Life

Compassion in the Midst of Bullying

I didn't get hurt.“Momma, don’t be mad at him, he doesn’t know any better.”

The words rang in my head like a banging cymbal. Thoughts of anger, sadness and complete confusion swirled in my mind. After what she had experienced, how could she say something like that? My wife silently stood watching and waiting as I struggled with these thoughts.

Well, I thought to myself she is better than I am that is for sure. She has more compassion in her little finger than I have in my whole body. As we talked more about the situation ultimately deciding to wait a few more days before making a final decision. After all she was only in kindergarten and despite the repeated occurrence of the little boy putting his hands on her neck and squeezing until in her words, she thought her eyes might pop out of her head, she seemed okay.

She was small and petite, one of the smallest in her class and an easy target for the bigger boys of the same age. To be taken out of school was not what she wanted as she had many friends and enjoyed her teachers. The school teachers aware of the incidents, were to keep a close eye on the little boy to make sure these types of things did not happen again. It was only two months before the summer break and it seemed she would be okay. However, a few weeks later she relayed another story that happened in gym class with the same boy.

“He came up behind me and picked me up and dropped me on my head.” She calmly stated to her mother, while holding her head at an angle because of the pain in her neck. Numerous trips to the chiropractor and the pain in her neck lessened with no long-term damage. However, the headaches continued and no amount of chiropractic adjustments helped because the stress remained.

We continued to struggle with the decision to pull her out of school or not with only a couple of weeks to go before summer. My wife was exploring homeschooling and seemed determined to convince me that next year this was the best option for our little girl. I remained unconvinced. Although, I would do anything to protect my little girl, I also wondered if this was something she needed to learn to deal with and not let the bullies win. I did not want my only daughter to believe that she was a victim and live her life not standing up for herself.

I picked her up from school one Friday afternoon, we buckled ourselves in and I started the car turning to look before backing out of the parking spot. Glancing in the rear view mirror at my beautiful blonde little girl I asked, “So, how was your day today honey?”

She smiled and looked back at me in the mirror and stated with a touch of joy in her voice, “Today was a good day Daddy, I didn’t get hurt.”

Before the words had died in the air my heart broke and I did not know how to respond. I could only muster a “That’s good, sweetie.”  Nothing about school, her friends or the fun that she had; no, the best part of my 5 year old’s day was that she did not get hurt. Are you f@$^&** kidding me I screamed in my mind!

Fighting back the tears I began slowly backing up the car and silently drove home. It was that night that my wife and I decided to get her through the last few weeks of this school year and to truly explore homeschooling for the next year when she entered first grade. After much research and many conversations with our little girl, as this would impact her also, we all decided to give homeschooling a try; never looking back.

Our daughter is now finishing fourth grade in some subjects and already into fifth and sixth grade level in others. She is thriving with a curriculum selected just for her; it is challenging and it allows her to move at her own pace. She is happy and involved in many other activities from horse riding, church youth groups, dance, soccer and baseball; not sheltered or un-socialized as some would have you believe all home schooled children are.

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The above story, based on true events, recalled as best they can and written in response to the #1000Speak theme Building from Bullying. Her experience has affected her. We still talk about it on occasion and how her perceptions are sometimes filtered through the pain she experienced. She has met others that are bullies, in organized events, even at church sponsored functions. This is unfortunately an all too often reality of the fallen world we live in. Maybe I am jaded but I believe we will always encounter bullies this side of the undiscovered.  Yet, we can not let ourselves become permanent victims and we can show compassion in the midst of the bullying.

This little girl has a heart that is more sensitive than anyone I have ever known. It will bring her pain and yet, it will also bring her great joys. You cannot have one without the other. She is my teacher and I am blessed beyond words because of her. Below is a poem she wrote in response to the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement.

Be kind to others in need.
Be kind and loving to others.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
Have compassion for your sisters and brothers,
for God is waiting for you to be loving, just as He is.
For there will be people coming.
You will need to help these people.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
For I tell you nothing is to small,
for it is simple enough to just have COMPASSION.

~Muppin ©2015, Age 10

Life, Poetry

Simple Compassion

Two voices and two poems for the ‘1000 Voices of Compassion movement. The first by my daughter and the second by me.  Please enjoy and never doubt that you do and will make a difference, the question is what kind of difference will you make? #1000Speak

1000Speak~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be kind to others in need.
Be kind and loving to others.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
Have compassion for your sisters and brothers,
for God is waiting for you to be loving, just as He is.
For there will be people coming.
You will need to help these people.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
For I tell you nothing is to small,
for it is simple enough to just have COMPASSION.

~Muppin ©2015, Age 10
♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

How are you she asked.
“I don’t know. “
Was my halting reply.
Staring back I was thinking,
I don’t understand
As you stand before me
Passively with outstretched hand
compassion seems small
the kindness before a fall
grace and love is all
What do you want she asked next.
“I don’t know. “
I answered again
As my mind continued to turn.
It doesn’t make sense
Are these wishes just this
Prayers disguised as defense
compassion may be
the best of life we will see
love for you and me
What do you need she then asked.
“Simple compassion.”
I responded without hesitation.
My thoughts still churning.
The pain I now feel
Is the result of a past connection
That was once so real
compassion is love
through redemptive action of
grace, mercy and love

~Mark Schutter ©2015 > #JustBelieve  #GraceWins  #HopeLives

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Art, Life

Compassion #1000Speak – Why?

So, what is this post all about? Short answer: a little glimpse into who I am and why COMPASSION and the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement is important to me. So let’s get started, shall we?.

I am an artist but then aren’t we all?

The Background: Our lives are our masterpieces that we create each day either by addition, subtraction, building up or tearing down. I attempt to capture moments through my art: using pictures and words to encourage and shine a light into dark places.

What seems another lifetime ago I stood silently holding the hand of someone I planned to spend the rest of my life with. Feeling wholly helpless I could only watch her die from the evil cancer that ravaged her young body. I have traversed my own valley of shadows, and occasionally I will wander and find myself back there in that dark. I have cried, screamed, railed and bargained against the seeming injustice of it all and the randomness of another beautiful life gone. I pitied myself; while many tried to show me compassion, kindness and tenderness.

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.” ~CS Lewis

I have slowly realized over 20 years later that my own pain should not and must not be the focus. Every person is fighting a battle and most of us have no idea. I know that many I have encountered over the years never see my scars for I carry them on the inside. The pain hidden deep, I retreat like a frightened child.

I am now slowly rebuilding my life on a belief and hope that there is a reason to the seeming madness of this world. I have since married a wonderful women who loves me in spite of my hypocritical and narcissistic self. I watched the birth of our daughter and have cherished watching her grow into a precious and loving ten-year old little lady.

Why it is Important to Me: From life to death and back to life my journey has taken me there. Life will go on, we do not get that choice.  It only matters what we do with our lives.

Now, in what I like to refer to as the second chapter of my life; I wish to share the joys, the sorrows, the hope and maybe even inspire someone on this crazy wonderful journey that we call life. I believe in the ‘ripple effect’, touch one life and you may touch the world.  The world craves compassion and we should freely give it both to others and to ourselves.

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This movement of over a 1000 strong participants posting about COMPASSION on February 20, 2015 is important to me. For I know that love will win. We must have compassion for each other and for ourselves. We can only do the best we can and often that is good enough. I will be posting on February 20th, which will include a special piece written by my daughter. You are more than you know!

I borrowed and plagiarized the following from the blog of Lizzi Rogers, one of the co-creators of this great event. (Thanks Lizzi! 🙂 )

What you can do: JOIN IN!

I have not seen a lot of men among the over 1000 participants, so guys consider this my challenge to you.  It is not to late to join in.  You don’t have to spill your guts – promise – but if you take part somehow, on ANY kind of social media platform, on February 20th, letting the world know that you’re putting something out there for 1000Speak, and relating something to do with compassion and why it matters to you, then you add weight and unique perspective to the movement.

Join us on Facebook

Find us at the 1000Speak blog

Use the #1000Speak hashtag on Twitter and Instagram

Promote this movement everywhere you can, and keep checking back to see how it’s going. Spread the word – we can’t do it alone.

We really are stronger together – 1000Speak needs YOU! Join the village, and BRING the difference.

wpid-img_20140612_122453.jpgIf you have read this far, thank you and I leave you with this.  I need a drink 🙂 because being this transparent as I have on this blog about my life, my failings and my journey is a little scary.   But hey, it is who I am and so I will be kind to myself.  Be kind to yourselves and remember show compassion to everyone you meet! ~M

Life

Compassion is a Verb

I encourage everyone to visit the site Cards of Hope and see how you can help to bring inspiration and happiness to people battling CANCER.  Her mission touches me on a very personal level because of my own experiences (you can read about that on my about page if interested).Lacie created the site to bring inspiration and happiness to people battling CANCER.  Cards of Hope was founded because of her experience staying with a friend, Pennie, who had terminal cancer. She was always looking for some glimmer of hope or joy in every day that she was alive. To quote Lacie, “Battling CANCER is a horrendous thing to have to go through, and I feel that if I can do anything to brighten a Cancer warrior’s day then I will do it.”

Cards of Hope functions on a purely donation basis.  The following list is only a few of the many items needed that can help brighten a warrior’s day.

*envelopes
*cards
*stamps (They Always Need Stamps!)
*stickers
*paper

*gift cards
*coloring pages
*post cards
*bookmarks
*books
*crayons
*cross word puzzle books
*new stuffed animals
*construction paper

You can view more items that are needed hereYou can also send money orders or checks for a donation.  Remember compassion, kindness and love are verbs.  They require action and you may actually experience the greater blessing by your giving.

In addition be sure to join the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement to flood social media with compassion on February 20, 2015. #1000Speak Together we can make a difference!