Joylynn M. Jossel, is an author and songwriter, and the artistic developer for the girl group DJHK Gurls. One of her titles has been translated into Japanese and her children’s book (written under the name N. Joy) received the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor.
Where there’s a bully, there’s anger
In the past few months, addressing the issue of bullying has become high on my totem poll. Just recently I was a panelist at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio regarding bullying. My passion to bring the subject to light along with tools to help prevent bullying seemed to have come out of nowhere. But it was on that panel at Nationwide Insurance when I realized just where it all was stemming from.
In my efforts to be as transparent as possible, I dug up some issues from my past that I had buried deep within. One of those things was not only the fact that I had a standoff with a bully back in my day (Big Betty the Bully-a third grader who had been held back twice and should have been in fifth grade.), but another thing was that I, myself, had been a bully. It was at that moment that I realized that the same type of kids I tell my kids to steer clear of…I was that kid.
People will have many different opinions as to the reasons why kids bully, not only kids, as even grown-ups bully. A great deal of bullying goes on, and has gone on for years, in the work place. My personal opinion, though, is that it stems from some type of anger. I can honestly say that I grew up angry. There was domestic violence, divorce and drug use in the home and many other issues that just made me flat out angry. I expressed this anger in the form of bullying. Perhaps Big Betty the Bully was angry that she’d been held back two grades. Perhaps she had some things going on in her own household that made her angry. At the end of the day, even though I was African American and Betty was Caucasian, it was our anger that led us to become bullies.
I have two school-age children. We have the talk about bullies quite regularly. Each time we have the discussion, I’m always relieved to find that my children are not victims of bullies; not on that day anyway. But bullies are like termites. A house can look like it’s in perfectly good condition and holding up pretty well. Out of nowhere, though, it can collapse under the destruction of the termites. That’s what happens to a lot of victims of bullies.
What I learned is that even though my girls weren’t being bullied, one of their friends, my oldest daughter’s best friend as a matter of fact, was being bullied. It got so bad that she ended up having to change schools. Unfortunately, it was almost like she had a target on her, and the bullying continued. New School-new bullies.
When I saw the effect it was having on my own child, I recognized then that bulling not only affects the victim, but it affects their friends and family as well. My daughter felt helpless, like she couldn’t protect her best friend. This ultimately made my daughter feel as if she wasn’t a good friend and had failed her.
That’s when my daughters, their best friend and another neighborhood friend decided to do something about it. This summer the four girls took their message about bullying to the streets-literally. They went door-to-door sharing their message titled “Inside Voice,” which encourages kids to stand up and report bullying.
Fox News learned of the girls’ plight and did a segment on them. They got such great feedback that they invited the girls to share their message live in the studio.
Today the girls are sharing their message about bullying and other issues kids deal with in everyday life every chance they get. They perform at schools, functions, events and anywhere else they get the opportunity. This is their way of doing their part to bring awareness to the bullying epidemic.
With the bullying issue being so close to home, we definitely make it a habit to continue discussing it, as I think all parents should. But as parents we have to remember that it’s not only important that we talk to our kids to find out if they’re being bullied, we also have to make sure they are not the bully.
For more information on Joylynn M. Jossel, visit www.joylynnjossel.com or www.enjoywrites.com.
About the Silence, No More Series
The Silence, No More Series has been created to heighten public awareness of the deleterious impact of abuse and bullying on children and adults alike. Survivors, their friends, families and supporters are invited to submit testimonies at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a short bio and picture. The picture does not have to be a person’s. It can be a logo, banner, book, etc.
Stories should not be longer than 700 words and must contain clean language.
Fake names can be used to protect identities if necessary.
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Cendrine Marrouat may be contacted for potential interviews, reviews and general enquiries at email@example.com. Website: www.cendrinemarrouat.com.