Tag Archives: change

Week 27 – The Week of Results with Pictures. Gah.

Well … I’m about half way through my year long journey and figured that it was time to share some pics and stats. I’m not overly thrilled about sharing because well, I’m not a fan of pictures of myself, but it’s time.

We’ll start with Weightloss, Measurements and some other numbers.

I HAVE LOST:

54lbs

5.75″ off my chest

2.75″ off my bicep

7″ off my waist

5.25″ off my hips

3.75″ off my thigh

BMI is down 5.8 points

Body Fat is down 6.59%

Blood Pressure went from 153/72 to 125/72

I have completely come off of Iron supplementation and daily pain medicine. I can walk up and down my stairs without getting winded. I can kinda/sorta paint my own toenails, if I wanted to but that’s what salons are for. I can’t wear pants without a belt, but I haven’t bought a belt yet, so I spend a lot of time hiking my pants back up when I walk. I can see my feet.

And now for pics … at first I didn’t see too much of a difference, and then I realized that I could see more of the white cabinet behind me, so I’m calling that a win.

There you go, half way in and a long way from the finish line, but I’m still going and that’s better than I usually do.¬† ūüôā Woot, Woot.

Thanks for following my journey and encouraging me along the way … this is ridiculously hard to do, and you’ve all helped me in some way or another. High-Five Friends. xoxoxo

 

If you’re considering joining me on this journey, the next info session will be held on October 11th. Yes, I will be there sharing again. Woot. Woot. If you have any questions, it’s the perfect time to come check it out. Sign up HERE.

 

Week 26 and a HUGE Reminder

This post is almost a week late because frankly, I didn’t know what to write about. My journey has become fairly boring and predictable, which is a really good thing, but it doesn’t make for a great story.

I was trying to figure out how to skip a week, and then Facebook shared my lovely memories and it hit me. This journey is far from boring, it has saved my life. Literally.

It was one year ago, this week, that I was having my 3rd round of iron infusions. First pic was my blood transfusion and the final pic was my last infusion day.

A year ago, I was pretty much convinced that I was dying. I had zero hope and I felt like death walking. I absolutely needed to change my entire life but had no idea where to even begin, so instead, I just laid on my couch and prayed for the strength to get up and move. It was the most awful and horrible time in my life.

My days were spent either on the couch, at the doctor’s office or at the pharmacy picking up yet another prescription to try to give me some relief from the pain and infections and horribleness that was constantly attacking my body. But the beauty in that is that it was this same pharmacist that pulled me out of the despair. It was his voice that said to me, “are you ready to get better”?

I truly don’t know where I would be today, if I hadn’t listened to him and started on Ideal Protein. I’d like to say that I would’ve figured it out on my own, but that would be a total lie. I needed a guiding and supportive voice and someone who was a whole lot stronger than I was. Suhas was that person.

So, even though my journey isn’t all that exciting anymore, it’s a story of hope renewed. It is my chance to live the life that I deserve to live. I am so grateful that I listened to someone else’s voice and made the leap.

My head was a liar, thankfully I ignored it long enough to actually start over. I’m thankful for my past, and thrilled that I will never visit it again. What an amazing gift.

What did this week bring me:

~ A Weight gain of 0.5lbs – Gah

~ A loss of 2″

~ Pictures that reminded me of where I’ve been and where I refuse to revisit.

If you’re considering joining me on this journey, the next info session will be held on October 11th. Yes, I will be there sharing again. Woot. Woot. If you have any questions, it’s the perfect time to come check it out. Sign up HERE.

Week Nine: Hard to look ahead when you have No Vision

This week has been a very interesting one for me. As usual, I’m still struggling with eating enough and have missed a few meals this week. I really truly have no idea how I do it, I get busy and then forget to eat. My intentions are good but my ability to follow through totally sucks.

BUT, I’m still trying and I’m still going. My coach is a very helpful and encouraging voice and he always reminds me why I’m doing this. It truly is an awesome thing knowing that someone has your back and wants you to succeed. I also need someone giving me heck and calling me out on my lack of focus, which he does. So going into week ten, my goal¬†is to not get myself in trouble, which means I have to eat, properly and on time. (Why is this so stinking hard for me anyways????). I¬†know I can do this. Right??

What made this week interesting though was the¬†“Make a Vision Board” party I attended. Which is where I realized that I have no vision for myself. I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what I like and I don’t know where I’m going. It truly was the weirdest thing. I was surrounded by people that had a plan or an idea of what they wanted, and then there was me. Who the heck am I and where exactly am I going?

I think I used to be fun, but at some point, things changed. I played ringette for years, and I was pretty good. I coached ringette and played softball. I liked to travel, I loved going out and being social. I went for walks, enjoyed going to the movies and concerts. But now, I have no desire to really do anything. I have zero sense of adventure, almost to the point where trying new things is more scary than appealing. I’ve become a creature of habit and do the exact same things over and over, and I’ve pretty much¬†been okay with that, but maybe now it’s time for me to change that.

I became a Mom, I got sick,and then I was given the gift of chronic pain. I was the fat girl, who’s only real goal was to get skinny. It was the most obvious thing to make a resolution about, or to try and change because well, that’s what fat people should do. Get skinny. The other parts of me¬†completely went away, and I became something new. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel deprived or like I’m missing out on anything, because I don’t. I love my life, my kids and my husband. But I think I’ve become too okay with just being content and blah. I need to have¬†goals that are bigger than losing weight and stop eating sugar. I need to want more. I need to do more.

Which brings me to my vision board. It’s a work in progress, but I managed to kinda sorta make something. I found things I love, like rainbows, and some great quotes. I found some things that I need to work on, such as putting down my phone and remembering that I’m stronger than I think. I also found a pic of vegetables and the word protein because well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s not really a vision persay, but it’s a jumping off point. I need to find myself again.

 

 

I am a most excellent mother, a good friend and a decent wife. But I’m more than that, I just need to figure out what that looks like.¬†It began¬†9 weeks ago, but I’m starting to get glimpses of the new me. A bit smaller, a lot healthier and on my way.

Week Nine has been about gifts, and this is what it gave me:

A glimpse into my future and a little bit of vision.

A great knock-off version of my beloved Iced Capp that I created with my Ideal Protein cappuccino Shake, a schwack of ice and some coffee. It’s not the same, because seriously, how does one improve on the perfection that is Tim Hortons, but it is filling a void.

I left my house, put on socks, wore some community shoes and joined a fun ladies bowling team. I am now a QueenPin that has absolutely zero bowling skills, and a really nice bowling shirt.

And pants that are a size smaller. Yes, I bought new pants. ¬†ūüôā

 

  • CONSIDERING JOINING ME ON IDEAL PROTEIN? ¬†I¬†could really use a weight loss buddy.¬†¬†I¬†have an excellent coach & team¬†The Medicine Shoppe in Sherwood Park. They‚Äôve graciously made an offer for all of my friends that want to join me in this adventure. If you let them know that you read this blog and want to join my Dream Team of Losers¬†(yes, I‚Äôve given my little group a name), they‚Äôll take 50% off of your registration costs. If you want more info, send me a message. Or¬†reach out to the Coach here.

Week Eight and Losing Faith

This has been a really discouraging week for me.

I allowed myself to focus on the numbers on the scale as opposed to measuring my success by the way I felt. I’ve never really cared about what I weighed or what I looked like, but now all of the sudden, I was focusing on that. The size of my jeans is effecting the state of mind.

When I look at how far I need to go to get to a healthy weight, it’s terrifying, and frankly, how in the heck is this going to even happen? And how long will it actually take? And am I totally setting myself to fail at this¬†for the gazillionith time? Will my outside ever match my inside? Can I do this?

In my head, I know that the changes and the improvements that I’m feeling are massive, but why are they falling to the wayside? Why am I thinking about number of pounds lost as opposed to how little pain I am in now? How have I forgotten about my how much clearer my head is and how much better I feel in general? How does something that I’ve never really cared all that much about have this much power in my head? Why does this need to happen?

It took me almost 45 years to get to the place I am, and even though part of me knows that my world can’t change overnight, I still want that. I want to be able to look in the mirror and see that I am done. I want to be able to eat whatever I want, wear whatever I want and not have to constantly¬†think about all of the ways I’ve screwed up or how I’ve failed. I want to just be a normal person that no one looks at and judges because of the size I am or the foods that I’m putting in my mouth. I want to not be where I am physically. I want to think about something else.

This is a horrible place to be. A stinking, rotten, mind messing up, place to be.

At least it was. Thankfully, I managed to wake up and after about 5 days of nonsense, I remembered what I’m really working towards. It’s not about a size. It’s not about a reflection in a mirror. And it most certainly isn’t about a number on a scale.

It’s about life. And not living the one that I’ve been trapped in for the last few years. It’s about fixing something that I’ve broken. And obviously, I’ve got to start working on my brain and reminding it of what this is truly about.

It’s not about skinny. It’s about losing myself and finding me. In spite of the numbers.

Week Eight gave me this:

5 days of mental torment and disbelief.

A reminder of why I’m doing this and where I’m going.

And leggings. I wore leggings in public, which I’m still not convinced is the right choice for a fat girl, but it was either that or the super large lumberjack pants. No one laughed at me, so I’m calling that a win.

No weigh-in this week though as I picked up the plague from one of the 7, and am languishing on the couch with throat drops and Advil which frankly,¬†I’m looking at as a gift. This was not the week to step on a scale.

As I move forward, I acknowledge that I don’t have to be strong and perfect all the time. Instead, I need to just be okay. And happy. And kind to myself. The rest of it is just cake. Or at least one day, it will be. ¬†ūüôā

 

 

  • WANT TO JOIN ME?¬†I¬†have an excellent coach & team¬†The Medicine Shoppe in Sherwood Park. They‚Äôre very encouraging, very supportive and have lots of great ideas and advice to share, and I could use a weight loss buddy. They‚Äôve graciously made an offer for all of my friends that want to join me in this adventure. If you let them know that you read this blog and want to join my Dream Team of Losers¬†(yes, I‚Äôve given my little group a name), they‚Äôll take 50% off of your registration costs. If you want more info, send me a message. Or¬†reach out to the Coach here.

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Expecting Something Different

I know that we’re supposed to forgive and forget, and for the most part I’m able to do that. Well, not so much the forget part, but I am pretty good at forgiving. You hurt me and/or my family, and sincerely ask for forgiveness and you will get it. What you won’t necessarily receive is trust and “forgetfulness”.

Problem is, so many times we expect people to react differently than how they always have. We assume that they are going to see our despair or disappointment and not do that again. But then it happens, again, and we just stand there and take it.

Who’s fault is that? Theirs or ours?

At what point should we stop accepting the same old, same old and demand better? When should we stand up and say, I love you but you can be a real jerk. What day do we look at ourselves in the mirror and decide that enough is enough and just walk away?

So often in life, we begin relationships with people and we fall so deeply in love, or like and life that we spend a lot of time turning the other cheek. We decide that there are so many awesome things about them that¬†we can just accept these little quirks or differences. And usually, that’s okay.

Slurping soup, leaving laundry all over the floor, stealing your shoes, listening to crappy music or loving really dumb movies. Those things are okay … annoying as all get out, but okay. But when their fun is at your expense, or when their needs and desires are ALWAYS put ahead of yours, something is wrong.

Relationships won’t always be equal, but more often than not, they should be. There should be more joy than sorrow, more peace than strife and more team than leader and follower. You shouldn’t have to sit there waiting, and hoping and expecting people to become something different from¬†how they’ve¬†always been. It is possible, but it shouldn’t occur at the expense of you.

I want to say that’s it and that even though this relationship means so much to me, I need to matter too. I want to turn around and run away.

But I can’t.

I don’t want to give up on people. I want to continue to expect more. So instead of walking away, I’m choosing to hang on¬†for hope and¬†change and something better. But from now on, I’m done accepting treatment that is less than anything I deserve.

I will expect, but I will not accept.

Now where are you in this equation? What relationships in your world need to have a playing field levelled out? Fix them. We need each other.

 

Everyday, Ordinary People

As most of¬†you know, my husband and I are foster parents and have been for the last 13 years or so. We’ve had over 20 kids enter our lives and that number continues to grow.¬† My parents started fostering when I was 12 years old so I’ve also been blessed to have many foster brothers and sisters to call my own. This has been my “story” for the past 28 years and frankly it’s all I know.

People tell me all the time that the job¬†we do is amazing. How much they admire us, and how they could never do what we do. I’ve heard that the world needs more people like us. That we must have the patience of saints. People thank us, congratulate¬†us and pat¬†us on the back.

But here’s what I have to say to all of that.

We are no¬†different from anyone else …¬†we just chose to try.

What¬†we’re doing isn’t rocket science, or anything that’s¬†really all that out of the ordinary.¬†We are parenting the exact same way but with extras.¬†We are still the same parents as we were before they moved in. We are exactly like you.

Our lives are so not perfect, just like yours. We have really, really bad days, just like you. We pray for more patience, more income and more free time in our days. We laugh, we cry and we have complete and total meltdowns. Just like you.

We have struggles and challenges that are “different from yours, but that’s all they are, they’re different. We see hurts and pain up close and personal, but we’re all surrounded by that, we just don’t always notice. We have more bodies sitting around the table at meal times, but who doesn’t like having company over? Our world is quite often chaotic, but isn’t yours? We just call it for what it is….Life.

Being a foster parent isn’t something reserved for a “special kind of person”, it’s a journey¬†worth considering.¬†It truly is an honour and a privilege to be able to say that I’m someone’s Mom. And in my case, those blessings are many.

If you’re even remotely considering giving it a try, send me a message. I’d love to help you make a difference. All it takes is everyday, ordinary people willing to give kids a chance. Are you that person?

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

I see nothing and I REALLY need to see.

Its been an interesting couple of weeks in my weight-loss, get healthy journey. I’ve had my pants fall¬†down in public, all of my shirts have become off-the-shoulder looks and my shoes are too wide for my feet. People are starting to notice a change in my appearance, which is nice to hear, because I’m¬†just not seeing it. I’m¬†feeling it, but I’m not seeing it.

I feel like I should be doing better, I should be losing quicker, and my changes should be more obvious. Somewhere in the back of my head, I know that I need to get my head to shut-up and just be satisfied with my progress so far. Why is that so hard, why do I continually get stuck on the big picture and just how stinking far I have to go?

I’m discouraged and disheartened, but I’m not really. I’m completely unsatisfied with¬†my progress, but I’m also¬†pleased.¬†How does that even make sense? My brain annoys me.

So instead of focusing on¬†nonsense, ¬†I will wait and I will continue pushing forward. I’ll keep¬†eating¬†my protein, drinking my water and continually chewing my veggies. One day I’m going to look in the mirror and I’m going to see it. Until then, I’m trying to trust what I know.

I’m 22 lbs and 32 inches smaller. And that is something to be proud of.

fitness-inspiration1

I’m following the Ideal Protein Plan. IF YOU WANT TO JOIN ME ON THIS ADVENTURE, PLEASE CONTACT MY COACHES HERE. Be sure to let them know that April sent you.

Small Disclaimer at Bottom of Post: I am being compensated for sharing my Ideal Protein story with you.

Who are you following?

A few weeks ago, someone on Twitter asked the question, “what qualities do you think a leader should have”? And well, I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I think many of us don’t really think of ourselves as leaders because we’re, “Just Mom’s”. But guess what, that’s so far from the truth. In fact, we’re the first leadership example that our kids will see and frankly, we need to start taking that more seriously.

When you think of a leader in your community, what are the first things you think of? I hope that the words hard-working, diligent, intelligent and gracious come to mind. More often than not though, that’s not what we think of. We usually think things like impersonal, unapproachable, power-hungry, etc. For me personally, I think that’s a shame but quite often, it’s a reality.

We need to do better. We need to recognize the roles that we hold, and honor them. I truly believe that whatever we choose to do, we need to do it to the best of our ability. Our choices should be made with purpose and consideration. Especially when it comes to times and situations where we’re influencing others, such as our children, friends, colleagues, etc.

If you’ve been elected to public office, you need to remember that your job is to represent the people who¬†you serve. You are not in that position to bring glory to yourself or your office. You were elected to that role, take it seriously and do your stinkin’ job.

If you’ve been blessed with children, you need to remember that you are their leader and that those little faces are following your example. C’mon, how many¬†times have we caught¬†ourselves saying the exact same phrases that our Mothers said to us? Our children will become “us”, never forget that. Ever.

If you have a job outside of your home, there is always someone looking to you for help or instruction. These are the¬†moments that make strong leaders, don’t let them slip by. Even if you’re on the bottom of the¬†so-called ” corporate ladder”, there will always be a situation that can be used to encourage, promote or stand-out.

When you’re out with friends or family members, and you see that they’re being treated unjustly or are being the aggressors themselves. Stand up and say, “that’s enough”. We can never become our best if we’re being torn down or tearing others apart. Being a good¬†example is an excellent place for leadership to begin.

We are leaders at work, in playgroups, at church, while we’re driving down the road, or posting on Facebook. Leadership opportunities are around us ALL the time, embrace them and use them to make a change in the world around you.

Being a good leader has nothing to do with being a tyrant or bossing people around. Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that the louder and more aggressive individual is the one that should be leading the way. That doesn’t work.

Instead, look at leadership as an opportunity to lift up the people around you. Leaders look at the strengths and qualities in the people around them, and encourage them to use them to their best of their abilities. Leaders bear the brunt of responsibility while quite often letting the glory go to someone else. Leaders sometimes say No, but they don’t belittle or demean. Leaders treat people with grace while remaining humble themselves. Being a leader is NEVER easy, but it is always worth it.

I’m in no way saying that we shouldn’t work hard to achieve great things, so please don’t think that. Push forward for promotions at work, enjoy awards that you earn, and be proud of everything good that you do. Just always honor the journey that you took to get to the top, those struggles, trials and people left behind¬†are what helped you get there. As a leader in your field, use these opportunities to show grace and thankfulness.

Leaders challenge people to become better. To step out of their comfort zone. To shine. To grow. Leaders make a difference. They leave a mark. Their absence leaves a hole. They change the world. Leaders are normal, everyday people. Leaders are you and me.

Please don’t¬†EVER think that you are not a Leader, just make sure that the trail you’re blazing is worth following.

leader

2013 – The Year of Better

Change. That’s what this year is going to be about. I need a lot of change to occur in my world and I know that many of you are in the same place. Big changes, little changes. Outwardly apparent ones, and ones hidden deep within our heart. We don’t have to share them with each other or we can shout them off the rooftops as a declaration.¬† It is time to be true to our hearts and minds, and make this year count.

I don’t think this year should be like all of our other years of resolutions and goals. It needs to be about something bigger, something better. We are more than “someone who needs to lose weight, or should stop smoking or needs to give up coffee”. 2013 needs to be greater than that. I’m going to make this year count and push myself in ways that I’ve never done before. I¬†am going to change, and I’m hoping that some of you will be joining me.

changeIf you’re wanting to hop on my train of change, my challenge to you is this …. Be the best YOU that you can be.

Take responsiblity for your words and actions. Remember that your words have the ability to lift someone up or knock them flat on their face. Choose words that make people think as opposed to putting them on the offensive. Picture yourself in their shoes and how it would feel to have the things you’re speaking, spoken over yourself.¬† Don’t think of yourself as a judge and jury, there’s enough condemnation in this world already. If someone shares something in confidence, honor that gift and shut your mouth. If you speak unkindly, apologize. If you’re mistreated or treated unfairly, take the high road and be the bigger person. Your “character” needs to be more important than your appearance or your social standing. Focus on what really matters.

Take care of your physical body. For some of us, that means we need to lose significant amounts of weight and make some huge changes in our lives. But for others, it means that we need to get off the couch and go for a walk. It’s time to eat better, and make healthy choices. It means getting enough sleep, and not living on coffee and energy drinks. We all know what we need to change to make our physical bodies better. Do that.

Guard your heart and mind.¬†Do not be so quick to give “yourself” away to people who aren’t willing to do the same for you. Be a good friend, be helpful, be kind but be realistic. Don’t give people all your power and the ability to tear you down.¬†You do not need to share every thought and feeling that you have with the whole world, unless you’re ready for the consequences and/or judgement that comes from that. Don’t use Facebook as a diary¬†because frankly, many of your “friends” really don’t care all that much about “you”.

Accept that you don’t always need to be “right”. It’s okay to passionately believe in something or someone, just as it’s okay for others to believe the exact opposite. Different opinions are what keep our world turning, interesting and fun. People are going to hurt you. They’re going to question your beliefs, and ideas, your thoughts and your dreams. Sometimes it’s worth fighting for and other times, it’s not worth your time and energy. Watch for those moments¬†and choose¬†your response wisely.¬†Sometimes being “right” means turning the other cheek and walking away. I would rather be known for being quiet, or full of grace than as a person screaming “I’m right”¬†from the corner. I know my truths, and that’s good enough for me.

Be a living example of what you want the world to be. If you want bullying to stop, stop bullying other people. Quit laughing at inappropriate jokes and joining in on “harmless teasing”. If you want your children to be confident and kind … model that for them. Don’t talk about being fat or ugly or making hateful statements in their presence. If you want change to occur in your community, go out and volunteer or lend your voice. If you see someone who needs help, help them. Open doors for strangers, let people with smaller loads of groceries go in front of you in line. Shovel the neighbours sidewalk, help a senior citizen get to their vehicle safely. When someone cuts you off in traffic, smile and let it go. Buy some food for the food bank, even if it’s only a single box of macaroni. Small things make a huge difference in our world. Each simple act of kindness can spark a chain of wonderful and that is what our world needs now more than ever.

Honor the important people in your life.¬†Don’t just talk about how much you love and appreciate the people around you. Show them. Be a helping hand or a listening ear whenever it’s needed. Don’t just show your love with gifts or money, share your time and energy. Be thoughtful. Be present. Recognize and honor your loved ones in the same way you want them to honor you. The people who you consider important enough to call your loved ones are special, don’t let pride or disagreements stop you from enjoying them.

Be what you say you are. If you’re someone’s best friend, act like that. Defend them and lift them up. If you’re in a relationship, honor that. Don’t share your partners shortcomings or faults with others. Try to be happy more often than angry or frustrated. If you’re a parent, be a parent, not a best friend. Our children need us to teach them, not treat them as equals. If you have a job, work diligently. You may hate it, but if that’s where you need to be right now, why not it approach with joy instead of dread. If you’re claiming to be christian, respond with grace and love and understanding. You are not God, stop trying to be him. Stop saying all the right things just to make you or your situation¬†look better. Truth will always find a way, and if you’re hiding behind lies or bad will, you are not going to like the outcome.

As you can tell, a lot of my “changes” for the better involve “me” changing. It’s so easy to get caught up in blaming others for whats wrong in our lives, that we quite often forget to look in the mirror. I truly don’t believe that change can¬†happen if we’re not willing to look at ourselves first. I’m not expecting you to compromise yourself, what you believe in or to take abuse of any kind. What I’m wanting you to do is … do better. When we change, the world will change around us.

I’m done expecting the world to make me happy or get better in spite of my choices or lack of motivation. I’m done with “waiting for something better” while continuing to do everything the exact same way that I’ve always done it. It starts with you.¬†It starts with me. And that’s exactly where I’m starting. I am changing ME.

ghandi

Want to stop bullying? Then stop it.

I’ve written a couple of different blog posts about bullying … one explaining my take on the situation and another one showing how I’ve tried to deal with it in the past. In both of them I talked a lot about building our kids up so that bullies don’t have to power to take them down. I still wholeheartedly believe in that but I think it’s time that we as a society stand up and take responsibility for our part in perpetuating this insanity. Children look to us to lead them and guide them. They copy what we do. We are their guides and leaders. We need to take that more seriously. Now.

I’m thankful that people are finally¬†really acknowledging¬†bullying and the horrific¬†ramifications¬†that¬†it brings about.¬†What makes me sick is that it took the death of a young girl to make people take notice. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first death as a result of bullying. We should’ve¬†taken better notice a¬†long, long time ago. My hope is that these same people who have jumped on the “bullying is bad bandwagon” will actually do something to make a change and not just use this event as a way to make themselves look righteous. Please let that be what happens.

If you want bullying to stop, we as a society need to stop bullying. Stop telling and laughing at fat jokes. Quit pointing out “gingers” and making ignorant comments about them. Stop commenting on buck teeth, freckles, greasy hair, pimples, etc, etc. Quit pointing out the faults of everyone around you and/or laughing along when someone makes ignorant remarks.¬† Next time you get the urge to call someone fat or ugly, picture your daughters face on their shoulders. Not so appealing now is it? Grow Up.

Don’t post on Facebook how upset you are by bullying and how awful it is, and then go and post ignorant “jokes” or pictures. Don’t say that bullying is terrible and then start all of your sentences with “I don’t mean to be rude”, or “no offense”.¬† Don’t shove people out of your way in the grocery store, don’t butt in line, don’t belittle people in lower positions than you. Be respectful. Be polite. Be a decent human being.

When your children make ignorant comments about peers or people in their world. Correct them. When they tell inappropriate jokes. Correct them. When they comment that someone is poor or stupid or ugly. Correct them. Please don’t agree or laugh with them. You are their example. When the opportunity to teach your children arises, use it. Talk about how we’re all different and that it’s okay. Discuss how some people look different because they can’t help it. Teach them about money, and how not every has as much or has more than your family. Explain to them why they’re being corrected. They’ll get it sooner than you think, and their bad habits will be replaced with kind and compassionate ones.

Really teach your kids their worth. No one should ever think that they need to lift their shirt and bare¬†their breasts to make someone like them. Teach them that they don’t need the approval of others to be valuable. Show them that they don’t need to be “sexy” to get attention. Teach them that the number of friends they have on Facebook or the numbers of TBH’s they participate in, is in no way reflective of their value. Kids need to be built up and reminded DAILY of how awesome they are. If they are getting approval and encouragement at home, they’re not going to seek it out everywhere they go. Kids still want to fit in and belong, that’s never going to change. But if they feel secure and “know” their worth, it’ll be a lot tougher for someone else to take advantage of them or beat them down. Period.

Teach your children that they don’t need to share every little piece of themselves with others. Facebook , Instagram and Twitter are not diaries. Pictures and words are forever, help them understand that. Talk to them about online predators, and REALLY talk to them. If you’re going to allow your children to use social media, take the time to figure out how it works. Learn what texting shortcuts mean. Never assume that your child is smart enough to know when they’re being lied to or scammed. And on the flip-side, don’t assume that your child would never behave inappropriately online. Kids that are normally shy or quiet will quite often open-up online because it’s so anonymous. They can hide behind a fake persona and become anything their minds can imagine.

Consider setting up a “fake account” with a picture of someone cute. Pretend to attend another local school, pick common “likes” to your kids – food, sports teams, video games. Then send your child a¬†friend request¬†and see what happens.¬†If they don’t initially accept it, try again. Add a note to¬†your request saying something like, “we used to play ball together” or¬†whatever.¬† Once they befriend you, starting asking questions. Will they give you pictures when asked for them? Will they tell you where they go to school, share their phone number, address, etc, etc? If you invite them to an awesome party, will they agree to go? Maybe your kids will surprise you and will never¬†accept your¬†request but if they do, use this to show them just how easy it was to get them talking. Predators do this¬†EVERY DAY.

We need to change what is normal. And what is expected.¬†Children aren’t sexy. Physical appearance doesn’t determine your worth. Money does not equal power. Domestic Violence is not cool and should not be ignored. Movie stars, pop icons and their lifestyles are not reality. Please figure out a way to help your children see that and believe it. We need to set higher standards for our children and ourselves. Stop accepting¬†wrong behaviour¬†as normal.

Frankly, we as adults also need to recognize the power that we have. Our words bite just as much as those of a teenager. We are just older and “smarter” and a little bit braver. We somehow find ways to justify our behaviour because we “know” that we’re right. We’re educated, churched and have lots of life experience. Quit mistaking those things as “rights to abuse or bully”.

Politics, religion, ideals and opinions will always be fodder for bashing. Instead of joining in on the bandwagon of crazy behaviour, listen. Hear what people have to say, and then agree or disagree. If you have a concern or you don’t understand something, ask about it. So many of our “fights” are a result of mis-information or blatant gossip. Before you make a judgement, make sure you have all the facts. Agree or Not, doesn’t really matter. Your response is what’s important. Hatred should never be an option.

Bullying is a horrible, horrible thing but it’s just a symptom of something bigger.¬†As we all move forward, working towards change,¬†please think of this one simple word. Respect. Respect for yourself, and respect for the people around you. If we could all just focus on that, the world would be a much happier and safer place.