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One of the most beautiful songs…

Two versions here:

One very traditional version, and one… well, techno version. It reminds me of something you would have heard at EPCOT Center in the 1980’s.

CARMEN OHIO – traditional men’s chorus

CARMEN OHIO… techno version

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I found a site with some great quotes, or thoughts on community service, and making a difference. It is up to each of us to get involved, and not wait for the next guy to do it.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.  ~Anne Frank

Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.  ~William James

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.  ~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.  ~Leo Rosten

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.  ~Mother Teresa

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.  ~Dr. Seuss

It seems to me that any full grown, mature adult would have a desire to be responsible, to help where he can in a world that needs so very much, that threatens us so very much.  ~Norman Lear

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.  ~Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu)

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  ~Edward Everett Hale

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.  ~Sydney Smith

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.  ~Edmund Burke

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.  ~Mother Teresa

Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.  ~Albert Schweitzer

He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.  ~Sunshine Magazine

This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  ~George Bernard Shaw

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.  ~Nelson Henderson

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.  ~Norman B. Rice

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.  ~William Penn

Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.  ~Mohammed Ali

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:  “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”  But… the good Samaritan reversed the question:  “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives.  Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself.  For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.  ~Daniel Berrigan

God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.  ~Author Unknown

He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.  ~Abraham Lincoln

If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.  ~Author Unknown

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.  ~Buddha

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands.  You need to be able to throw something back.  ~Maya Angelou

A good example has twice the value of good advice.  ~Author Unknown

Improvement begins with I.  ~Arnold Glasow

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.  ~Mother Teresa

I grew up in a wonderful Hoosier town, thirty some miles north of Indianapolis. It was called, “The Heart of Hoosierland.” When I think back on my youth, I am always filled with beautiful memories of those days, and times spent with family, friends, neighbors (I had some of the best in the Myrick, Herndon, and Fortner families), classmates, and so many others who lived in Elwood.

I cherish the education I received – from grade school through graduation. I am still in touch with many of my former teachers, and am still appreciative of all their wonderful efforts.

Sadly, the community has dwindled in population, and is showing the wear and tear of the economy, as well as other issues that have confronted it over the past decade.

I am not as familiar with past school boards as I have been with the current board. One of my classmates, and dearest friends, began her tenure on the school board about two years ago, and is currently serving as the president.

It was announced by the school board that there would be a tax referendum placed on the ballot for November’s election. Immediately, one of the hometown websites was filled with uprising. One particular gentleman has been known as one of the biggest “shit stirrers” in our community for years. It has always been amusing how he fortifies himself with nameless folks who have always supported his endless causes. Sadly, he often throws out numerous “I heard” lines without basing anything on facts. Yet, this has always been his style.

Last month, he began a tirade against a local restaurant, and was promptly followed by a number of others who I refer to as “jumpers” – folks who are always ready to jump on any negative band wagon in order to have ten minutes of bitching time. My mother, and her uncles, aunts, and even some great-uncles/aunts eat at this restaurant weekly (religiously), and I have never heard any complaints. Several hometown Facebook friends claimed their meals, and service was fine on their frequent visits.

I don’t understand why there are always the shit-stirrers like some of these folks. I often wonder if it was something at which they failed in life that encourages them to share their frustrations with others.

Naturally, those post submitters who have laid dormant for several weeks, have all resurfaced to offer their own share of venom to the pool. Even the Whack Job who harassed me on this site (since I voted for Obama I was a murderer too because he supported stem cell research!) has made yet another appearance. A number of us have dubbed her with the title, SRB (self-righteous b____) as her holier than thou, and anyone who disagrees with her inflated opinion. Of course, her recent post was merely a springboard for electronic pulpit for her all-knowing agenda.

What is sad to me is the fact that some of the same people – “jumpers” – often begin weighing in with their own opinions, too often adding even more “I heard” lines, most of which are not even close to being based on facts. Of course, if the primary shit-stirrer ever considered looking up a fact it would completely destroy any reason for submitting one of his familiar episodes, as he is more about stirring the pot rather than taking time to look over the recipe card to see which ingredients (facts) are needed.

Even when invited to meet with the superintendent, the shit-stirrer declined, as I am sure his “jumpers” would, as well.

Why?

Would this cause him to abandon his continual stirring because he suddenly is presented with facts that will destroy his stance on ill-gained facts?

This is not a time to engage in superiority. This is a time to ask questions, seek answers, and explore options. Citizens forget that we are often welcome to work with our leaders by sharing ideas, or suggestions that might offer assistance. Instead, it is the common chorus of “off with their heads.”

Everyone is in a similar financial boat, and paying more money to local, state, and federal government is nauseating. We have all had to trim and cut our budgets, and it is showing practically everywhere.

Sometimes I find these attacks against our leaders – whether deserved, or not – to be so typically American, yet frustrating. We, as a nation, tend to hold our torch, our beacon high so that others might look to us for inspiration and hope. I wonder why others would want to be like us if we are a nation that will not work together – perhaps a shadow of our political structure – or citizens who merely stand back to attack, rather than step forward to help.

I am not so concerned about the fact that folks are worried about my home town’s referendum as I am about the immediate attacks. Rather than address those responsible for electing to establish a referendum, the shit-stirrer goes on the attack – typical of his history in our community.

What I find even more amusing is the fact that he tauts himself as such a stout Christian, yet stirs the pot in a non-Christ-like manner. I guess there are just too many definitions of what Christ-like means.

I encourage the members of the community to go to the school board meetings, to ask questions, to request one-on-one interviews rather than attacking the process behind their monitors. It seems as though our society prefers the Jerry Springer Show mentality, or yet, one of those drama-filled series that are cleverly known as “reality television.”

I think it sad that we yearn for the reality television dramas, behaving much like them, and forfeiting a more exciting, and fulfilling life.

I can remember when the new high school was to be built in the early 1970’s – many were on the same war-path. They had tried to build a new high school in the 1960’s, but for some reason – and I am not certain of the facts – it was never built. A neighbor of my grandparents vowed he had no reason to support a new school because all his children were grown. My grandfather reminded him that he would soon have grandchildren attending the school, and that someone else had paid taxes for his own children to go through public education.

I know the financial fears are legitimate. People are scared during this financial crisis. But when administrators offer to meet with the Paul Revere’s crying the loudest, and they refuse, I believe it merely goes to show they are behaving in a manner that is not supportive of the school, and community, but merely choosing to be an habitual shit-stirrer. It is a shame that so many are refusing to be proactive, but electing to be so negative, and in attack mode.

This is a time when we all need to be better citizens, and even more supportive of our schools (providing the school board’s requests are legitimate). There are so many things we can do to assist, if we stretch our minds, and our creativity.

I live right next door to our high school, and a 16′-0″ easement separates our boundaries. The school maintenance always took care of the mowing on the front portion that connects my front yard. Since moving here in2002, I have mowed that area of the easement. I also trim, weed, rake the leaves (and then move them to the curb for leave collection), pick up cigarette butts tossed carelessly by the bus drivers, shovel the sidewalks, and keep the area picked up. It is a small area, but I feel like I am helping, in a very small way, to assist the maintenance team who is already over-taxed on a very large campus.

I am sure there are many ways we, as citizens of all our communities, can offer assistance in some small way to our schools. I know unions often get in the way, but there must be ways to help, regardless if we have children in the system, or not. We are all stewards, ambassadors, and a member of the team. If we get involved, or ask questions, we will learn, we will grow, and we will become part of a solution rather than a part of the team of shit-stirrers who only care about spreading their manure.

There is one post submitter, my cousin, who is now a retired teacher. I love the she always asks intelligent questions, and always offers fact-based comments. Since early childhood, I have always been very fond of this cousin, and her husband – they are really neat people, and have raised some wonderful children. My cousin was always sharp, and to this day, I am always excited to read her comments because she represents what I believe to be the ideal community teammate!

With all the bullying in our schools, it seems to make sense where our children receive training… I read the several negative, or self-righteous posts and understand why bullying in the schools has not gone away. Bullying comes in all forms, and shit-stirring is another!

* This post, nor any portion of it may be reprinted, or copied without the express permission of the author.

 

All the morning news programs are offering a good deal of their segments to the topic of bullying. The past few weeks bullying has come to the forefront following the rash of suicides of young individuals who have endured bullying in various manners, but with the same results.

This morning there were the following segments:

  • the Rutgers student who jumped off a NYC bridge
  • the 10yo boy from Arkansas who committed suicide from bullying at school
  • the father of a 12yo who killed himself because of bullying is traveling all over the country to educate parents and students on bullying
  • the government’s newly appointed director on bullying was actually bullied as a young boy
  • protests at military funerals
  • a father of a bullied special needs daughter who got on the bus to speak with the driver but, instead, took on the bulliers
  • university dean who bullied students into running errands and cleaning her house
  • the mother of the young girl who took her life because girls from school were bullying her over the internet
  • the mother of a middle school girl who took her life because the mother of the girl’s friend was bullying her over the internet
  • bullying in the work place

Many of these stories are interconnected not only in theme, but by the tragic consequences of bullying.

The thing that I have learned this morning is that bullying comes in so many different packages – some of which I would have never even considered bullying.

Definitions of bullying:

  • the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something
  • noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others
  • Bullying is a form of abuse. It comprises repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful individual or group abusing those who are less powerful. The power imbalance may be social power and/or physical power. …
  • includes behaviors and actions that are verbal, physical and/or anti-social, such as exclusion, gossip and non-verbal body language. It can occur at school or in transit between school and home.
  • Workplace bullying is the ‘repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice’. Workplace bullying is behaviour that can intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate an employee.
  • Deliberate action or behaviour directed towards another person which may take many forms and can often occur over a long period of time…

What is ironic is the manner in which adult bullies express the reason for their actions. From domestic violence, to bullying in the classroom by teachers, to bullying in the workplace – the theme seems to be the same: “I do it to assist the other to become the best they can possibly be” or “to be helpful” for other reasons, or “because I care.”

The bully always attempts to put a positive spin on their actions for bullying others. And this weekend, many of us have seen how one particular bully has attempted to back-peddle their previous behavior towards many others.

Sadly… very sadly, the victim of the bully, and even those nearest the victim, fall for this ever so cleverly disguised MANIPULATION! These manipulators seem to be craftsmen when it comes to manipulation. And if you have the opportunity to watch a bully, or manipulator in action, their patterns are always predictable. Unfortunately, too many observers are swayed by the manipulative devices and actually begin to agree with the bully’s explanation, or excuses. When the bully can side-step their own abusiveness to place blame for their actions elsewhere, or in a manner that makes their behaviors appear to be in the best interest of the victim(s), they tend to pull of an incredible, dastardly charade.

I have known those who have endured domestic violence – either physical, mental, or emotional. We currently have an on-going episode of domestic violence in our own family, but the hands of all the family are tied.

I had some friends who seemed to have significant marriage problems, and it was not until after their divorce that I began realizing it was emotional domestic abuse. Sadly, the bully in this marriage portrayed himself the victim, garnering tons of sympathy from friends, and colleagues.

On a side note: Sometimes, when a person goes from one abusive relationship to another, I strongly question whether or not they somehow thrive on the abuse, or perhaps, the drama. Some individuals do seem to encourage others to bully them to receive attention… but this is entirely different than uninvited bullying.

Rev. Fred Phelps, who I consider sheer evil, is plowing through his bully tactics using the First Amendment.

Today, the Supreme Court is in session, and their first cases involve freedom of speech, and the fine line of bullying. This should be an interesting turn of events in this vital, yet oft abused freedom.

I read a post this morning where one individual said that everyone is bullied at some point in their life, and he seemed to accept that it is OK. He also went as far to say that some people are just destined to be bullied.

Some people just seem to be magnets for bullies because they are special needs, smare aller stature, are somehow different than the perceived ‘norm’, appear weaker. And, it always seems to point to CONTROL.

What is it in a bully’s life that makes them adopt the need to control another so vigorously, and cruelly?

The first time I encountered bullying was when I became drum-major for the marching band as a freshman. The first few months were a nightmare.

My predecessor’s younger brother, David T., often pushed me into lockers; Troy G., a percussionist, sat behind me on the bus to Kings Island and continually flicked my ear with his finger; pizzas were sent to our home frequently, and some we got to keep; and then, the scariest moment was when the flute section leader, Stephanie K. tried to run me down in the school’s parking lot with her car. Fortunately, the band director and principal witnessed that moment, and her days in band were abruptly ended.

Other than that, in high school, Todd McG., Steve M., and my first co-drum-major were the only ones who exhibited bullying behaviors toward me. Fortunately, thanks to my mother, and her parents, as well as the support from wonderful teachers and administrators, I had a strong sense of self, and rode the wave of bullying.

Sadly, I witnessed others who endured bullying by others at school, and their stories were not quite so happy in the end.

Right now, only 40+ plus states have bullying legislation; however, the states are each different, and there are no government regulations on bullying. All the parents I have seen interviewed the past week claimed to have alerted the schools, numerous times; however, the schools all claim to know nothing about the bullying where the end results were suicides. There are no regulations requiring  schools to document complaints of bullying; therefore, the schools can easily claim they have no documentation of the student being bullied.

So, how do we stand up to the bullies?

One Florida dad got on the school bus and ripped into the students who were bullying his daughter, who has cerebral palsy, because the school was taking no action.

He stood up to the bullies, but he also had to pay the consequences for his actions.

As parents, we want to be assured that when we send our children off to school they are not being bullied – on their way to school, on their way home from school, and most especially, while they are in school. We also don’t want our children bullied by teachers in schools where administrators turn a deaf ear to numerous complaints by parents.

So, what can parents do?

In some ways it seems as though parents’ hands are tied.

One boy, who was always small in stature, received years of bullying at school, even in front of teachers who joked along with the bullies. The parents made numerous reports to the school, but they were not addressed (and, of course, the school had no record of the parent meetings). One day, the young boy turned and swung at a student who was bullying him, and was expelled from school. The boy, a strong student, was so humiliated he tied a rope around his neck and jumped off the staircase in his home.

And what about those who are bullied in their homes by spouses, or significant others?

What those who are bullied in the workplace?

What about those who are bullied in other arenas, amazingly enough, in churches?

I wish I had answers. There are numerous websites regarding bullying, and how to deal with them, especially those concerning school bullies. Those are great, but if schools are not required to document, or are not addressing bullying, then these websites, though helpful, are somewhat pointless.

Here is a website from CNN where many have shared their stories of being bullied: CNN Bullying Blogs

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