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Are We Raising Bullies and Wimps?

A Tennessee middle-schooler, Keaton Jones, was on a video where he lamented about being bullied at school. The video pulled at our hearts as he asked, in a cracked voice, why some kids are bullies. Keaton stated that he was teased because of his looks and for being different.

Keaton is not alone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that twenty-eight percent of students in grades 6 – 12 have been bullied at some point. Looking at just cyberbullying, the number of those bullied went from 18% in 2007 to 34% in 2016. The increase in suicides by those tormented has increased so much we added a new word for it: bullycide; a combination of bully and suicide.

A bully is a person who is habitually cruel to smaller or weaker people. There are several actions that a bully uses: name calling, making fun of, pushing, spitting and stealing, along with excluding them from activities or groups. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, loss of eating and sleeping, a drop in their grades and less interest in activities, to name a few. Being bullied can have a negative effect that will stay with children, even when they become adults.

There are also effects that bullies carry with them as adults. Kids who torment others are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, drop out of school, abuse drugs and alcohol, have poor relationships and have criminal convictions. Whether a child is the bully or being bullied, there is a lasting negative effect that can be played out when they are adults.

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Manipulating Language

When people talk with each other today it’s common not to say what we mean. That’s not such an unheard of idea.

Honey, do these jeans make me look fat?
No.
[It’s your butt that makes your jeans look fat but I can’t say that.]

Would you like to go out again?
Yes.
[He never heard from her again.]

He’s a really great worker.
[I’m glad he’s out of my department. He wasn’t a good employee.]

It’s easier to say what we think someone wants to hear instead of saying what we actually mean. We hope to avoid hurting another person or the confrontation that might ensue. We answer by the painless way out. We want to get our way so we gloss over the truth. These are common practices in our communication and it’s considered acceptable. It’s delivering a message by using words that hide our true thoughts.

That is one way to use language to our benefit. Another way is by changing definitions of words in order to con others. People use the new definitions to deceive you and you don’t know it. It has been happening for years yet most people aren’t aware of it.

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Sexual Harassment Has Two Sides

Sexual harassment at work is a huge topic right now. The outcry of women fills the news even more than the bashing of President Trump. Women are screaming about men inappropriately touching, speaking, or wanting sexual activity from them.  This is not a new issue; it’s one that has come to the forefront.

A lot of women who are employed outside the home have been sexually harassed at work.  Whether he’s her boss or someone she works alongside, women deal with uncomfortable and sleazy advances.  It happens in every industry. Undoubtedly, the thought of losing her job crosses her mind.

When the advances come from a boss, women have to think what it will do to her career. Will she get passed over for a promotion, receive a poor review, or lose her job. Advances from a co-worker cause a woman to worry that others will hear about it, ruining her reputation, or separating her from the team.

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“Who’s Changing the Meaning” Wins Honorable Mention

‘Who’s Changing the Meaning?’ Wins  Honorable Mention in Coveted 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Award

My book, “Who’s Changing the Meaning?” won Honorable Mention in the coveted 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The Royal Dragonfly is the source for librarians and teachers. Categories in which the book earned Honorable Mention are:

Best Newbie NonFiction

Best Cover Design – Thanks to my daughter Kelsey who designed the cover!

Here is the News Release:

 2017 ROYAL DRAGONFLY BOOK AWARDS

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They Think You Are Saying Something Else

Since Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the definitions of words have changed. We expect that to happen as we invent new things, as slang words are created, and to keep up with the times. Consequently, new words are needed to name them.

Adding words for these reasons is understandable. Changing definitions of words is difficult to grasp. In Webster’s first dictionary the word “definition” is described as “a brief description of a thing by its properties; the explication of the essence of a thing by its kind and difference.” The definition represents the core of what a word is. To create his dictionary, Webster looked at 26 dictionaries in different languages to determine the origin of each word. His goal was to capture the essence of the word.

Yet definitions are changing from what we thought a word meant. “Truth” went from an “indisputable fact” to an “accepted fact.” What was once the real state of things is now whatever people will allow. “Reality” used to mean “fact” and now means “a resemblance to being real.” No longer does it mean what actually happened. Reality is what anyone wants it to be. The word “Lie” means “to make an untrue statement.” If what is true is what we allow and what happened is somewhat similar to what actually happened, isn’t that a lie? [I use the word lie since the words fake and phony aren’t in Webster’s dictionary.] Continue reading “They Think You Are Saying Something Else”

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The Office of the President of the United States

The President of the United States is a powerful and highly respected position. It is the office that makes it so, not the man. There are specific protocols that go with the office. We stand when the President enters the room, we address him in specific ways, we surround him with security and there are special honors and courtesies we extend to him. All these are done because of the position. Men will come and go, but the office will remain the same. We honor the Presidency, which is why we have these formalities.

Then why is there still upheaval about our current President, Donald Trump? Like it or not he is our president. Every election some people will have their choice elected and some won’t. It can be upsetting if your candidate doesn’t win. It’s not uncommon for people to voice their opposition right after the election. It happened with Mr. Barack Obama, and it’s happening to President Trump. What’s puzzling is that a year later Americans are still harassing President Trump. Why?

It’s not good enough to say that your candidate didn’t win. No one would be upset about that this long after the election. If people are still upset then why is that? A fire goes out after a while unless something is fueling it.

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Customers Are Always Right – Not Anymore

Your goal as a business owner is to serve your customer. You want to take care of them so they will return. To make that happen, you give them special services or pricing.  The idea is to turn the customer into a repeat buyer instead of a one-time shopper.

This mentality doesn’t work today. The consumer is not the person you have catered to in the past. You are now a supplier to purchasers who have a “me” attitude, wanting to tell you what the deal will be. You can give away the farm, but it won’t be good enough.

The behavior of our society has altered from what it was even ten years ago. People make judgments on others without knowing anything about them. Verbal attackers interpret what they think the speaker means. They translate what is spoken by their own definitions without even knowing the person, and the problem is escalating.

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What Exactly is This About?

Confederate statues have been the topic of a recent controversy. A riot broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia in an effort to preserve a Confederate Statue of General Robert E. Lee. Another statue of Lee was taken down in Dallas, Texas. Now the move is to change the schools and churches that have been named after Confederate men. Why and how this was started is unknown. That’s a clue. We have to ask, what sparked this and what the real intent behind it is.

What’s behind this battle? Is it white supremacy, racism, or slavery, like the media promotes. Instead of looking at it from what the media tells us or what we hear a few people sound off on (who those people are, we don’t even know), the focus should be to dig deeper and find what else it could be about.

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