I like to start my stories in the middle. I spend the day scribbling notes and start to organize. The Bully Antidote starts to take shape as the last several weeks of writing begin to make sense.
I’m excited about this story. I love the idea that kids may read this and feel empowered to fight a bully using the strength that already exists within them. Kids can’t be told often enough that they can do anything.
As a kid, I wasn’t bullied. My childhood skipped along happily. Girls invited me to their sleepover parties. Friends spent Saturdays with me at the mall. Boys asked me to the dance.
That doesn’t mean I can’t recognize one. I’ve seen one pick-pick-pick on my son who stutters. I’ve seen my son’s fragile confidence crumble until I worried how we’d build it back up. I went to the school. I talked to his teacher. I refused to allow the boy to enter our house.
Ultimately, it was my son who had to find the strength to stand up. It was his battle to fight. We coached him but he was the one on the bus, on the playground, at the lunch table who had to make this end.
And he did. He learned the hard lesson that kids can be cruel. He also learned the valuable lesson that he picks his friends. If someone isn’t nice, you don’t have to play with him, I’d say. For my sensitive, sweet child, he worried walking away meant he’d be the mean one.
“No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself,” I’d say. And after a hundred times hearing it, he listened. And walked away.
That’s why I’m writing. So other kids will also know they have the power to take back control.