When we think of changing a big problem in our world, like bullying, we think it is going to take something BIG. How often we forget that change can be a ripple affect, and start with a tiny pebble. A tiny pebble in the form of a seven-year-old girl. Allow me to introduce you to Katie Goldman.
Like most children her age, Katie is vibrant and energetic. She hates her glasses and the patch she has to wear (I remember when we had to patch Fluffyhead Diva - so difficult!). She LOVES Star Wars. Red thinks she's awesome. She had picked out her backpack, lunchbox and water bottle in a Star Wars theme for school. Recently, boys in her class started teasing her because Star Wars isn't a girl thing, its for BOYS. Pfffftttt. After her mom finally figured out what was going on, she blogged about it, and it went VIRAL.
You can read her mom's original post here
People came pouring out of the woodwork to come to Katie's defense! Most notably, Catherine Taber, the voice of Padme Amidala on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars". Now, that is one chick definitely into Star Wars! People have donated toys, worn t-shirts, and someone even started a Facebook event that ran yesterday (so wished I had seen this before yesterday!!). And suddenly, Katie Goldman became another Face of Bullying.
Bullying? In the first grade? Absolutely. Because, obviously, it has to start somewhere. Kids don't walk into the ninth grade and decide to be bullies - they are raised, they are hurt, they gain strength as they grow. Teasing about a Star Wars bottle in the first grade could very easily develop into beating up the fat kid in tenth grade, and outing a gay roommate in college.
I watch my children interact with their peers and I wonder what happens when I'm not watching. Are they kind to one another? Are they tolerant of each other's differences? I have tried so diligently to teach them that our similarities bond us together, but our differences do NOT have to drive us apart. I worry what my children are being teased about ... goodness knows they tend to stand out in the crowd. Red and his hair and madness for Legos. Princess and her shockingly outgoing personality. Fluffyhead Diva with her Coke bottle glasses and extremely curly hair. Sir Smiley isn't old enough to have awkwardness yet, but as a part of this family, I'm sure he'll develop his own wonderful quirks and oddities.
And that is perfectly fine.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're a Star Wars freak, or a cheerleader - and you can be BOTH!!! - what matters is how you treated yourself and how you treated others.
Katie, you are our Fluffiest Bunny. You remind us that sometimes it is hard to stand up for what you believe in. Sometimes you get scared. Sometimes, you do get bullied. But sometimes, you just live your life, enjoying what you enjoy and not backing down from that. You keep carrying your Star Wars bottle - every day. I promise you that you're not the only girl who loves Star Wars. Fluffyhead Diva is only 4 and quotes whole sections of the movie (and wears glasses too!). You have an entire league of girls who are right there with you. You are AWESOME!
If you want to read more about Katie, here is a great article done by CNN ... and here is where I first read the story on SRMM
Thank you, Katie!!