Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You're Invited on an Adventure

Ahoj! That is Czech for hi, but you’ll be delighted to know that is pronounced like AHOY, like a pirate, just like you hoped it would be.

As you likely know, dear ones, I’m going on an adventure this summer. As you may not know, you are invited. Several of you have asked to tag along in my suitcase and NO that is not even kind of what I meant. What a terrible thing to wish upon oneself. You do not mean that so do not even say it. A suitcase is terrible traveling conditions. You don’t want that. But you will want to join me, because this is going to be awesome.

I will be writing on this here blog throughout the summer to keep you in the loop and engaged in the journey. How exciting is it that we have words to connect us to each other and technology that lets us do that from across the world?! It is probably old fashioned how excited I am about that.

So basically, pretty please be part of this with me. You can give (one week until my deadline!), pray, read, and ask questions. I am so excited. I don’t know what to tell you to expect. When I went to Ecuador, I was able to blog every day. I can’t promise this, but I would love to do that again. I don’t know all the places I’ll go, the people I’ll meet, or the things I’ll do, but here are the basics:

What: Trip to Czech
When: May 27-August 7
Where: All over the Czech Republic. And other places
Why: To teach English. And because I know Jesus and He gave me life and I would love for the young people in Czech to be part of all that goodness. And you too, I would love to share in this lifelong adventure with you.
No RSVP necessary. But you so can. Formal RSVPs in abundance would make my day, and it's a good day, so that is significant.

Thanks for reading this. You are the best, you know that? I really appreciate you, wonderful reader.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I Love Bullies

I am an Elementary Education major, which you probably know because I don’t shut up about it 1. Because I’m passionate about it and 2. Because I don’t shut up. As you also likely know, bullying stands as one of the hot topic issues in elementary schools. Bullying is wrong and should be stopped, yes, of course. However, often, this issue becomes not anti-bullying, but anti-bully, and this is where I have a problem.

I was doing a bit of research today and watched far too many anti-bullying videos on YouTube. Far too many of them ended with the victim shaming or attacking the child who was bullying. A victim attacking the person bullying them does not stop bullying; it shifts it to a different location. If we attack bullies, verbally or physically, and not their actions, we promote bullying, and move it to a position of greater power.

This is why I love bullies:
Because they are people

Whether misunderstood sweethearts, genuinely mean, or somewhere in the middle, people who bully are people with stories and souls and favorite animals and feelings and futures. My value is not dependent on my actions and neither is the value of people who are mean. In special education, we use person first language (example: “boy with autism” instead of “autistic boy”) because the disability does not define the student. I’m a fan. Some may think it’s picky, but I think it’s a fabulous way to use language to convey meaning that is closer to what we are trying to say. Choosing words is important. I propose a similar use of language in the arena of bullying. I have seen this in practice, but far too rarely.

Let’s position our kids, not against bullies, but against bullying behavior. Let’s give kids who have been harsh towards others a second chance instead of a label. Let’s not propose “befriending the bully” as a solution of self-protection and charity. Let’s love, and encourage love from students.

Maybe this won’t make bullying go away. Maybe bullying won’t ever go away. But it gives students the freedom to not become their worst actions. I believe in believing in kids, and I love kids who bully.