Finding Your Voice: Bullying help for Families

The Following is an excerpt and first draft from my upcoming book project “Out of Harms Way”. It is a meant to be a resource book for families struggling with bullying issues, and is designed to bring hope and empower kids being bullied.

Out of Harms Way Chapter 3 “Finding Your Voice”

“Everyday you wake up with that same hard pit in your stomach. You don’t want to get up, you don’t want to go to school, that meeting, to work….and why?

You are being bullied, and the mere thought of going through it again today is overwhelming. In fact an estimated 160,000 kids skip school each day, because they are being bullied.

This chapter is all about the first steps in changing those feelings, in developing a plan of action to help yourself, finding your allies, and getting that lump out of your gut.

  1. Write it Down: You know there is a problem, you know someone is hurting you mentally, physically, or both. You know you want help, you know you need help, but every time you try and talk about it you are overcome with emotions, how it feels and how you are able to describe it seem so far apart. Your words don’t tell the real story about what is happening to you.

So the first step in speaking up is to take out a sheet of paper and let it all come out. In the middle of the paper write the words “why I hurt”, and draw a circle around it. Now start to draw lines from it with the names of the people who are hurting you. From those names draw more lines and list the ways they hurt you. From those list as many instances as you can, be specific with as much detail as you can, “when, where, how”. If the bullying is still going on keep adding to this list and keep as clear of a record as you can, and keep it clear of the emotions that your are going through, just list out the “raw data”, just the black and white details of what is going on. This sheet will serve as your record and reference you will show later to help end your bullying situation.

Now the second part of writing it down is just for you, take out another sheet of paper, or a composition book and again write “why I hurt” in the middle, circle it and start drawing lines from it. List out what is happening to you, then list out how all those things make you feel, all the thoughts and feelings that it cause, and anything else you want to get out of your head. This paper, this book is just for you, to explore, and deal with the emotions of what is happening. No one else needs to see this book, and no one else needs to, it is your space to express yourself, and really get in touch with how you feel, and what is making you feel this way.

  1. Clearly Identify the Problem

Go back to your “facts sheet” and look over it again, think about everything that is going on and identify exactly what is going on, the “who, what, when, where, and how”. No condense this story into a “30 second commercial” a short and to the point description of what is going on, to clearly define the problem, why someone else needs to step up and help you, and what you think needs to be done. 

Now comes the hard part, take that 30 second description and rehearse it. Get in front of a mirror, or your camera phone, anywhere you can see your face and go over your talk again, and again, you will cry, you will laugh, and you will feel uncomfortable, but keep going until you can go through the talk clearly, and hit all the important points .

It might feel silly, or unnecessary but, as we move into the next step you will be very glad that you went through the process, so when someone asks you “how can I help” or “what can I do”, or “how can we solve this problem” you will have an answer. You will know exactly what you think needs to be done because we have clearly identified the problem and what we think the solution is.

Exercise: In your work book in the back diagram out a bullying problem, real or imaginary and work out the details, all the particulars and make your own “30 second commercial”.

  1. Find the Right Ears

We have identified our problems, we have decided the best way to communicate our problems, we have practiced and rehearsed and know we are ready to make a leap of faith and ask for help, but who do we ask and why? What if they don’t care? What if they don’t help……all of the what if’s are swirling around your head right now, all of the doubt, and even all those things the bully is saying about you are probably bubbling up to the surface. Your self esteem, and self efficacy are at an all time low.

But…..don’t worry, it is normal, very normal. Everyone feels, or has felt that exact same way at some point or another, and getting through this initial resistance is part of getting your problem solved, one giant leap closer to getting past this ugly situation, and back to enjoying your life at school, or work, or whatever space a bullying is stealing from you. It is part of a process that you will build a lifetime of future success upon.

So don’t look at this part with dread, or fear, or doubt, embrace it, get excited, help is on the way!

4) Qualities of the right ears:

Now that we are ready to talk, let’s talk about who we can confide this issue with.

  1. Find someone you trust: pick someone you know that is trustworthy, that you feel safe telling your problem to. Parents, pastors, teachers, coaches, a close friend can be good places to start.
  2. Find Someone who can help: Your dog will listen to your problem, will care, and probably love to help…..but they are not in any position to. Pick someone who is in a position to make a difference with their words or influence. The old phrase “it’s not what you know…it’s who you know” comes to mind with this step. Look for a person of positive influence.
  3. Find Someone who is fair: We are not looking for revenge, someone to bully our bully, so we don’t need to look for a bigger bully, or someone who is only interested in your outcome. We need someone who will work with you, and the bully, who has everyone’s best interest in mind. Look for someone who can help…..everyone.
  4. Find a person of action: So many people talk, and so few walk. Look for a person of action, who will get things done, and won’t stop until the job is done, again we don’t just need someone to lend an ear like our faithful dog will, but someone who will lend a hand. Find a person of action.

Exercise: Make a list of people with the right kind of ears. Some of them might not have all those qualities, or you may be unsure about them, but we will always have doubts, and fears. We have to plan as best as we can and then become persons of action ourselves and speak up to someone we think will help.”

-Joshua Page,


The Impact of Simple Kindness

Problems, especially big ones, don’t seem to be in short supply these days. Sometimes we can’t help but feel somewhat helpless about many of the things that are going on in our world. In these times it is easy to lose our bearings, and even our faith in people.

The following story was a wonderful reminder to me about the impact we can have with the most simple actions, and how one seemingly small act can grow and multiply and have a profound affect on people, communities and the world.

-Joshua Page

“If you are in a hole….”

Are you one of the millions and millions of people who desperately want to change something about themselves? Is it your job, you appearance, your actions (or inactions). Maybe it’s your diet, the way you eat, and what you eat. It could even be your very physical health has been affected by how you are living. Just look at the number one killers of men and women in America, it’s not drive by shooting and falling piano’s. They are things that we have a degree of control over like high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and stress.

No matter what it is we are trying to change they is a common problem/excuse that is blocking our progress. Most of us feel trapped, like we are too far gone to make real and permanent change. That drastic measures must be taken in order to get us back on the path we want to be on. There is no shortage of plastic surgeons, two-minute ab videos, and diet pills to support that idea.

I was reminded of some good advice this morning that I think we forget sometimes. To me it is the most simple and best advice we ignore on a daily basis.

“If you are in a hole…Stop Digging.” 

Get out of your own way. Stop hijacking your own progress, your happiness, and your health. Don’t look for the easy solution, like the pill that burns fat so you can still eat the pink slime from McDonald’s! Get off the crash diet cycle, off the exercise hard for a month and then quit cycle.

The holes we have dug ourselves in are not impossible to get out of, but we have to stop digging and start climbing. Not in a mad scramble, but slowly, consistently, and not with just making it out as the goal, but making the smart choices to keep you out once you get there!

As always we invite anyone who is in a hole to come by the dojo. We don’t have any shovels, but we do have the tool for you to make your own ladder!

Joshua Page

Preventing the next Sandusky with Yello Dyno Training

As a Father of three young boys there are not many things more horrifying than the possibility that they may fall victim to a sexual predator. It is not a subject that we are used to, or comfortable talking about, but I cannot think of an issue where prevention is more crucial.

How do you prepare yourself, and your children to deal with this issue? What do you say, when do you say it? Are there things I can look for, how will I know if someone is dangerous to be around my child?

These are all questions I have personally fought with, and they are all questions that are answered, in a professional, organized, and tasteful manner by Yello Dyno training.

To me it is the best resource I have ever come across as a parent and as a teacher of young men and women.

I am fortunate enough to be involved with the next seminar being held in Hickory this February at the First United Methodist Church. I hope to see you and your family there. Moms and Dads be prepared to cry, and to learn about things we would rather not think of, but to me 1,000 tears of prevention are better than a single tear of a young person who has been a victim of a predator…of the predators known and unknown living among us in our community.

All of the Information and Registration are listed below.

(description and registration form are at the bottom of this email)

*As you know, the Yello Dyno child safety workshop will be Saturday, February 18th:      Grades K through 3rd will be from 1:00 to 3:00
              Grades 4th through 6th will be from 3:30 to 5:30.

  *The parent seminar will be Thursday, February 16th @ 7PM
(appropriate for parents of all-aged children)

*Many of you participated last year, but there will be a few differences this year – Josh and I decided to make this a fundraiser for the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center (suggested donation $5.00/ child – but not required!). Also, I am really trying to reach out to families in the community and bring kids in from outside the church, as well as (of course) our own kids.  Furthermore, the director of the CAPC will be attending and will be speaking at the parent seminar on Thursday.

*The parent seminar on Thursday is open to everyone – regardless of whether your children are age-appropriate for the workshop. It is slightly similar to the talk I gave to Trinity years ago, but has lots of new information and I think will be useful for all parents, even those of younger children. Also, the director of the CAPC is a wonderfully dynamic lady and I think you will enjoy hearing what she has to say about child sexual abuse and how we deal with it in Catawba County.

*Basically, I’m saying that I would be so grateful for your  support that night. If you can come I would love to see your friendly faces in the audience and show my director at the CAPC how fantastic we are at FUMC – and how we truly support the mission of the CAPC. 

*Childcare is available that night and is complimentary – I just need to know which kids are coming.

*Also, I need “Tricky People”. Many of you volunteered at the last workshop so you know what I’m talking about. I need some volunteers to help role play tricky situations with the kids (ex. an adult will approach a group of kids at the workshop and ask them to go with him/her in a car – saying things like, “Your mom is sick, it’s an emergency and she asked me to come pick you up” – then you role play the proper responses with the kids. We will go over all the proper responses during the workshop so the kids will know what to do.)

*Since we are hoping to expand the workshop to more kids, we will need lots of volunteers – please email me back if you think you could help!

*Below is the registration form and a description of both workshops. If you want to register your kids, feel free to just email me back this info:

Registration Information:

Name of 1st child attending______________________    Grade ______________
Name of 2nd child attending_____________________     Grade______________
Name of 3rd child attending______________________    Grade_______________
Name of any additional children____________________  Grade(s)_____________

Parent names_______________________________________________________
Parent email________________________________________________________
Parent phone________________________________________________________

Will a parent be attending the parent seminar on Thursday, Feb. 16th at 7PM?
Yes_____   No______

If yes, will you need complimentary childcare and for what aged children?_______

Description of children’s workshop:

This “Yello Dyno” workshop will teach your child about tricky situations when it comes to child abduction, molestation, bullying, and other forms of victimization by utilizing an active, but non-fearful format of instruction. It provides them awareness that a “tricky person” may come in the form of someone they don’t know, or (more often) someone they do know. This program teaches them how to approach the appropriate people for help if they are lost, and gives them the tools to ask the right questions in difficult situations. Parents often teach their children to avoid “strangers”. However, children are safer when they are empowered to recognize when someone is trying to trick them into doing inappropriate things, whether a stranger or not. Please join us for this afternoon of music, games, and fun – all directed at keeping our children safe!

First United Methodist Church – Christian Life Center
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Grades K to 3rd: 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Grades 4th to 6th: 3:30 to 5:30 PM

Description of parent seminar:

This seminar will teach parents: how to reinforce at home what children learn in the Yello Dyno workshop, effective ways to talk to their children about safety, and what NOT to say – for example, “Don’t talk to strangers” is the worst advice of all!

First United Methodist Church – Christian Life Center
Thursday, February 16, 2012 from 7PM to 8PM
Complimentary childcare available upon request

Please feel free to email me back with any questions!