Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

What to do?


What to do when your child just hurts?

Day after day he’s scared, he’s afraid.

It’s daunting the power a bully exerts.

Should I take a stance and dissuade?


Dissuade all those who still believe,

Boys must be boys, there’s nothing amiss.

And girls are so harmless; it’s just so naive.

The adults at school are remiss.


Remiss in their task to protect.

Kids are at risk; as parents, we know.

When they don’t intervene, I call that neglect.

A failure of faith we bestow.


Bestow on those powers that be,

To ensure they’re safe; they’re in their care.

When we send kids to school, we want an emcee.

A person who’s fair and aware.


Aware that children are daunted,

By not knowing to whom they can turn.

We tuck them in bed, their nightmares are haunted.

But next day, to school they return.


Return to some kind of torture:

Name-calling, punches, gossip or lies.

He needs a supporter, a rule-enforcer.

Someone to help and advise.


To advise the child and me too.

Pleas for assistance fall on deaf ears.

We need some help; how can we know what to do?

Alone we can’t allay his fears.


His fears are well founded and real.

His friends are supportive but afraid.

We’re at our wits end as to whom to appeal.

Will anyone come to our aid?


Topics for Discussion:

  • To whom should a parent address their concerns? The bully? His parents? The teacher? The principal?
  • How can a parent prepare for this interview?
  • Should the children be present?
  • What realistic and enforceable expectations should the parents request?


Classroom Activities:

  • Stage a meeting between the parents of both the bully and the bullied and the principal.
  • Brainstorm how to address the conflict in a way that keeps everyone safe from retribution and opens the way for healing and reconciliation. (Discuss those terms.)
  • Extrapolate what will happen to all the players if nothing is dealt with.



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Fist punch.
Foot crunch.
Hand hit.
Mouth spit.
Eye swells.
Can’t see.
Let me be.

Rips my homework.
Steals my money.
Grabs my lunch.
Thinks it’s funny.

I won’t tell, I swear I won’t.
Please don’t do that. I said “Don’t!”

Sticks and stones may break my bones …
… but names can really hurt.

Through the doors.
Up the stairs.
Face is bloody.
No one cares.

In the washroom.
Clean up the mess.
I’ll be safe
Until … recess.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for discussion:

  • Is the bully in the poem a boy or a girl? Which type of bullying do boys engage in more frequently? And girls?
  • Everyone is familiar with the chant “Sticks and stones”. Do you agree that names can never hurt? What damage can name-calling do?
  • Bullies take advantage of an imbalance of power between themselves and the victim. Discuss why a bully hits someone and what effect it has on him/her.

Classroom Activities:

  • Brainstorm situations where an imbalance of power can lead to abuse. Put on skits to demonstrate those situations.
    Try using onomatopoeia to describe a scenario involving physical bullying.
  • Pretend you come upon the child in the washroom at the end of the poem. What advice and/or assistance could you offer?
  • Draw an abstract picture which depicts fear.

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A Friend

Never underestimate the value of a friend.
Someone who is loyal, on whom you can depend.
You might not always play with them. They play with others too.
But when the chips are really down, they’re always there for you.

I once had such a friend. She was a most amazing person.
Her hair was red and wavy and her name was Gwen MacPherson.
Until that point in early life, I didn’t comprehend,
That life is nicer, safer when you share it with a friend.

You see there was this other girl who caused me great distress.
She told such lies about me that my life was one big mess.
Her whispers and her nasty gibes had long begun to haunt me.
Then other boys and girls joined in. They too began to taunt me.

It seemed no one would help me and I felt so all alone.
The outdoor playground had become a dreaded combat-zone.
And then one fateful day while hearing jokes at my expense,
Gwen MacPherson jumped right in and came to my defense.

It wasn’t what she said that day or even how she said it.
It took a lot of guts, for which I’ll always give her credit.
The others looked so very stunned and soon they crept away.
My own relief was more than words can possibly convey.

With Gwen as my own buffer, I felt much more empowered.
The girl who used to bug me had become a nervous coward.
Gwen and I would stroll around, while walking arm in arm.
The other girl was puzzled and would flee us in alarm.

I’d been in such an awful funk and given up all hope.
Then Gwen became my trusted friend and showed me how to cope.
So never underestimate the power of a friend.
Someone who is loyal, on whom you can depend.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics For Discussion:

  • The narrator refers to her friend as a “buffer”. What does that mean? In what other ways might a friend be helpful in avoiding or coping with bullying incidents?
  • The bully in this poem succeeded in recruiting other children to join in her nasty game. What would have happened if everyone had refused to join in? Do onlookers have any power over the way a bullying event unfolds? Do they have any responsibilities?

Classroom activities:

  • Think of a time when you felt all alone and afraid. Using a simile or metaphor describe what that felt like. Example: Being alone and afraid feels like a cold, damp day. Being alone and afraid tastes and looks like an empty desert. Being alone and afraid is like having a mouthful of hot chili peppers.
  • As a class, brainstorm qualities that make up a good friend. Individually, identify which qualities you possess and which ones you need to work at.
  • Draw a picture about a time when someone stood up for you. If you can’t think of an example, make one up.

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