Current Giveaways

Word Spelunking’s temporary hiatus is now permanent. All requests are closed and there will be no new content. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has read and supported this blog. Y’all are awesome!!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post: Jackson Keene Talk About Bullying

Author Jackson Keene is visiting us again today with a guest post about a very relevant topic: bullying.

Jackson says that "In my book NOLICHUCK, the hero, TJ, deals with bullies several times in the novel, making the story even more appropriate for blog readers who face bullying at school or know others who are going through such experience." Below, the author offers some very helpful advice (for all ages) for dealing with bullies...

Are you faced with bullying at school or know students who are?  Ways to deal with bullies:

Bullying in schools has seemingly reached epidemic proportions today.  This appears especially true in elementary school, middle school, junior high school levels, and even up through senior high.  And it's not just the boys who are tormenting their classmates.  Girls often are crueler and much more devious than the boys.

Bullying can take many forms.  It can be verbal such as taunting, teasing that goes way beyond mere kidding around, false accusations, vicious rumors, ugly slurs, constant unkind statements, making fun of someone's appearance or intelligence or lack of material things.  It can be emotional such as constantly and publicly humiliating someone, continuously excluding someone from becoming part of an accepted group or popular crowd, derogating someone's manhood or womanhood.  And it can be physical, including hitting, punching, slapping, kneeing a boy in his private area, shoving, tripping, choking, in the case of girls, pulling hair, yanking on clothes, spitting, biting, kicking, etc.

Whatever form bullying takes and wherever it occurs, bullying kids at school is intolerable behavior.  Unnecessary and unprovoked unkindness is always wrong, no matter what the excuse.

But there are ways students can help protect themselves and deflect bullying actions.

  1. Build a "defense team" around you.  The old truism that all bullies are cowards unfortunately is not 100% true.  Yes, many bullies are cowardly at heart, and they seek to lash out at weaker prey.  But all bullies, whether they're a coward or not, respect power.  Two are better than one, three are better than two, four are better than three.  Early on, connect with other students who may also be targets of bullying action, and form a protective group.  In between classes, in the lunchroom, in the gym, on the playground, etc., keep together as much as possible.
  2. "Believe in yourself" and your good qualities.  I'm not saying don't be realistic about areas where you want to improve.  We all have things that aren't perfect in ourselves.  But spend equal time encouraging yourself in the many areas where you KNOW you have good qualities.  Think on all the good traits, skills, and abilities you have.  Don't let peer pressure or group mentality or bullying take away your core confidence.  You have a lot of innate value.  You have dreams and hopes.  Don't give those up.  Who knows how productive and how fulfilling your life will be in 10, 20 years versus many of those people who are being mean to you right now.  Look at the long-range picture and KNOW you'll going to be someone and accomplish good things.
  3. "Stand up" for your innate worth.  When confronted by untrue or mean statements, reply calmly, logically, and clearly.  State what you know to be true about your self-worth.  Don't back down.  And never give up on yourself.
  4. Think about taking some type of "martial arts or self-defense" class.  I'm not necessarily talking about becoming the Karate Kid here.  But learning some basic defense techniques and using them ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY will work wonders in scaring off would-be bullies.  I had several fights growing up with bullies.  I was always small, highly intelligent (not a good thing in my generation), but feisty, and I never lost a fight with a bully, and in fact had instances where the bully failed to show at the "appointed time" because my bluster apparently scared them off.
  5. "Make allies and be a friend" wherever you can.  Even among the more popular kids, you'll find of lot of them have good hearts and real character who'll sympathize with your plight and take up for you.  Be a true friend to everyone you can, knowing that real friendship pays dividends.  And don't just be a friend to those in power, so to speak.  You should go out of your way to be friends with others less fortunate.  Help those in need, and you'll find help may be coming back to you!
  6. "Never return evil for evil".  It never works out the way you'd hoped.  Don't say or do intentionally mean things to get back at bullies or others.  Rise above the maddening crowd and be a better person than the bullies who persecute you.
  7. "Make it known".  In today's "zero tolerance" environment, it's not only okay but the correct thing to do to notify school administrators and teachers of bullying behavior.  They'll take steps to stop the aggression.  In addition, you should confide in others who can give you comfort and guidance:  Siblings, family members, friends, acquaintances you can trust, and people at church (if you go).  Talking things out always helps, especially if the person has been through some of the same problems in their school days.   
I want to thank Jackson for the great guest post today and the fun interview yesterday! Here's more info about his YA novel...

TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school:  A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends.  Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.
And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past.  And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living!  Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.
And he thought his present life was bad news!  But TJ’s adventures are only beginning.  Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and meets a fantastic frontier family who really has it together. 
When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person, ready to defeat deadly robbers in his own home, beat the bullies at school, win the girl, gain friends, and make great grades.  He even gets his family back together again.  Sort of.  In the end, the little green book is really cool.  And TJ can’t wait to go on another action-packed adventure into the perilous past! 

Connect with Jackson: Goodreads
Purchase: TrebleHeartBooks / Amazon / B&N / Smashwords
Jackson Keene was born sometime before the turn of the century in a little town that nestles close to the mighty Mississippi and not so far away from Graceland, either, the final home of the King, Elvis.  Millington, Tennessee was, until 1993, home to Memphis Naval Air Station, at one time, among the busiest and biggest of U.S. naval stations in the whole world.
Born into a traveling military family, he attended seven different schools, and lived in five states (TN, RI, CA, FL and TX) before graduating from senior high school with honors.  He obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and spent a year toward a Ph.D. in the same field before abandoning his dream of being a publishing professor.
However, he never lost his love of history, detailed research, or good historical fiction.
Rebounding nicely, Mr. Keene completed a M.B.A. in Economics & Statistics at the University of Oklahoma (leading his class), and gamely entered the gritty but fast moving world of business.  For the first half of his career, he lived the real life of an advertising Mad Man including a stint as Director at iconic Ogilvy & Mather as well as SVP at two other marketing firms.  In the second half of his business career, he was in senior management as a Director, VP, EVP, or Managing Partner with several software, telecom, and data service companies.
These days, he indulges in another of his loves, basketball – coaching and playing on his own Men’s Over 40 team, as well as volunteer coaching youth teams.  A fitness fanatic, Mr. Keene works out as much as he writes, which is to say, every day.  He also attends a most wonderful church, Bent Tree Bible Fellowship.
Yes, deep inside, he always had the desire to write.  His first novel, a mix of historical & contemporary YA fiction, was published September 2011 by indy Treble Heart Books.  The manuscript for his next novel, a combination of historical romance & family saga, has just been released to the publisher for scheduling.  More news to come!
And already, he is beginning work on the second book in his YA series on TJ.
Mr. Keene lives in Plano Texas with his wife, Barbara, soon to be joined by a chocolate female dachshund puppy to be named Sprinkles.  They have two grown daughters.  Emily, the oldest, finished her Ph.D. in Mathematics in record time and was awarded the prestigious Humboldt Fellowship.  Newly married, she currently lives in Berlin with her wonderful husband, Jim.  Renata, the youngest, is a proud graduate of Sam Houston State, and is in junior management with a large automotive dealer services firm.  Both daughters are avid runners, actively competing in marathons, halfs, 10K’s, and 5K’s.  Renata is also a classically trained dancer and cheerleader, and in her not-so-spare time is co-captain of a busy dance squad for a semi-pro sports team.