An Apple A Day Can Keep A Bully Away

An Apple A Day Can Keep A Bully Away

A valuable lesson in empathy and the power of words.
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For many school children, bullying is a cruel reality. I would venture that most of our generation have been victims of bullying.

A major responsibility of teachers who work with children, in addition to teaching their students academic lessons, is teaching their students interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills for children range from speaking clearly in order to express their needs to responding calmly when denied their wants. We want children who are smart, but we want children who know also how to share and play well with one other.

In the summer school program where I work, we designate potty words that no one may use, especially in reference to another student. Just this morning, a student got angry and used a potty word against another student, calling the student “stupid.” As I moved to intervene, another student came over to remind everyone that “stupid” is a potty word. At three and four years of age, these children already know what they should and should not say to one another.

Bullying changes as we grow older, with bullying in elementary school differing significantly from bullying in middle and high school. Elementary school is mostly physical and verbal, but middle school and high school is emotional and silent. With technology that allows people to say anonymously whatever they want, bullying can be hard to stop and even harder detect.

The Huffington Post published an amazing article about a teacher who used apples to explain to her students the hidden, harmful effects of bullying. Teaching for the company Relax Kids, Rosie Dutton turned on the metaphorical lightbulbs in her students' heads with her lessons for ten- to eleven-year-olds in empathy. Her lesson offers a basis for enlightening future generations to the unseen consequences of bullying.

Dutton used apples as visual representations of people. She started with an apple she had repeatedly dropped to the floor but showed no visible damage. Dutton stated her dislike for this apple, insulted it, and then passed it around for her students to do the same.

Then Dutton showed them another apple, one she had not dropped. She praised its lovely color and its perfect stem length and passed the apple around and for her students to praise it too.

Comparing the apples, her students concluded they were the same. Dutton shocked her students when she cut open the apples and showed them the mushy and bruised inside of the insulted apple. Then the lightbulbs went off.

We grow up believing “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” but that could not be further from the truth. Shown the bruised apple, Dutton's students started to relate their own experiences to it. Dutton explained how it taught them the power of their words and the effects of bullying:

Unlike an apple, we have the ability to stop this from happening. We can teach children that it’s not OK to say unkind things to each other and discuss how it makes others feel. ~ Rosie Dutton

This lesson on empathy opened these students’ minds, and I hope more teachers will use this lesson as a basis for their own lessons on empathy and the effects of bullying. Often, children do not know the power of their own words until they are much older, but with a lesson so visual and intuitive, perhaps they will start to understand early that words can hurt.

Cover Image Credit: http://bit.ly/29lbgRM

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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5 Tips To Help You Feel Better If You're Sick

A few helpful tips if there's a bug going around.

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Not to brag, but I don't get sick very often, maybe once a year. When I do find myself a little under the weather, there's a few things I like to do for a faster recovery. I have no idea if any of these are 100% accurate, but I'd like to think they do. None of these will immediately make you feel better, but they'll help quicken the process.

Drink lots of water.

This one is a no-brainer, but it can be hard to do sometimes. I know when I'm sick, I definitely don't think about it. Water can help flush toxins out of your body, makes you hydrated, and can help you feel more awake and energized! If you're not a huge water drinker like I am, Tea also helps.

Stay home.

If you're sick, it's honestly better if you just take a day off and focus on feeling better. If you're worried about going to school or work, it's better that you don't spread anything. Let me just say, I'm fairly certain the last time I caught something was because someone behind me in a class was coughing through the entire lecture.

Rest.

This one goes with the last point, but sleeping will help your immune system fight off any infections. It's good to take some time off and get any extra sleep you can.

Clean everything.

I like to wash all of my clothes and bed sheet, because they're what I wear and touch the most, especially my pillow cases. This will help get rid of some germs and stop them from spreading. It's also good to disinfect anything you touch often, like doorknobs and table surfaces.

Take medicine.

This one also sounds like a no brainer, but seriously if you expect to feel better soon you should be taking some sort of medicine. At the very least, it'll help with your symptoms, so you're not couching or sneezing every couple minutes.

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