Tag Archive: behavior


Are you the bully or the bullied?

I know this topic has been big in the news lately. A father got on a bus to confront his child’s bully. A college kid committed suicide after being outed in the internet. Then a few more of these were reported.

I started seeing postings on this topic everywhere. I saw an excellent essay on this topic at They Call Me Jane. I watched the Ellen clip, read the Newsweek article about Phoebe Prince.

Book Cover from Barnes and Noble.com

Book Cover from Barnes and Noble.com

But before any of those events I had been reading 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It was a book chosen by my book group set in New Hampshire before, during and after a school shooting. The culprit is a 17-year-old boy who has been bullied since the moment he stepped on the school bus for kindergarten.

The situation doesn’t end, ever. Not when his parents try to bolster him, not when he develops one friend and another deserts him. He is the object the ‘cool’ kids choose to grind down into nothingness. Until one day he strikes back in the most terrifying way possible.

Our point of view comes from his mother, his former best friend, her mother and him. Occasionally, we hear from his brother,  father and a detective on the case as well as the lawyer for the boy.  For me, the most heartbreaking was that of his mother. She saw the problems but never did enough. It wasn’t until the event was over that she began to understand how bad it was and that even their own home was not welcoming to him.

I cried for a week after reading this book. I wondered if my kids went through or go through this stuff now. Why do I send them to school? Would I sit back and ‘let’ it happen to this degree?

You would think that once kids get to college that life would get better. But we have seen news stories that tell the truth. People still need to be bullies no matter how old they are. Worse yet, it can go viral with no place to hide.

What really bothered me most was the story in Newsweek that seemed to give the opinion that it is wrong to punish the bullies, especially in cases where the victim commits suicide. After all, the kids we are punishing are ‘good kids.’ They are smart, privileged and going to college. These will be future leaders.

I used to work for an adult bully; I worked for several. And I am willing to bet all of these people acted the same in high school and college. They were happy to pick on anyone who was different from them, be it talent or emotional sensitivity or sexual orientation.

I do not want these type of people to be leaders. Didn’t we see enough of this behavior during the Karl Rove era? This is a man who crafted political campaigns that called opponents who were military veterans, including a Vietnam prison camp prison survivor, unpatriotic and won those contests. This is a man who secretly outed a CIA operative to columnist Robert Novak because her husband dared speak out against President Bush and his policies.

Bullies do not stop being bullies just because they grow up and pretend to mature. They just use their tactics on the playing field to which they propel themselves. In some ways, high school never ends. Never!

So while I wring my hands and wonder what I would do, I applaud those parents who do something. I applaud that dad who got on the bus and had his special needs child identify her bullies. He lectured and yelled. He let those kids know that their behavior is stupid and hurtful and NOT OK.

I applaud a mother who posted on the Newsweek article about how she took it to the principal, then the superintendent and then the school board when her daughter was bullied and it would not stop. She kept a log and noted every phone call and every bullying incident. Finally, she sued the school district to get the bullying to stop. Her daughter called her a warrior mom.

The sad part about all of this is that after Columbine, we all vowed to stop bully behavior. Rules and laws were put in to place. Life was going to be better, we were going to find a Nirvana where peaceful co-existence would be the law of the land.

I am still waiting for that to happen. And if I want that to happen, I guess in my corner of the world, I have to make it happen.

I did it. The button was there and I did it.

Picture by Doctor Bob

Just the other week, I was tempted to click on that button to tell me how to lose belly fat quickly and effortlessly.

Another promised to tell me the three foods that makes a belly grow instead of shrink. And in the tile was a beautiful plate of corn-on-the-cob.  So I did it. I directed my cursor over and clicked on it.

Bah!!! Just another 30 minutes of listening to a guy talk about his great program without giving away any details. No wait, I am wrong. He did give me the detail that his program was on sale for $39.99 and then I could find out how to turn my body into a fat-burning furnace.

There is no need for special foods or a diet or exercise. My body would lose weight once I knew the secret – his secret – to create a new me. And he talked about how all those other ‘diet’ plans only succeeded in stealing my money.

Like he isn’t trying to do the same thing with his phony little script.

I wonder if that plan works as well as the one that siphons off the fat because it cleanses your colon. Working with the acai berry, the colon cleanser performs miracles. I didn’t buy that one either. But someone else did who tried to have “The Fixer” from the Chicago Sun-Times get her money back. All she got was inches of paperwork telling her no refund was in sight.

In my quest to take inches off of my belly, I have searched articles for little tips and foods that could help in my quest. I have read many interesting but non-research based lists telling me and the world how to get rid of the bulge that makes me look as if I am pregnant when I am not.

And I do follow a couple of those crazy tips. I drink a 16 oz. bottle of cold water first thing in the morning. I found it in an article about getting a six-pack in a men’s magazine. The excuse may have that the body has to work hard to convert the cold water to body temperature.

What it does for me is to maintain a good amount of water going through and making sure I reach my goal of 64 oz per day.

Picture by Jeltovski

The other weird thing I do is … eat fresh fruits, 6 oz. of  yogurt and try for wheat bread whenever possible. That’s right, I am trying to eat healthy foods that are designed to naturally clean out the body.

 I am practicing moderation – not a gobblefest – everyday. After reading stories of people who lost the weight and kept it off I have come to realize it takes effort and will power to lose the weight.

Or – in the words of Julie Haddon – Eat Less and Move More.

There is no other explanation for the three inches I have recently lost from my tummy. There is no shakes or potions or whey powder in my diet. I can see my feet again. My measurements are now 37-43-43 which is on the good side. They used to be 40-48-45.

At some point I began reading stories about the connection between big bellies and diabetes and/or heart problems. One article stated your belly should measure no more than half your height.

That meant I needed to be nearly eight feet tall in order for my tummy fat to fit my body. At this point I need to find my way to just over seven feet of

Picture from realsimple.com

height. Sadly, I am no longer in the growing up stage of life. But the good news is after seeing those five inches disappear, three of them in the last few months,  I only need eight more to do likewise.

After my morning walk, please pass the fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt!

Looking at today’s news makes me sad.

 Shirley Sherrod tells a story on how she overcame her own personal biases at an NAACP meeting. But a conservative website allegedly receives an edited

Picture by Wcizmowski

version of the tape and makes the woman sound like a big racist working in the department that is to help all farmers. This is posted on their blog for all the world to see.

 Once the tape gets out Sherrod is  fired from her job, being forced to write her resignation on the side of the road on her blackberry. The NAACP talks about how they were duped by this conservative website. The news outlets ran with this story until someone did some digging and found the rest of the tape showing Sherrod’s complete story.

 It makes me wonder why Sherrod did not get a chance to show the whole tape to her bosses. It makes me wonder why no one did solid research on the story before running it. It makes me wonder why the NAACP talks about being snookered when they held the original piece of tape?

Picture by Side Show Mom

Are we in a climate so toxic that one must jump before digging out the rest of the story? Have reporters, the NAACP and white house staffers forgotten how to do solid research before rushing to judgment? Apparently!

 Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart admitted that even he did not see the whole tape until this week. His point was to show hypocritical behavior in the NAACP and all he used was the small piece of the presentation he had been given. So that is what he posted, this little snippet that shows a woman reporting her biased behavior. He did not even bother to do full and complete research. Otherwise, he would have seen the end of the story, the redemption of a woman’s soul.

 According to Breitbart is not his fault that this woman’s career is defamed, she was not the intended target of the clip. It is not his fault that others jumped to conclusions and rushed her to file a resignation. He was simply presenting proof that the NAACP is hypocritical in stating that the tea party is racist. But his actions did all of this to Sherrod; his faulty actions that happened without the proper research.

 Perhaps this will lead to a defamation suit by Sherrod or, better yet, new standards to be placed at news organizations, political offices and various organizations. That’s right, dig deeper into the subject before making public statements, firing an employee or releasing a video on your blog.

 Otherwise, those idiots who want chaos in the system win. Otherwise, people who claim to do fair and balanced news reporting can go on reporting the news from their bias.

 Perhaps that crazy thing the liberal media does of showing both sides of a story is not so crazy after all. And had it been done in the first place, maybe Shirley Sherrod would still have a job.

What’s With Kate Hate?

I am not sure what it is about Kate Gosselin but she seems to polarize people. I find websites that hate her and others that adore her. The supermarket newspaper rags constantly harp on her bad diva behavior.

 This is a woman who has eight kids, is doing it all with some help and seems to really like it. She appears to be the mom all of us wish we could be by being the über organized mom who keeps it going. There is a lot to be admired there.

 Kate with her current weave and Kate with the old back fan hair-don'tLet me be honest here. I am not a big fan of hers. Ever since I saw the diva act on Dancing With The Stars, I am more inclined to dislike her than like. But being the nosy parker that I am, I started looking up info on her and her former husband, Jon. I wanted to find out more about both of them before making any final decisions.

 Neither Gosselin is looking so hot. Kate’s brother Kevin has testified against her in recent child labor law hearings; he and his wife, Jodie, have done interviews stating that there are two different Kates and that she knew the marriage was over six months before announcement of the divorce.

 There are accusations of infidelity on both parts and Jon allegedly being forced to sign a contract telling him when to show up to be the “family man.” Jon has not helped his case by openly dating a slew of women. Nor can anyone say if he is working or not. However, there is another ‘story’ that at some point Kate forced him to quit working to take care of the kids while she went on book tours for earlier books she had written.

 More on the anti-Kate side? Remember when she had the greater than great kitchen remodeled (allegedly gratis) to be greater-than-greater-than-great? How about the renewal of vows? And how does anyone have the energy to write books when you have eight kids?

 There is a part of me that wants to look behind the curtain and see what is really going on. That renewal of vows might have been a last-ditch effort to save a dying marriage but now it just feels wrong. Her constant harping on Jon is bound to find itself turning to the kids. After all, she is about to enter the pre-teen years with the twins and my experience found the hormones go crazy. Plus the trappings of celebrity – the free stuff that show up on your doorstep – can be pretty nice and change a person.

 At best, Kate is taking advantage of the current interest in her life to make enough bucks to last for years to come. Celebrity only lasts so long and you have to do whatever you can during that short time period. I can understand and admire that aspect. As a nurse, Kate is not going to make the same amount of money.

 At worst, Kate is taking total advantage of all those kids so that people will look at her and say what a great mother she is. I might even call it a mild case of Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy in which a care giver makes their child sick in order to get attention. Kate doesn’t have to get the kids sick. Just having eight children appears to be enough to garner all of the attention one would need or want.

 So is she deserving of all of this hate?

 I am not so sure. She has made some bad choices (that earlier hairstyle) in the past but is trying to redefine her place in the world after a very public divorce. It appears she has made enough enemies that people are willing to talk badly about her. If her biggest crime right now is taking high-profile jobs that earn enough to support her family and pretending to be the best mom ever, it is not enough of a reason for me to hate her.

 Should she ever come out and say she never wanted all these children in the first place, then I would have to change my mind.

 Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.

Last week no one could take a bath at our house, only the shower was usable. It was not due to a plumbing problem. No siree. This time the boys were conducting an experiment. To explain it let me go back to the beginning.

There are days when I give in to simple bribery to keep the kids from acting out at stores when we have to run errands. It was a Saturday, maybe a Friday, and I wanted to go in three stores. I wanted no outbursts, no statements of “I’m bored,” no broken merchandise that would make money disappear from my wallet.

So I said the words “if you guys behave I will get you a special treat.” There was joy in the blue minivan. Three kids, aged 13 years and under, were contemplating what that treat might be. Dairy Queen has re-opened for the season, McDonald’s was not too far away, one of the stops was the grocery store and that could include Oreo’s.

The first stop in the resale shop, picking up clothing I had put on hold the day before, went well. The second stop in the dollar store to pick up three dinner plates with roosters painted on them went even better so we headed to the toy section and I said everyone gets one thing.

There the boys found Giant Foam Growing Figures by Rand! These things claimed they would grow several times their size if placed in water. What is even better is that they are in shapes of The Amazing Spider-Man villains. David and Sam could choose from Rhino, Lizard and Venom.

Better yet they would become huge if left in water for four days.

As soon as we got home the tub was filled up to two inches and the toys sank to the bottom. This particular faucet has a drip and with the stopper in, the tub slowly filled up over the course of four days.

Everyday we checked the creatures. “Are they getting bigger,” I asked. “Oh, yes,” was the enthusiastic answer. The boys had saved to original packaging and determined that the Growing Figures had indeed grown.

While in the water these things never got soft, they continued to be a harder texture. The colors seemed to get a bit grayer but the facial features remained recognizable.

Now Lizard and Venom are out of the tub and I have not seen them since. It was a good experiment while it lasted but I believe Sam is glad to have his bathtub back.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.