Here in Australia it is March 16. That is Bullying- No Way Day.
Bullying has been around forever; we all know that. However, with the advent of social media, it seems to have achieved a far greater impact on our young people.
Perhaps it is the anonymity of the Internet that inspires people to be so vile and cruel. Kids are being made to feel worthless and unwanted even as they sit in their own homes. Every time they look at the screens of their phones, tablets, laptops, or computers they are seeing messages deliberately crafted to wound and destroy confidence.
Take a Stand
This is a scourge on our society. Nobody deserves this sort of treatment. When I read about young people taking their lives because of bullying, it breaks my heart. Another young life wasted – before it has had a chance to blossom into full potential.
This is unacceptable. We must all stand up and speak out against bullying. However much our voice shakes, we must speak out.
My contribution to speaking out comes in the form of a series of books for young readers (7-12). I call it Gummshoes because the main character’s name is Frankie Gumm. He and his best mate, Olly, have been the victims of bullying for most of their school lives. They know how it feels and, so, they set out to protect younger students from the school bullies, the Boneheads. They also solve weird and mysterious happenings at their school. They are detectives, gumshoes – but because Frankie’s name is Gumm, they have made themselves Gummshoes.
There are two books so far in the set.
Mission #1: The Nobbled Numbskull where the school’s star soccer player, who is also the chief Bonehead, is being prevented from playing. The boys set out to find the person who is sabotaging the team effort.
Mission #2: The Medal Muddle where the latest craze, MODO (Masters of Deimos One), is sweeping through Carson Road School. Everyone is collecting the cards and medals. Excitement is everywhere. But something weird is also happening. Nits, the school bully, wants to be friends with Frankie and Olly. He is actually being nice. Will Nits become a Gummshoe – or will Frankie and Olly become Boneheads
My aim in writing the books is to develop in the readers self confidence and resilience. At one point in the second book, Frankie says to himself,
“Just because they’re loud, doesn’t mean they’re stronger than you are.”
We have to teach our kids that they are loved, that they are valuable, and that they are strong enough to deal with any nasty people who may try to make them feel otherwise. Nobody has the right to make someone else feel less valued.
Each and every child deserves to be able to enjoy a life unthreatened.
Please, do not stand by and watch or allow bullying.