S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Change Begins When Our Silence Ends

At what point is enough, enough?!

We…and by “we” I mean parents…we bite our tongues, grit our teeth and sit on our hands because we fear the consequences of making waves.  We watch mean kids do mean things over and over and over again and get away with it because we are afraid that if we say something to another parent, a teacher, a principal, a director or a coach that negative repercussions will befall our child.

Then…and here’s the topper… THEN we tell our children that they should not be afraid to stand up for themselves.  We have the nerve to quote inspirational things like “be the change you want to see in the world” and yet we are scared into stone cold silence ourselves.  Hypocrites.  That’s what we’ve become.  Hypocrites.

How do we teach our kids to defend themselves when we can’t even defend them because of the fear of ridicule and backlash?

“If I say something they might not cast my kid in a role again?”
“If I speak up my kid might lose playing time on the field.”
“If I say something they might make my kid’s life a living hell in class.”
“If I speak up they might get mad at me and a friendship will be ruined.”

At what point do we stop kissing ass and start covering it?

Oh, I long for the days of past when a simple punch to the nose would end it and the bully would realize there were consequences for being mean.  But now, oh no, we have to be so goddamned politically correct that we’ve designed a society wherein the bully suffers no consequences.  The bully wins.

The reality in our world today is that the bullies aren’t the ones committing suicide…the victims are.  The mean kids aren’t the ones being degraded…the nice kids are.  We sit back, as if puzzled, scratching our heads and wondering why the teenage suicide rate is skyrocketing in our nation but we refuse to step out of our political correctness to do anything to change it.  Hypocrites.

It’s time we call a spade, a spade.  It’s time we stand up, for God’s sake, open our mouths, call the mean kid a mean kid so that he can be stopped!  Us shutting up isn’t helping anyone.

Bullies are assholes.  Period. 

“Gasp!  You can’t call a child an asshole!” Society gawks.

Yes, I can and I just did.  Bullies are assholes no matter what age, size or package they come in.  They can be five or ninety-five.  And here’s the reality:  The fact that they exist and continue to exist is our fault.  Yours and mine.  Why?  Because we have the power to change them.  We have the power to stop them.  All we have to do is open our mouths and shut them down.  If we had the courage to openly identify and label a kid a bully, that kid would then be given the opportunity to change his or her behavior.  They would be presented with the ability to choose NOT to be the asshole.

Our silence helps no one.

Our silence ultimately hurts everyone.

Our silence sets a bad precedence for our kids, who then think they have to shut up and take it just as they see us doing.  And, thus, the bully wins again and again and again.

We force a smile, tell our kids that kindness will prevail, all the while knowing it’s a lie.  Yes, killing with kindness is a wonderful tactic… but it won’t stop a bully.  They will march right over it, smash it, annihilate it, mock it and spit on it (literally).

We tell our kids that violence is never the answer, and yet, we know firsthand that a punch to the bully’s nose will render him afraid to ever pick on our kid again.  But that isn’t politically correct…so we hush…we stifle the truth…we fight to quiet ourselves when every parental instinct is to defend our young.

Reality:  If a child punches a bully, despite the fact that the bully has belittled, spit on, mocked, antagonized and berated the other child for months, the victim is suspended or kicked out of our schools and the bully suffers no consequences whatsoever.

Then we tell our kids that there is justice in this world.  Hypocrisy.  What’s wrong with this system?
We have become so politically correct that we have lost all defining qualities of what is right and wrong.

Silence isn’t golden, it is painful.  And shame on us for allowing the pain to linger because we are afraid to take action.  Shame on us for hushing our voices when our very voice is the best advocate and sometimes the only advocate our child has.  Shame on us for creating the hypocrisy.

“Kids will be kids,” we say and try desperately to shrug it off, as we stick our heads deeper into the sand and wonder why the suicide rate climbs.

We try to institute politically correct programs to stop bullying…and though the idea is wonderful, the execution falls short because being nice to a bully won’t change him.  A swift kick to the balls or forearm shiver, will. 

Our grandparents and parent’s generation knew how to handle bullies and it worked.  Why are we not following their lead?

When will it be enough?  When will we stop this cycle?  How many times does your kid need to be spit on, made fun of, belittled and berated by another kid before you find your voice?  How many times does your kid need to come home from school or from a gathering of peers sobbing, before you find the courage to speak up?  How high does the teenage suicide rate need to climb before we realize that our politically correct programs aren’t working?

This must stop.  Punishing the victims must stop.  Silence must stop.

Mean kids aren’t going to be mean in front of adults.  They aren’t going to mistreat another child in front of their parents, teachers or coaches.  They’re smart enough to do it when adults aren’t around.  Knowing this is the case, why then do we tell the victim to go to a teacher, parent or coach for assistance.  Then, when they do, the adult shrugs and acknowledges that unless the action is witnessed, it is as if it never occurred.  Our very system sets the victim up to be repeatedly victimized.  It strips the child of all power and all recourse.  This hypocrisy must stop!

How many tears will it take?  How many lives will it take?  How many cuts on flesh will there be?  How much suffering will it take before WE stand up and say enough is enough?!

WE have to open our eyes.  Our child comes to us because they are being mistreated and we, feeling the politically correct reins around us tighten, do nothing to help them.  Eventually, they stop coming to us.  They internalize their fears, their pain and they slip further and further away as depression beckons them.  What's next?  Cutting.  Drugs. Suicide attempts.  And then we have the gall to shake our heads and wonder what happened?

Bullying happened.  An asshole we didn't stop happened.

I’m stopping it now!  If you spit on my kid, he has my express permission to spit back.  If you hit him, run because he has my permission to punch you back.  If that means we have to home school because we’ve been kicked out of our district, so be it.  We will lie down quietly no more.

My children are taught not to pick on anyone.  My children are taught to be kind to everyone.  My children are taught not to make fun of others, but to find one thing about each person that is good, likable, amazing or interesting.  My children are taught to compliment others and to uplift them and be helpful in any way that they can.  Why then, should my child suffer at the hands of a bully with no recourse or defense whatsoever?  They shouldn't.  They won't!

Political correctness is not justice.  What a hypocritical joke we have become.

No more.  Enough is enough.  A spade is a spade.  A bully is a bully.  This needs to stop right now, right here.  No more lives.  No more tears.  No more suffering.  No more politically correct crap. 

Change begins when our silence ends and I'm done being silent.