nod at some point in their reading and that is great.

 

See you at 250 🙂

So…When Do I Become A Grown-Up?


 

A good friend of mine teaches Sociology in our high school.  One of the projects her students do is called “Who Am I?”  This is intended to take them beyond their looking-glass selves, past what they think other people see in them, to their real selves.  The projects are quite amazing and I always think that I have no idea how I would answer the question myself.  Today, while sifting through my “junk drawer” in my desk, I ran across a note which I wrote while at a seminar on stress.  The title?  Who Am I?

 

I think that what I answered that day is pretty accurate.  The part I want to talk about today is, “I don’t really feel like a grown up most of the time, even though I have three kids who are growing up.”  If I don’t feel like a grown up at forty-six years of age, when will I?

Have you heard the song “I Won’t Grow Up” from Peter Pan?

PETER PAN:
Are you ready for today’s lesson?

ALL:
Yes, Peter!

PETER PAN:
Listen to your teacher. Repeat after me:
I won’t grow up,
(I won’t grow up)
I don’t want to go to school.
(I don’t want to go to school)
Just to learn to be a parrot,
(Just to learn to be a parrot)
And recite a silly rule.
(And recite a silly rule)
If growing up means
It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me!
Not I,
Not me!
Not me!
I won’t grow up,
(I won’t grow up)
I don’t want to wear a tie.
(I don’t want to wear a tie)
And a serious expression
(And a serious expression)
In the middle of July.
(In the middle of July)
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,

I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me,
Not I,
Not me!
So there!
Never gonna be a man,
I won’t!
Like to see somebody try
And make me.
Anyone who wants to try
And make me turn into a man,
Catch me if you can.
I won’t grow up.
Not a penny will I pinch.
I will never grow a mustache,
Or a fraction of an inch.
‘Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.
I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up,
No sir,
Not I,
Not me,
So there!

etc.

 

Let’s look at that a bit.  “If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,” I can not remember the last time I climbed a tree but I do remember spending hours reading in the maple tree in our front yard.  Thinking about it now I can feel the gentle swaying of the branches in the breeze.  Why don’t I climb trees anymore?  I don’t think it has anything to do with dignity but possibly opportunity and the fact that I’m not at all sure my body is up to it anymore.  I have found the gentle swaying of my hammock both more accessible and equally satisfying. 

 

As for penny pinching, moustache growing and gaining height, I did reach my full height, I hope I never grow a moustache that leaves penny pinching.  It is interesting that Peter associates penny pinching with being grown up.  I wonder if he means the constant challenge of making the money we make stretch to accommodate the needs and perceived needs of our families.  This is certainly one of the big stressors in adult life and in relationships as well. 

 

Where Peter’s logic comes crashing down is when he sings, “Cause growing up is awfuller than all the awful things that ever were.”  This is the image that we tend to give kids, sometimes directly and sometimes inadvertantly.  I know some kids who have already gone through more awful things in their first eighteen years than lots of adults.  Children who are abused, abandones, bullied etc. often fall into despair from our message of, “you think you have it bad now, just wait until you are an adult.”  It is little wonder that the teen suicide rates are what they are!

 

I guess by Peter’s standards I am grown up.  I shoulder the burdens of responsibility and while I make every attempt to do it with good humour and placing my faith in God, I’m sure I often wear the worried air to which he refers.  But being a grown up is really awesome!  The freedom and opportunities open to us as adults are amazing and I would not for a second want a young person to feel they need to avoid being grown up.  At the same time, though, I still spend hours wondering what I will be when I grow up.  My career as a teacher is nearing its natural end and I think a lot about what I will do then.  In the meantime I plan to not take myself too seriously, and if a nice low branch offers itself I just may climb up a tree with my Kobo and settle in to read a bit!

 


thanks to http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/peterpan/iwontgrowup.htm for the lyrics

Pink Shirt Day, Change Today!


Today was Pink Shirt Day at our high school.  Kids, teachers, guys and girls were all sporting various pink clothing.  There were pink sneakers, pink pants, pink t-shirts, dress shirts, ties, sweaters, bracelets, scarves.  All shades of pink, some as part of a pattern and some plain pink.  Some of us ordered special Bullying Starts Here shirts and others wore their normal clothes.  I even had one male student who borrowed a pink zip-jacket from his mother.  Through the whole day I heard almost no name calling, almost no bad language, it was very cool!

I am sure there were people at the school who thought some of us looked silly, maybe even some bullies who were itching to make a comment, but that is the wonder of numbers.  It is a fact that if it is clear that your behaviour will not be tolerated by most of the people around, it is less likely that you will do it.

I don’t know if it will make a difference tomorrow, but the several hundred students all dressed in pink and chanting, “bullying stops here,”  won’t forget it!

Show Off The Colours God Gave You


A few years ago my sister and I spent a week in July in Cancun .  The colours there seemed more brilliant than here at home.  Among the many animals I saw while there we saw iguanas, the above macaws, brightly coloured fish etc.  I took lots of pictures, like the one above, but the bird that held my heart while we were there and kept me continually entertained was plain black.  Locally called the cenote, this bird is the great tailed grackle.  Yes, it was basically the same bird that often covers my front lawn at home to which I give only passing attention!  I was so enchanted with these birds that I actually didn’t take a single picture of them. 

I enjoyed watching their personalities which were clear while they watched for a snack at the open restaurant, puffed themselves up to get the attention of a female, and their voices called to me all day long.  These otherwise plain birds represent that awesome week to me, not the showy ones.

So what colours are you?  Just as God has given different colours to different birds He has given each of us our own unique “colour.”  I don’t mean skin colour, brown, blonde, red or black hair, nor do I mean blue, brown, hazel eyes.  These things are not what give people their colour.  We get our colour from our personalities, our talents and we show them through our beliefs and our behaviours.

In September of 2007 a Grade 9 boy at Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia wore a pink polo shirt on his first day of school.  He was bullied, called gay and threatened with being beat up. Two grade 12 students took it upon themselves to rectify the situation.  They spread the word using the internet and were on hand the next day passing out 50 pink t-shirts they had purchased at a discount store for people to wear along with many who wore their own pink clothes.  These students sent a message that day that is now repeated all around North America on Pink T-Shirt Day (Feb 23 this year).  That day in 2007 these two boys showed their beautiful colour to that young man and to all of us.

Your God-given colour is there waiting to shine.  Perhaps you will join with people on Wednesday to wear pink in protest of bullying in our society.  Perhaps your colour will express itself through your donations to a charity, or through your actions to lobby for help for the marginalized people in our society.  Maybe it will be seen as you listen to a friend who needs support.  Whatever form your talent takes it will only show your colour if you put it to use.  Go ahead…show your colours!

Read more about pink t-shirt day at: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/09/18/pink-tshirts-students.html#ixzz1EMJqUUVY

Treat One Another Justly: But That Doesn’t Mean Everybody Right?


Getting Active For The Climate

Zechariah 7:10 “God-of-the-Angel Armies said then and says now: ‘Treat one another justly.  Love your neighbors.  Be compassionate with each other.  Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor.  Don’t plot and scheme against one another – that’s evil.'”

The Canadian House of Commons recently passed third reading of bill C-389 which is a bill to close loopholes in the human rights act which currently still allow people to fire people or refuse to rent apartments to people on the grounds of their being transgendered or transsexual.  On the face of this it is a great move in the direction of treating each other with justice and being compassionate with each other.  Unfortunately this bill will now head off to the Senate where it seems almost certain to fail.

When God said to treat each other justly and with compassion did he mean justice for everyone?  Maybe he just meant for people like us (insert your own definition of us here), justice only for women, justice only for men, justice for only straight people, monogamous people, for our on race, religion etc.  Surely we aren’t supposed to work for justice for criminals!

Have you ever noticed how many figures in the Bible spent time in jail.  Jails are for criminals right?  For truly bad people.  The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of time in one jail or another and from there he wrote some of the letters that have become scripture. 

Jesus had compassion on all the lowest characters in his society.  The religious leaders of the day were horrified to see him with lepers, tax collectors, and women of ill repute.  At the very end, on the cross, he was assuring the convict who was hanging beside him, an admitted felon, of his place with him in heaven.

My class were discussing the passage of the bill today and the fact that all of the MPs from our area voted against it passing.  They asked me how anyone could vote against something as basic as not being discriminated against.  I had no answer for them, but it gave me hope that they were asking at all.  I think that our kids these days are more tapped into their sense of justice and compassion than we realize.  I am certainly not saying that all kids are perfect.  There is still a lot of bullying going on in our schools and work places.  But it does give me hope that we are moving in the right direction.

For What Would You Be Granted The Order of Canada?


Today I had a chance to listen to the Rev Dr Brent Hawkes as the keynote speaker at an event called Stop The Hurt Now: Public Forum and Campaign Kickoff.  Rev Hawkes is the minister of Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, he was the minister who performed the first gay and lesbian marriages in Canada.   He has been a gay-rights activist since at least 1977 and has been made a member of the  Order of Canada, the countries highest honour.

Clearly none of the work he has done was with the intent of earning any honours.  Hopefully no one working for justice in the world is doing it for any reason other than a passion for justice.  That asside, if you were awarded the Order of Canada, or whatever honour is equivalent in your country, what would it be for?

I believe that we are all called to work towards peace and justice in our own ways.  Rev Hawkes said he felt called to ministry early on but, being gay, he went to university to become a teacher instead.  The structure and polity of our churches were such that he was not able to answer that calling.  Then he heard about the Metropolitan Community Church and his calling was once more possible.

So if we are all called to make the world better in our own ways how should we start?   Here are some possible steps to follow;

  1. Choose a cause – I think this is important although I don’t seem to be able to settle on any one issue myself.  I want justice for everyone and find my efforts and energies divided between issues such as climate change, aboriginal rights, gay rights, bullying, etc.  I am not able to explain to you how to choose.

  2. Learn about the issues involved – If you are going to be speaking out, approaching government members and potential donors you need to have facts on the issue in order to be credible.

  3. Get in contact with an organization – It is very hard to do much as an individual.  Being part of a group can provide support, safety, and expertise in any areas in which we are weak.

  4. Apply your talents to the work of the organization – Don’t try to do things that others could do better.  If you are a writer, write.  If you are good with numbers, help with finances.  If you are a musician, sing or play.

  5. Keep working – Do what you can.

  6. Get over the disapointments – There will undoubtably be times when things are not going so well.  Just like KAIROS hit a roadblock with the loss of CIDA funding,  there will be set backs to get over and that is when you need to draw together and fight harder.

  7. Feed your inspiration – Meetings like I attended today are vital for keeping at it.  When you hear the stories of those who have struggled and succeeded, and the stories of those who need our support you can return to the work renewed.

  8. Repeat items 4 – 7

Not everyone will win awards but we can look ahead to a day when people are free to be themselves without fear,  our world is no longer in iminent danger, and people everywhere have enought to eat.  The Kingdom of God will come!

The Lights Are On, Are You Home?


Thanks to Creative Commons

Ever since I was a kid I thought that houses only looked inviting or alive at night with the when the lights are on.  When my husband and I were house hunting we went to see the houses with our realtor during the day or in the early evening when we were off work, but I always made a point of going past at another time later in the evening to see the house at night.  I was looking for a house that looked warm and inviting which I could only see when the light was shining out.

I think the same is true of people. Obviously you don’t have to meet a person in the dark to know what they are like, nor do they literally have windows and lights shining out of them.  You can tell, though, when you meet a person whose light is shining out.  Rather than being able to see it you can feel it when you meet a person both filled with the spirit and letting that spirit move through them and out into the world to shine for others and show them the way.

In Matthew 5:15, Jesus speaks of this light through the metaphor of a lamp being hidden under cover. “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.”  We have good in us, hopefully we are filled with the spirit, and it would b foolish to hide that under a basket or behind a façade of any type.

It is not always comfortable to be the one shining in the room.  There are many more people under baskets in our daily travels than there are people shining.  As a result, when we are faced with a situation where we feel called to speak out against some wrong being done or injustice, we may reach for the basket to protect ourselves from potential abuse for being, “naive,” or “wimpy,” or just not fitting in.  These are the times, however, that most cry out for some light.

May your light and mine shine out to all whom we meet in the coming week!

Society goes mean. Is there still kindness out there?


Why are we so mean? 

As a teacher in the school system I hear a lot about bullying.  I work with the Gay Straight Alliance group and we do lots of  different activities to try to make our school climate better.  Theoretically we don’t allow bullying.  Having said that, it isn’t just the kids who bully, but some students bully the teachers, and there is also bullying on staff.  It is easy to lose heart!

I don’t know why I find it surprising that people seem to so enjoy making fun of others.  Look at the popular television programs.  We watch shows where people who are struggling  are not helped to succeed but ridiculed and ultimately eliminated.  Shows that are meant to be about helping people learn how to dress or decorate better start with mocking secret video footage making them look awful. People avidly watch shows about overweight people trying to lose weight, or people fighting addictions.  In theory they are for inspiration or education, but they encourage ridicule.  Even as I am typing this a show called My Deadly Appetite just started.  People in real life will actually take pictures of people so that they can laugh at them and show others to share in the joke.  Are we so insecure with ourselves that we need to put others down.

Somehow we need to turn this around.  We are much more aware of bullying now but we have we really changed?  How do we go about making people kinder?  I don’t really have any answers.  I start by being kind and hanging out with other kind people.  I do not allow unkind statements in my classroom, or at least I let it be known that it isn’t ok and respond to shut it down if it gets started. 

A good friend of mine, W. Owen Thornton was so concerned with this issue that he began The Human Kindness Project and I highly recommend his website http://www.thehumankindnessproject.com/.  His latest post is called Be Contagious: Be …Glitter

 the photo above comes from   http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/3253427257/