Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pink Shirt Day - Anti-Bullying

‎"They say high school days are the
best years of your life.
Well, if they are the best,
I hate to see the worst."
My daughter quoted these words
from my poem on my blog.
We all had our pink shirts on today, did you? As you may know, Pink Shirt Day came to be due to a group of students in Nova Scotia who in 2007 stood up for a boy who was beaten and bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. That's it, that's all he did... he wore a pink shirt. Then several students decided enough! Bullying is something we are told every day in school is wrong, we are told there is zero tolerance for it, but here we go, it happened, yet again. Pretty amazing kids! This campaign is now international and although there are other anti-bullying days, it is now simply knows as "Pink Shirt Day".

Funny, I never saw a notice, email, posting or website update from the school that they were recognizing this day in anyway. However, about a month ago I saw an ad to buy your kids Pink Shirt Day shirts at a low price and the profits would be donated to the Boys and Girls club, so I figured this was a no brainer, either way it was positive. I ordered two, one for each of the girls - and they wore them today. Having said this, I did post on the school Facebook page last night a reminder about anti-bullying day and the link to why we have Pink Shirt Day and did begin to see comments and references to it, so maybe I just missed it being advertised?

All day long I have seen posts, banners, icons, ads and comments about anti-bullying. My hope is that people remember this day, these emotions, their thoughts and feelings for longer than just one day. I hope that they reflect on whether they have been bullies in their lives or if they have been bullied how they managed to move on past it. Even as adults people try to bully us. Just recently someone has been trying that with me, I am more mature now, I know a bully when I see it and rather than involve myself in their petty behaviour, I remove myself from them. I have integrity, I have grown strong and I have built a reputation I believe I can stand behind, so, BULLY! BE GONE! 

About a year ago I wrote a poem that expressed my personal experiences with bullying. The poem was specific to a time - one year, grade 8, when I went through some of the most awful, painful times that burned into my psyche and changed who I was as a person. I continued to be a victim after that. Perhaps if I had not suffered in that way, I would have made choices later in life that would have seen my history and others be much different. Well, I can't change what happened or how I felt but I can try to advocate on the behalf of my girls and those who I see being bullied today. I realize I have not been completely successful, since about a month ago my oldest child posted on an anti-bullying site her heart breaking struggle. 

When my daughter was 14 she was having a difficult enough time, but she really couldn't take being in high school anymore when she arrived at school one day to find that the quiet, lonely boy, in her class had hung himself to death in his bedroom the day before. After moving schools to avoid bullies and racism, he couldn't live another day. He couldn't go on. She tells me he was sweet, she didn't really talk to him much but she was in her own shell at the time, now she lives with that guilt, maybe, if she had talked to him he would be here. We can never know. She wasn't mean to him, she didn't bully him, she smiled at him... I am pretty certain he would carry no ill will toward her, but she didn't want to be a statistic as sad as she was about this unnecessary death. This incident made a life long impact on my daughter.

Remember, when you see someone who is alone, shy, sad, depressed, angry, withdrawn, has a negative attitude or is just not someone you are initially drawn to... maybe there is a reason. Maybe they have a terrible home life, have no one to love them, have been abused, lost someone they loved or maybe, they are bullied and have to have some sort of defense mechanism to cope. Maybe showing up that day, being where you saw them, took a lot more effort than you ever thought. Maybe, that day, they decided they would give being alive yet another chance and not choose today to kill themselves. Maybe, being kinder, seeing past their isolation and including them - maybe that is all they need to allow themselves to live another day.

I don't want to lecture, I feel like I am... I am just so passionate about this and don't want any child to feel alone and lost and hurt and sad... I am going to leave you with a video that I watched last night. If you can take another 7.5 minutes to watch this, I am sure you will be moved. There are many links in my posting today, there is just too much to say on this topic. If nothing else, today, I hope everyone took a minute to think about their actions in their lives and the impact it has on others.

Please, make every day Pink Shirt Day and don't bully others!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Have you heard the one? About the dog and the goat?

Luki and Freya waiting for me to cuddle
Imagine the look on my face today as I drove home from work, during the latest snow fall and about a 1/8 mile from my house, who approaches me, going for a jog, but my dog, followed by my goat? Yes, they decided to go to the lake for the day apparently the pasture was no longer enticing to them. Maybe they thought they would try ice fishing?

We have had a LOT of snow in the past month and it has risen, melted, disappeared and reappeared once again. A week ago my beloved left for Toronto and I have been in charge of the menagerie of creatures in the barnyard. While he was away we have had several heavy snow falls which I have diligently shoveled  a few times a day, hauled wood in as required, fed the chickens, collected eggs and attempted to keep my goat Miss Freya and my dog Luki happy in their habitat. 

It has been a lot of work on my own, but rewarding, fun and the physical work has felt good too. I am glad Len got to go see his family but I am also really glad he is coming home... especially since I have AWOL animals. The kids have had two snow days and I have spent the other two days working, so not much time off for me. 
At least the chickens behaved while Len was away!
I was driving up the road toward my house and had just passed Sandy Beach Lane when coming down the hill, sauntering with his swagger, was my boy Luki... as if this was not shocking enough Freya was coming behind him casually swinging her head checking out the view. It's a good thing I wasn't chewing anything because I would have choked on it!

Freya peeking out of the barn...
I slowed down, almost to a stop and opened my drivers door, half hanging out I called "Hey Luki! Come on boy! Come see mama!" He toddled on over with a big "smile" on his face like "Hey ma! S'up?" Freya was right behind him and of course she doesn't want to miss out on anything, so here they both are, half way into the truck with me... I let my foot off the brake and began to move slowly forward as they both followed me and trotted alongside, me continually talking and encouraging them to come with me. 

As I laughed and talked to them and inched forward I was really hoping that one of those big ass logging trucks did not come flying around the bend... or we would be having goat ala dog ala mama for supper. (Would that make me a shepherd's pie?) I was worried they might not stay with me and wander off, but they seemed very happy to join me up the hill and into the driveway. (Apparently they had already spent the day sightseeing in the neighbourhood.)

Freya sneaking Luki's food
I had just got out of the truck when Rachel pulled in behind me, with a wide opened mouth and tongue hanging out, she just said "I TOLD YOU SO!" and helped me keep them nearby. (She had been very upset about the fence line but there was really nothing I could do to fix it.) I opened the back of the truck very grateful that I had just picked up hay and so was Freya, she just stood up and started eating, I knew she wasn't headed anywhere for awhile. Luki stayed close since I had some bacon fat in my hand and that was all he needed for motivation. 

I flagged down a neighbour driving by, I was going to need his help to herd the dog and goat through the barn to the second barn and lock them up early for the night. He was very cooperative and  informed me that they had been loose since about 10am when he saw Luki running down the road earlier. You see, with all of the snow and the plows and the kind neighbours who plowed when I wasn't home, we no longer had a fence line. The snow had almost completely buried the fence on both sides and my animals simply had to walk over.

Now, what to do? Len isn't home until tomorrow night and I am going to have to keep the poor things in the barn until we either find a way to dig out the fence OR tether them... Oh well, how many times in your life can you say "Did you hear the one about the goat and the dog? They were walking down the street and ..."

This was a picture of the fence last Sunday, you can no longer even see the fence.
This is Luki out for his walk-a-bout at the neighbours up the road