Five Facts for Friday {1-24-14}

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1. I have jury duty next week, which I hope will be very Law and Order-ish.
2. Congratulations to my wonderful in-laws, Barbara and Win Wetherbee, who recently celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary! Truly an example of how commitment, love, friendship, and lots of laughs fuel a lasting marriage.
3. You are probably surprised to know I was not chosen to be the Brown’s head coach. I am hoping to be their hospitality coordinator. However, I will require a headset. It’s in my contract.
4. Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
5. Both of my kids have recently demonstrated grace and resilience, qualities I admire so much. What qualities do you admire in your kids, family or friends?
Happy Friday, friends…stay cozy and warm!
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The Elephant in the Room: How Kids Learn to Bully

Recently, I attended a school meeting to discuss progress and create plans for an energetic, kind, insightful fourth grader.

The teachers, school counselor, parents and principal intently discussed accommodations that would help this student stay organized and on task. The conversation flowed naturally into the child’s needs during non-classroom portions of the day, such as recess, lunch and bus rides. Reluctantly, bravely, the parents began to share the difficulty their child was experiencing during these unstructured periods of time.

Tears flowed. Anger surfaced.

The team refocused the discussion on what one researcher calls “a pervasive public health problem.”

Bullying.

The parents described specific examples of social aggression…exclusion, rumor-spreading, teasing. The staff listened intently, and somewhat incredulously. “We had no idea this was going on…” And that is understandable. Bullying can be incredibly subtle–even silent–and quite easy to miss.

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As the team discussed a plan to address this issue, a team member ruefully asked, “Where do they learn this?”

At that moment, a glossy magazine on the corner of the table caught my eye:

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And then I knew the answer.

While this Time cover may be construed as clever, it has been perceived as insulting, unkind and just plain mean. Bullying.

Most kids don’t need to have a subscription of Time to learn the subtle tactics of social aggression…they have adults in their schools, churches and neighborhoods that will model mastery for them in real life.

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Think about the kinds of things they hear…

“Did you see the Halloween costumes Alice made for her kids? Sheesh. Talk about elaborate. She’s clearly got too much time on her hands…”

“Hey…thanks for inviting us to your timeshare for spring break. It’s going to be SO much fun. Are the Donaldsons and Hansons coming, too? All our kids are going to have a great time on the beach…” (said in front of those who were not included)

“Have you noticed the Margaret’s kids? They are OUT of control. Wow. I heard the police took the oldest in for drug possession. Margaret’s really got her hands full. Bless her heart.”

“Hey, I want you to pray for Marty. He just can’t seem to keep a job…he got fired AGAIN! But I’m telling you so you’ll pray for them. It’s not gossip.”

We’re the Elephant in the Room.
I am.
You are.

And our little elephants are watching and listening…
And everyone knows…elephants remember everything.

Photo credits: eonline; images.smh;mycolormusic.

Someone I Know

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Someone I know had an abortion.

She is a loyal friend, a devoted wife, and a mom to some fabulous kids.  I admire her candor and communication skills, and uncanny ability to lead with love.

Someone I know has depression.

She’s honest and insightful…the kind of friend who will help you understand yourself. She’s extremely accomplished…recognized by her peers as an expert. She’s a seeker of justice and an avid reader.

Someone I know is gay.

He’s the sort of friend who would travel miles out of his way if you needed help. He’s creative and wickedly funny. He remembers details about his friends and follows up on their worries. And he loves Jesus.

Someone I know has alcoholism.

She anticipates her friends’ needs and celebrates their accomplishments. She is generous and industrious, with an easy laugh and a flexible, animated disposition.

Someone I know is obese.

He is gifted in his work, and is a leader at church. He’s respected by colleagues and beloved by friends. He’s a dad who adores his children and grandchildren, and a remarkable entrepreneur.

Someone I know has anxiety.

She loves to write, give dinner parties and spend time with her family. She tries hard to help others, and thinks that the very  best place on earth is HOME.
{you know her, too. She is ME.}

And every time someone tells me to “trust God” and “be anxious for nothing,” it makes me feel sad.
Guilty.
Less than.
Not good enough.

But then I remember...I AM good enough. I am a child of the King.

Just like all of the folks I described today…
Folks I love, and who love me, not because I’m worthy, but just because I’m me.

So, please remember, as you enter into the conversations of the day, listening to the  rhetoric, speaking your mind…please remember to speak the truth in love.

Because YOU know someone, too.