I had an interesting dream last night and thought I would share, partly just because I found it weird and wonder what it meant, and partly because I think maybe there was a pearl of wisdom to be found in it about race relations.
In the dream my family and I were scared because a tornado was announced to be coming straight at our home. We don’t have a basement, so we ran to the neighbors’ house to beg them to take us in and give us shelter in their basement. The first family we asked said no. Interestingly, they were the same race as we were in the dream. The second family (a white couple with a baby) agreed, and not only did they take us in, but they offered to take in another family as well.
Now, at this point it is necessary to say that while I am about as white as you can get in real life, in the dream, myself and all my family were black, and it didn’t seem the slightest bit odd or out of place that our race had changed. The other family our neighbors agreed to take in was black as well. I remember looking around at all of us gathered together and thinking that the white couple was probably uncomfortable around that many black people. Weird thought to have, but it is honestly what I thought in the dream.
While we were all huddling together in the basement, the tornado hit and it was an experience I will never forget. It was SO painful physically. The force of the noise and the vibration was agonizing. In the dream all of us started screaming simply to try to release some of the tension in our heads and bodies from the vibration and furious sounds. I have no idea if that is what a real tornado is like or not, but it shocks me even now to think of how much it hurt in the dream and how vicious it was. It almost makes me wonder if past lives are a real thing, and if they are, if I didn’t endure a tornado in a past life. Maybe someone out there can tell me if that is anything like what a real tornado feels like.
That was pretty much the end of the dream. We all survived and the damage wasn’t really that bad to the house. But the whole race relations thing has been niggling at me all day. I feel there is something profound there for me to learn. If you want to take a shot at dream interpretation, please feel free to give it a shot in the comments!
“Stop Bullying” mixed media ACEO art.
I hate bullying. I hated it when I was a kid and I still hate it as an adult. Over my short lifetime of 31 years, I have been bullied for many reasons, among them:
- Physical looks (been called ugly, fat, big butt, butch, lesbian, etc)
- Personal interests and personality (been called a nerd, geek, dork, retard, stupid, immature, crybaby, goody goody, weirdo, etc)
- Social issues and awkwardness (probably due to my Asperger’s)
- Being too liberal
- Being too conservative
- Being a Christian and believing in God
- Not being the “right” kind of Christian or “Christian enough”
- Being a woman who speaks her mind and is intelligent (which apparently means you are a “bitch” or are not feminine enough)
Of course, I know there is some argument about what constitutes actual bullying, but I consider bullying to be anything said or done to intentionally hurt another person or to just be plain mean.
Unfortunately, I have also been on the other side of bullying, especially when I was younger. I have called other people names, talked about them behind their back and stood by silently while others tormented a particular person. I am not proud to admit that, but it is the truth. One thing that has shocked me as I have gotten older though is how much bullying still occurs in the adult world. It happens at work, it happens in social circles, it happens in politics, it happens in tabloids and media, it even happens in churches! And of course we all know it happens on Facebook and other social media sites frequently – especially between family members.
So what can we do about the bullying plague? How do we raise kids who won’t bully when even adults act that way at 40 and 50 years old? The only true solution I can see is to change ourselves. If I stop bullying and you stop bullying and then others stop bullying…hopefully someday the problem will be eradicated…or at least greatly reduced. So think twice before you call someone a name or mock them cruelly. Maybe keep your mouth closed when you are tempted to cut someone down behind their back or spread a rumor. Stand up for someone who is being torn down for no real reason. Keep debates and arguments about the actual subject at hand and don’t start personally attacking someone just because their opinion is different than yours. If deep inside you know that you are purposefully being mean or hurting someone…just stop it. It really is that simple.
I have had the pleasure of reading a couple other children’s books by Saragine Francois, so I was excited to get to review yet another of her illustrated books! This particular title is “The Clever Hen”, written by Saragine Francois and illustrated by Yoko Matsuoka.
As the title suggests, “The Clever Hen” is about an intelligent hen…one who has let her intelligence turn her into a snob. Ms. Cleever, as the hen is called, is a bird who likes to spend her time with intellectual pursuits. She has no time to chat with friends or to help out others in their time of need. She feels that her intelligence puts her above all the other barnyard animals, so she doesn’t think she needs any of them in her life.
Luckily, by the end of the story, our clever little hen learns a lesson. In an unexpected twist, Ms. Cleever finds herself thrust into the position of needing assistance from others. Of course, since she has so rudely turned others down when they needed help, no one is anxious to run to her rescue. The story does have a happy ending, but even more importantly, it teaches an important lesson about kindness and treating others the way you wish to be treated. The illustrations really bring the book to life and complement the storyline perfectly.
This story would be a great pick for children ages 3-9, especially for children who may have difficulties relating to their peers in a healthy manner. Kindness is a virtue that is needed at all ages and in all circumstances, so it is never too early to start teaching children this valuable lesson.
For more information about the book, or how to order it, please visit the author’s website, www.saragine.com.