Positive way of effecting change

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7274
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Positive way of effecting change

Post by SilentDawning » 13 May 2012, 14:33

Well, the bullying story has been developing. As you know, my family have been voting with our feet in our Ward, which has systemic problems. My daughter has been subject to sustained bullying for several years. Priesthood leaders have dealt with it by talking to the bullies, but it always returns.

We finally cut our attendance to once per month in our Ward, and just attended different Wards other weeks. At our Ward, my daughter attends Gospel Doctrine (she's 13) or I have a special class with her outside the building.

Well, after about two months of this, someone noticed. Asked my wife what the deal was. She described our reasoning, simply to help our daugther feel safe at Church, help her see that not all Church experiences are like the one she's been having in our Ward. This led to a YW leader meeting with her today to discuss her concerns, showed some love, which touched my daughter. People came up to us and talked to us, when normally we just go to our classes and reach out to others, and receive little interest from the active members of the Ward.

I feel this was a positive way to send a message to the Ward that something is dead wrong in that Ward. We didn't grandstand an exodus -- we reduced our involvement. We only shared reasons when people asked, and my daughter was very gracious and appreciative to the YW leader.

Funny, she was asked "why do you sit out at the back with your Dad during Sunday school???". She replied "because I can learn something and people aren't throwing things at the teacher" (a real problem in her SS class).

She wants to give flowers to her YW advisor who reached out to her. She was so pleased, saying "at least I know now that a YW leader cares enough to talk to me about it personally".

Not sure how we will proceed as the real problem is the character of the youth in the Ward, and that is not likely to change. We'll have to talk about it as a family and see what we do next.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

User avatar
bridget_night
Posts: 877
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:15

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by bridget_night » 13 May 2012, 14:59

Dear SilentDawning,

I am so glad this positive thing happened. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I went through something similar when my daughter was around 14-15. Two boys in our ward liked to harass her because she was different (bi-polar). They grabbed her purse in the church hallway one Sunday between classes, hit her with it and called her a 'ho'. She ran out the church crying and I had to get her to calm down. Fortunately, the YM's president saw what had happened and tried to comfort my daughter. These two boys happened to be from two wealthy high councilmen in our ward. They were spoiled little rich kids who loved to terrorize others. The YM's president told my daughter and I that he has tried to get discipline for these boys. He remembered when they first got set apart for the priesthood and during the blessing they were giving each other the finger. He stopped the setting apart and told them they did not deserve the priesthood. It is so important for leaders to step up to bad behavior in wards, even if it means standing up to prominent parents in the ward. I truly hope good comes from this for your family.

Bridget

User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5435
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by SamBee » 14 May 2012, 07:20

hey grabbed her purse in the church hallway one Sunday between classes, hit her with it and called her a 'ho'.
Nasty.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

User avatar
BeLikeChrist
Posts: 197
Joined: 27 Feb 2011, 04:50

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by BeLikeChrist » 14 May 2012, 08:14

i am sorry to hear about the bullying going on against your daughter. it seems very, very unfair. and you noted the two boys (young men) were sons of two wealthy high councilmen.

this isn't the first time i've heard of this type of situation. i once belonged to a ward where a couple's son became inactive because the bishop's son bullied their son. this happened before i got to the ward. the boy who was bullied was different but good natured.

and then there is Elder Bednar's talk in conference years ago about "being offended". i don't think his talk addresses this kind of situation.

my heart goes out to your family SD. i hope things will work out. have you considered talking to the fathers(and mothers) of these two bullies ? it might help tremendously. the outcome i guess you would hope for is that the bullying stops - ideally having these two young men brought to your home to apologize to your daughter and hopefully showing remorse for their crappy behaviour.

Mike

p.s. not fitting in at church can really suck for anyone at any age. i believe that is why many go inactive.

User avatar
mercyngrace
Posts: 517
Joined: 18 Jan 2011, 12:26

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by mercyngrace » 14 May 2012, 11:20

You know, I try to be a voice for peace but there are time when someone needs to open up a can of whoop-a$$.

These kinds of stories bring out the Southern mama in me...

edit: Oh, and I can fit an iron skillet in my pocketbook. Don't try me.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

User avatar
wayfarer
Posts: 1335
Joined: 09 Nov 2011, 15:59
Location: in ye olde world
Contact:

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by wayfarer » 14 May 2012, 15:08

mercyngrace wrote:You know, I try to be a voice for peace but there are time when someone needs to open up a can of whoop-a$$.

These kinds of stories bring out the Southern mama in me...

edit: Oh, and I can fit an iron skillet in my pocketbook. Don't try me.
that pocketbook must make quite an impression.... :o
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

User avatar
cwald
Posts: 3628
Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by cwald » 14 May 2012, 19:16

I hope this will work for you and the family in the long run. Good luck middle way mormon.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3528
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by hawkgrrrl » 14 May 2012, 23:20

Bullying is so ugly. Thoughts are with you.

Bridget - I love that the leader stopped the ordination when those boys were misbehaving. Good work! Parents need to step up, but I also realize that some kids have oppositional defiance and parents are somewhat helpless in those cases. But at least hold the boys accountable - thanks for sharing!

We had a boy in my ward growing up who had real problems. His parents didn't attend and he probably had a rough home life, but he would take it out on others. He would spit in the sacrament cups, for instance. My dad who was the bishopric counselor over the YM took him under his wing a lot, and we all befriended him and it seemed to get better for a while. Eventually he quit attending, but he was pretty regular for a while.

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7274
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by SilentDawning » 15 May 2012, 04:58

BLC: I agree with the philosophy that "conflicts should be handled at the lowest level possible in the organization". I use that all the time and it works very well.

The first level is for the child being bullied to object to the bullies and threaten to get parents and authority figures involved -- provided they are not exposing themselves to even greater risk in making that objection, and are willing to. It depends on the depth and physical risk of the bullying, as well as the bullied child's own resolve and social skills. In my daughter's case, she is not willing to do that.

The next step is for the parent of the victim to speak to the child who is doing the bullying directly, provided the bullying is not overly severe. You have to be careful as the parents of the bully are important stakeholders, so in the past, I have done it gently by saying "My daughter told me kids in this group are bullying her [or describe the incident generally], but she wouldn't tell me who it is. I know the other kids look up to you, so would you make sure no one bullys her in the future? Because if this doesn't change, we are reporting this to the leaders and parents, will find out who it is, and there will likely be stiff consequences for the people doing the bullying". Then you pat the kid on the back and and thank him for helping your daughter this way.

This fixed one incident of bullying. The parents only learned about the incident when they were about to move in a conversation with my wife and said they were impressed with how it was handled (smile).

If that doesn't work, talk to the parents. I have done this twice now. One parent said "I only get involved if there is physical violence" and the bullying was verbal in that case, so it was non-starter. The other time I met with the kid and the parent and shared what happened. I said I would be well within my rights to call the police and skip any involvement of the priesthood leaders as this was serious. They were shocked and the bully started crying, and I continued to lay on what the consequences would be if this happened again. Eventually they apologized, and this fixed the problem. My daughter and the bully are friends now.

The next step is to report it to the priesthood leaders if the parental conversation doesn't work. I had to do this with the binding and gagging and attempted forcible confinement bullying that happened to my daughter. There were two people involved in leading the assault against my daughter. I handled the one kid as in the previous paragraph, but i didn't know the other family at all, and they didn't speak English very well. So I reported the other incident to the priesthood leader, explained that I'd handled the one incident, and referred the other to the priesthood leader, who handled the other one. The girl apologized, with her parents present, to my daughter with my wife present.

The last incident, yet another girl pushing my daughter's head into the wall, i'd had it. These interventions can be effective, but when you have to deal with them regularly, it's better simply to find a different environment where the character of the people is better. They are draining, time consuming, and at some point, you have take matters into your own hands. And worse, my daughter started questioning if Church was really a good place to be. These incidents so far have never happened in her school. Is not a Church where we should see higher standards of getting along with others???

Funny, we are all very short in my family, and at different times, find ourselves subject to this kind of bullying. I personally have found myself a target for narcissists and arrogant people over the years. Even as an adult. It's happening to me again in another context right now, and I intend to start objecting, and have already made moves to replace the "bully" with someone else if he doesnt' change his ways.

The good thing about this situation is that it has finally stiffened my resolve to take a firm stand on issues like these. I don't tolerate them anymore, true church or not, ruffled feathers or not, lost opportunities or not. Zero tolerance.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3528
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: Positive way of effecting change

Post by hawkgrrrl » 15 May 2012, 07:50

SD - I am really glad you are sharing these stories. Many parents face situations like this with their kids and aren't sure what to do. Hopefully this will give people some good ideas of where to start.

Post Reply