Category Archives: Life

Stranger Danger

Mom label

From the time we are little, we are taught about the danger of strangers.  We’re told scary things about how they lurk with menacing plans.

My dad owned a small trucking company.  When I say small, I mean small as in my mom was the other driver, and we kids were the set-up crew.

Dad was often the stranger who stopped and helped the car on the side of the road with the hood up.  It wasn’t uncommon for us to find a lady with a car full of kids.  Dad would tinker on her car and soon have it up and running.  He always had extra fan belts, duct tape and rope on hand, saying “you never know when someone could use it.”  The people he helped often thanked him for his kindness with tears running down their faces, but Dad didn’t do it for the glory or any reward.  He knew it was the right thing to do, and he quietly helped strangers.

I remember one late night in the middle of a snowstorm Dad saw a car stopped on the side of the freeway.  He stopped and helped get the man’s car running.  As my dad was leaving, the man gave him his card and said he wanted to help out my dad in return someday.  That man was an internationally known dentist.  It just so happened that not long after that stormy night, I was in a serious bicycle accident.  I knocked out three of my teeth.  That man was the one that came to the hospital, and made sure I got the care I needed; even though my parents were in-between insurance companies.  This stranger saved large portions of my upper jaw bone.

My mom loves people.  She says she never meets a stranger.  One time we were out hiking, my mom went ahead to make lunch for us at the car.  When I got to the end of the trail, I saw Mom sitting on the tailgate of our tan Toyota pickup truck surrounded by bikers, laughing with them and giving out sandwiches.  I imagine some women would be horrified to find a pack of bikers around her vehicle, but not my mom.  She offered them food and drew them with her wit.  She learned one of them was a fan of Shakespeare.  I’ll never forget seeing them quoting Shakespeare to each other over sandwiches of white bread, bologna, and that horrid cheese you have to unwrap the plastic from.

For me, the worst pains of my childhood didn’t come from strangers.  It came from those who were in a position of trust who violated that trust.

So, when I became a mother I had a decision to make; to teach my children about the danger of strangers or to teach them that they needed to trust their inner voice, regardless of who the person was.  I chose the latter.

This is what I tell my kids.  If someone asks you to keep a secret from your parents it isn’t okay—ever.  If someone touches you in your privates it isn’t okay—ever.  I tell them they are people and their feelings and opinions matter.  They know the voice of what is right and what is wrong speaks inside of them.  I tell them to listen to that voice, and if they do, they will recognize danger.  I tell them that while using that voice as a guide, they can have enriching experiences like meeting a biker that is a poet; a dentist that will save their jaw; a single mom whose tears of gratitude will teach lessons.  I try to show them, like my parents showed me, that helping others when it may not be convenient is always the right thing to do.

Our new Polish friends

I think they’re learning it.  The other day at Costco I started a discussion with a couple in the line behind me.   As we stood out by the carts they told me they were from Poland.  We talked of hard work and their years of living under communism.  They told me what makes a good Kielbasa sausage and the pride they feel in their children. They hugged and kissed me, told me I was beautiful and a good mother.  Soon after, my daughter told me she wants them over for dinner.  I do too… and after our discussion, I had better buy the right Kielbasa sausage.

Missing Tooth

WARNING, pictures of my dental surgery are below.

Makeup Artist label

 

 

I admit it, I love my wiggle tooth, but I didn’t always.

When I was nine I knocked out my front three teeth, and the excessive dental work began.  I hated the gap, it made it so obvious what missing and what was so clearly wrong with me.  The funny thing is that those feelings of inadequacy were really coming from me, and not from others.  Sure, kids teased me, but what made the situation worse was how I handled it.  In my book How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness I teach how to get over self-taunts and about how to change the perceptions of ourselves to see the radiant women we really are.

I’ve learned in my nearly 20 years of working with women in beauty, that we all have an area, feature, or something we just don’t like about ourselves.  Yes, there are makeup tricks that can minimize facial features to bring out our best; but I really love helping women see how beautiful they really are, and helping them start the real work—seeing themselves differently.  I can meet with you one-on-one through Skype.  I am here to help you see that you are far hotter than you think you are!

Through helping other women, I actually got so good at changing my perception that I LOVE my wiggle tooth!  I’m not saying that I want to have a retainer with a tooth attached my whole life… but then again, maybe I do!  The tooth is such a relatable subject and always an instant icebreaker.  I often joke that “I am soooo HOT, I don’t need all my teeth!”  It is funny– I like funny.   But Mr. Greene doesn’t love it so much… I guess when he takes his wife out a on a Oral Surgery romantic date, he would like to look across the table at a full toothed smile.  It’s particularly annoying to him because we have already paid to have it repaired, and I’m putting it off because it’s so funny.  I guess I can see his point of view on this.

So, on October 16th, I reluctantly dragged myself to the oral surgeon.  I was so sad—not only would my adorable toothlessness be gone, but I knew it was going to hurt.  I’m not really one who thinks being drilled on is fun.  With that said, I firmly believe in choosing to have fun in any situation — here in this picture with the drill head attached to the recently placed implant.

I would like to point out that my lip color survived all of this with grace— meaning it stays on like a rock star!  I forgot to take pictures that night of my still perfect makeup because I was high—you know, legally drugged up—since it really hurts to get drilled on.  The important thing that every girl IMG_0079needs coming out of oral surgery is to know that her makeup is still there and looking awesome.  I can help with you with that part, but the missing-tooth hotness, you will have to take care of on your own.  I can show you how to bring out your best without looking like you tried too hard.  If you want amazing skin, and want to know where to put your makeup and the right colors just for you that stay looking perfect all day until you take it off— I can help with that.Tooth X-ray

As for my tooth, in four months, after the bone heals around the implant, I will get a new set of not-as-hot-though-very-expensive-teeth.  I firmly believe that Mr. Greene will miss the wiggle tooth.  Although, if we’re being completely honest… probably not.

 

 

The Words our Mirrors Say- a deeper look into the book

While writing my book, many people, places and events inspired me.  This blog is to help look deeper into the inspiration behind some of the moments in my book, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness.

The quote above was inspired by a woman I met at one of my Hotness Workshops.  She was a mother of four children that were close in age.  As so many of us do in that process, she lost a tinge of sanity, a lot of peace and the figure she had before she became a mother.  At the workshop, she shared with the group a powerful story of how she learned about positive self-talk.

One day, after she got out of the shower, she looked in the mirror and felt that what she saw was not flattering.  She was struck by the changes in her body.  She said, “I grabbed by tummy, disgusted with myself that I was this fat!  How could I let this happen?!  I started to call myself names… and then I felt something stop me.  Hadn’t this body birthed four healthy babies?  That was a gift.  I felt an impression that I was never to be so unkind to myself again.  I felt that it was from God.”

After she told her story, the room was quiet.  We all knew we were guilty of being unkind to ourselves and even bullying ourselves at times.  Her experience spoke that truth into our hearts, in a clearer way than I could ever express.  The truth was that God doesn’t want us to feel poopy about ourselves.  Don’t be mean to that amazing body you have!  It was made ON purpose for a purpose.

Choose to be nice to you.  Honor yourself with your thoughts.  Feed your mirror kind things.

If you want help with this, my book is available by clicking here.

Jamberry Nails

The company Jamberry nails has a very cool concept.  Instead of waiting for what feels like eternity (at least to me) for your nails to dry, you can use these nail wraps.  They’re made from vinyl and once you know what you’re doing, it’s really easy to apply.  Even better- the wraps last for weeks.completed nails

You all know I do makeup, all day long.  Because of that, I love long-lasting, easy beauty.  I love looking great without the fuss.  I’ve found Jamberry fits in perfectly with that mentality.  They’re gorgeous and I particularly like them on my toes.

So, when Jamberry called me to speak for them, I was not very dignified on the phone.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to speak for a company that does something so cool.

jamberry logo

Jamberry organized an amazing show for their executive level leaders, and I brought the Hotness™ to share.  While I know you’re dying to hear the details, I can’t tell you all about it because they asked me to participate in the same show again.  I’ll be traveling with them to Orlando, Florida in January.  Jamberry treated me very well and even gave me the swag bag they gave their hardest working leaders.  All of the attendees received a copy of my book at the show.

Recently, I also spoke at “The Women Empowered Conference” put on by the Ogden/Weber Chamber.  They gave each attendee my book in the swag bag.  It’s such a thrill to be able to speak and have the attendees be able to learn more about How to Embrace their Inner Hotness!

I Killed the Little Pig…

Kids with Guinea pigI killed my kid’s guinea pig.  I didn’t mean to.

I imagine being a guinea pig can’t be too exciting- living in a little cage, walking in your own poop- and for a reason that I can’t understand- you (the guinea pig) pooped and peed in your own food bowl.  This sort of behavior doesn’t seem to bother the little pigs.  They are super cute and the kids love them.  I like them too.  I had to pick a favorite, it would be Ricky.  Ricky wasn’t prone to peeing on you like Lucy would.   Technically Ricky was girl (for better population control).  My son “owned” Ricky and my daughter “owned” Lucy.  Back to my issue— I just can’t imagine how living in your own mess in a small cage can be a good life.  

I had this dream that we portioned off an area on the front deck with chicken wire and make an enlarged enclosure for the piggies.  They could run wild, poop and pee to their heart’s content– and with weekly cleanings, such a large area wouldn’t be so bad.  Full of this vision, my daughter made little houses from boxes with doors and windows cut in.  She attached several of them with little tunnels.  We even put up a blanket for shade and as a wind breaker, and an area for the guinea pigs to hide from the Kestrel hawks in our area.  Really, we thought of everything for their comfort and happiness.  We just knew life for Ricky and Lucy was going to be awesome at the Greene house.  We brought out their little cage and opened the door to their new enclosure—one that provided almost total freedom.  We reveled in them exploring.  I thought I was rocking the mom job.Spoiled Guinea Pig

Well, evidently guinea pigs are susceptible to heat stroke— I found Ricky peacefully dead the next day.  I felt sick.  I ended up telling them that night… and tears flowed, sad bitter tears… and I remembered the pain of my cat dying when I was young (I found my cat, a dead (partially eaten) bird… and my young CSI mind deduced the cat choked on a bird bone.)  The passing of this guinea pig was the first Pet Death of my children’s life—and it was my fault!  My hubby, in just five minutes of Google-smarty-pants research discovered that guinea pigs don’t deal so well with the heat.  I didn’t even think of that when I made their awesome new home.  I thought the outdoors would be heavenly for them… Bad pun? 

That night, as midnight was approaching, I was outside with a head lamp burying our dearly departed guinea pig.  My neighbors, who were up late painting, had a horror movie moment when they looked out the window and saw me burying things in the dark of the night.

So…I killed Ricky.

pig4I couldn’t apologize to my kids enough.  They didn’t seem to blame me, but I sure felt bad.   When kids are young, a mom can kind of solve everything.  I want to protect my kids, hold them and make life as perfect as possible, while I prepare them for everything I can—and just like I tried for Ricky, I want to make a good home for them.  When I was looking out for dangers for the guinea pigs, I thought of the wind and of the small Kestrel hawks that frequent our street; and I tried to protect Ricky and Lucy from those things.  But it was what I didn’t think about—what I didn’t see as a threat—that ended up getting to Ricky.  As I held my tear-soaked kids and wondered what snot was being wiped on me, I felt guilty.  My kids are getting to the age that I can’t soothe every pain with the ease that I could when they got a stubbed toe at age three—and now, they’re old enough that I may not see what dangers are lurking for them.  The one thing I hope is that I am being a good enough mom that they will have the good sense to escape the hawks of life, and that they will ask for help when they need it.  

We all have a weakness to something.  For a guinea pig, it’s the heat (how is that possible?  They are from South America!  It’s hot there.)  For me, I like to sleep.  I love sleep— it gets in the way of getting everything I would like to accomplish done.  I also have a weakness when dealing with manipulative people.  I don’t like it.  I think I would die of exposure if I had to live in poopiness. We all have our thing. 

My daughter told me she forgave me because it was an accident and she knew I was trying to do something good.  My son told me that he was glad that Ricky didn’t suffer and he didn’t blame me either.  I guess that is the most we can do— just do our best and hope we don’t kill the tender feelings of others.  We can go through our lives and try not to cause pain purposely and when we do—we can take responsibility for it.   We can apologize, and when needed, stay up late (even when we are tired) to bury the pain we cause and ask for forgiveness.

There is something else we should learn from guinea pigs— don’t walk around in your own poop.  If you have read my book you know what I am talking about.  What does that have to do with my story?  Not much, but it’s still a pearl of wisdom. 

I should mention…we have two cats they are doing well.

I was on Fox 13 Good Day Utah yesterday!

I had the opportunity to be on Fox 13’s Good Day Utah segment yesterday to discuss my book, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness, and the importance of self-esteem and being nice to ourselves.

Thank You Cards

Being the artsy-fartsy type that I am I love to play with paper! Back in the day was an avid scrapbook-er. Kinda hurts my heart to say back in the day because I would like to think I still am a scrapbook-er. The reality is that in writing my book something had to give. I have all the supplies – REALLY it’s a problem – and over Christmas vacation I decided I was going to make a bunch of Thank You cards. In the process of this I re-discovered my love of cutting, gluing, and design with paper.

When my kids are getting ready for bed and family prayer they brush their teeth, get in their pajamas (it’s a process). I’ll sneak into my corner (where all my supplies are and it’s still in calling distance for “brush longer” and “put those clothes in the hamper”) I’ll make a card or two as the kids obediently (fingers crossed) go about their routine.

Kids are always watching and learning. We don’t always know what lessons we are teaching. I thought I was teaching a lesson about proper two minute teeth brushing. But kids are always full of surprises.

This month has had some extra stressers. Some good and some not so good. I have been trying to manage the demands of being a mom, wife, daughter (my parents live in our basement and don’t have the best health), makeup artist, team leader, author, and speaker. It’s not always easy to balance them all. Sound familiar? This is the state of being a woman. We think that we can do it all and the problem is that usually we can.

My daughter’s school is on break and she has been with me throughout the day as I do a makeup demos. She colors as I talk on the phone with clients and even, at moments, fights with her brother just as I am being offered a speaking opportunity.. love that? Wednesday, she was in my scrapbooking corner. They have papers in my corner that they have free reign with. I was glad that she was happily creating and engaged to allow me to attend to other tasks: Making dinner with one hand and checking my day’s to-do list with the other.

My daughter brought me a stack of her handmade cards, “Mom these are for you. They are for your clients. I will make them for you so you can rest more. You say ‘Thank You’ a lot and now it will be easier!” It brought tears to my eyes. She worked so hard on them and she did it for me and the lucky women who will get one of these works of art. The kind of art that we moms love. The kind of art that cannot be duplicated because she is only eight for so long.

Her friend at dance on Thursday bought her a Gatorade. She immediately told me: “Mom I need to give her a Thank You card!” A little later a card was made. And another for Grandpa who is in the hospital recovering from knee surgery. Her brother shared his candy bar (well just a little corner of it) and he got a Thank You card too. There is nothing better than getting a Thank You card.

I was tucking her in bed and thanking her for her kindness to me. She said mom, “I think of others before I think of myself. That’s what Grandma says and she is right.”

Being a mom is the best work I do. It is more important than the applause I receive as a speaker, more than the reviews on my book, or the success of my team, more than the gratification of helping a woman see her beauty— I love what I do the impact I am able to have to help others. But more than all of that I am thankful that my three kids are watching, learning, and serving others too.

Send a thank you card. People love getting them. Especially if they are made by small loving hands.

 

Confidence

For my entrepreneur friends:

Do you have confidence in you? Do your clients? Do they believe you will take good care of them? Does your family believe in you?

Friday, I was working a Christmas boutique when a lady called my house looking for a distributor. My eleven year old son answers. He picks up the phone by saying, “This is the Greene’s. How may I help you?” Echoing what he has heard me say thousands of times, “This is Leta, how may I help you?”

The woman was desperate to purchase LipSense for her sister as a gift. She had called two other distributors (fortunately not on my team) leaving messages. None of them had called her back.

She then calls my house. She can tell that the man answering the phone is young. But he is professional and told her, “My mom is at an expo. Here is her cell phone. She is awesome and will take good care of you.” He has heard me say to clients “I will take good care of you” and more importantly he has seen me take good care of my customers.

She believed him called me and ordered several tubes of lip color. She asked if there was any way I could deliver it to her tonight. I asked if it was okay for me to drop it after my expo around 8:30 pm. She said that was great and was immensely grateful.

I called my son telling him what a great job he had done and that I would give him $7 (a large amount of money to his 11 year old economy) as a 5% commission on the sale. He was busting proud bragging to his grandparents and dad all day!

At the expo the building was cold. Very cold. The heater was not working properly. And it was only 55 degrees. I am very tired of being cold, I’m tired– and honestly feeling grumpy. Walking out I accidentally spill my tester kit of 100+ tubes of lip color, eye shadows, concealer, and foundations all over the ice. Remember, I’m tired, cold, and now I have to bend over and un-glove my hands to pick up tubes from the icy ground below. I want to cry. I don’t have the best hip and bending in the cold is the last thing I want to do. I decide not to cry. My tears may freeze.
Two wonderful men saw me struggling in the parking lot to pick up numerous items from the icy floor and came to help. Thank you to my rescuing knights! One man pointed his car lights so that we can divide my applicators, that are now dirty, to the trash, and put my testers back into my kit to be cleaned and organized later. Hopefully where it’s warm!

As I headed to the woman’s house I put on my happy face carrying in my container of inventory– Not only did she order significantly more upon seeing all the pretty colors and my impressive inventory she also purchased my book for her and as a gift for the boxes awaiting to be mailed out from her Santa’s workshop. We had a delightful conversation not only do I have a new customer I also have a new friend.

Driving home I’m still tired, still cold but with $420 extra income. I’m thinking about how remarkable my son is and it hits me he has modeled me. I’m teaching him something incredible. Old time values that seem to be forgotten of doing what I promised I would do even when it’s hard, teaching kindness, courtesy– I’m incredibly thankful as a mother that I’m an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur takes confidence in myself. It’s not always easy but you know life isn’t easy but the rewards are greater than the money. Don’t get me wrong I like money, the reward of involving my children in what I do and how I do it is well– priceless.

2 Dead

 

Two boys, ages 12 and 15, are dead. We read headlines everyday: shootings in schools, missing, hurt and exposed children– It is upsetting to think about. Fortunately those we love are safe, that is what we tell ourselves. We are safe. It wont happen to us. The closer the incident the more our comfort zone of safety is striped away.

My family lives in South Jordan, Utah. One of the safest states in the country and in one of the safest towns. Our neighborhood is Daybreak. It is so idealistic that they advertise picture perfect beautiful people, homes, and yards with the tag line “This is getting good”. It is good. It is Daybreak good.

Last Friday two boys were killed, the names were just released. The details of why are still not clear. Was it an accident? A suicide? We don’t know. What we do know is that mothers have lost their precious children. She will live and they are gone. It is not the right order of things to bury a child.

I know because I have buried a child. My Katelynn would be four. Her death was not an accident. It was not violent. It was her body giving out due to rare medical issues. It gnaws at me constantly, I have to choose to be happy to go forward. I find comfort that her death couldn’t be prevented. But for these two boys – Everything that went wrong could have been prevented. How does a mother deal with that? I wish I could offer her some advice that would help her! Even though I have sat by a grave site wondering how I could go on. I know that I have nothing to offer her. It is not the same. None of us really know how another person is feeling, what their experience is — Yet we think we do and we make judgments all the time. What we think we would have done, said and how strong we think we would be or not be and we don’t even really know ourselves until we are there. I hope for her that she will find the strength needed. I plead for her that judgments and hurtful comments of others will be filtered out. I pray that in her dark moments where the grief literally knocks her off her feet that she will be able to kneel and feel the guidance and comfort that only God can give. I know in those moments for me – Where breathing felt like a betrayal — that prayer helped, and helps still.

I don’t think I know them. I don’t know. One of the boys is just older than my son… I have spoken twice at the school. Was that boy in the audience? We are all wondering why and how our children will be effected. We are all wondering about the poor mothers. It is just so sad, tragic, and wrong to see a life so young… gone. We all want to think something so sad would not only never happen to us but that we will be safe from it.

When I hear about a shooting, a death far away I can offer nothing but prayers. I can send humanitarian packets.. I can donate. Now this is here in my neighborhood. I want to take food over. I want to hold her hand… and then I realize I might as well be a world away. I think I can do those things, but really if I don’t know her she doesn’t want me to hold her hand, she doesn’t want my tears. The tears of a stranger. I want to do those things to comfort me. So I can hope that her friends and family rallies to her side… you know the people she actually knows. I can go to the funeral and I hope that our neighborhood shows up in force to silently offer our support. I can donate money and may be able to take a meal over but in the end she will be hurting at times I could never touch her with comfort. When really even those close to her can’t. So we pray. I pray for her. I pray for the boys.

The day before if you had asked me where I lived I would have told you about the idealistic setting, the low crime.. now when it is closer to home. I am so aware that it is not my home. And it could be. It could be any of our homes. Even in all the perfection and care of our lives – Horrid, awful things could happen even to us. So instead of thinking, we are all safe, I hope that the one thing I could give as advice. Not to the mothers of the boys but to us: To not judge her, to not judge her boy. Because judgment is just a way we hold others away from our hearts and count ourselves blessed. It could have been, and could be our child there, dead. So we should pray and give all the love we can. And be grateful for today. 

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What’s your SuperPower?

I heard this story of a mother telling her son to wait for her at the corner. Instantly, the son runs past the corner. The mother was frazzled. When she caught up to the boy she was angry that he didn’t follow her instructions. She asked her young son, “Why didn’t you wait for me at the corner?!” The boy, in perfect innocence, says, “Mom what is a corner?”
The kid wasn’t trying to disobey, he just didn’t understand the words his mom was using.  We say a lot of thing to each other and to kids, but do they really understand what we are saying?

Just like bullying; we hear that word a lot in a world of the faceless social media. It’s easy to hurl insults and not see or think of the hurt we are inflicting. Words just typed can be very easy to misunderstand as they have no inflection, no body language and no facial expressions to clarify their meaning. Words in of themselves yield immense power but we are not always able to control the direction.

What does the word bullying mean?
To single out someone.
To make fun of them with words or physically harm them.
Purposely verbally or in writing attack someone.

Bullying isolates and creates fear.

Children often don’t know what the word “bullying” means. Yet they probably hear it everyday at school. When I have asked young children if they have been bullied they say ‘yes’. I get down, look them in the eye and ask them what happened and I hear stories like ‘a kid butted in line in front of me’ or ‘they didn’t play with me’. Do we have a definition problem here? I have also heard stories that fit my definition of what bullying, kids being made fun of for something that is different about them. I believe that when we choose to see our differences as a strength then we are more confident and can thwart the would be bully. Bullies are really just insecure and are seeking to put others down to feel more powerful, popular, liked and above all to not be a target themselves. As children are experimenting with cause and reaction, developing their sense of who they are bullying can happen and if not discussed can lead to even more. Like not being played with one day to not being played with at all or physical attacks. The bully will attack when they feel they can get away with it. The confident child isn’t as easy a target.. that is if they are not different.

Studies show that when rapists were interviewed and asked what makes a woman a target the results were startling. They talked about a woman who was alone, perhaps already exhibiting fear or discomfort or maybe distracted. The least likely ones they would attack were women who would look them in the eye when she passed. women who seemed confident. This really struck me. What makes us a target as an adult could also be what contributes to making us targets when we are young. The problem being, children haven’t had the years to work on their confidence. Confidence pops up as a deterrent to both adult attacks and childhood ones too.

Who among us doesn’t have holes in their confidence? Places, situations, people that make us feel vulnerable—we all have those. If you say you don’t, be real. Or I guess you live too much in your comfort zone. A dose of confidence is needed for young or the more mature when we face the playgrounds of our lives.

My son is a confident child, perhaps too much, which I have encouraged. I think my children are pretty stinking fabulous. I don’t think they are better than your child, I just think that my kids are amazing. I love being their mom and I love their personalities. Though I do hate whining. But when my kids are not whining then I couldn’t be a bigger fan. Last year my thoughtful, fun, confident, handsome, smart son started coming home with reports of a kid he was having misunderstandings with. Soon it was clear that my son was being targeted.  I couldn’t figure it out. I tried coaching him on ways to deal with it. Why was my son being teased? One of the boys had even been over to play and was a nice kid with good parents, teaching him right. The ring leader was from a home that had problems. I talked to my son about what this boys home must be like so he could be understanding. We talked about what friendship means and we talked about compassion. I volunteer weekly in my kid’s class and I could see that the one boy didn’t have, as I put it, “control of himself”. I saw my son being kind, even playing well with these boys, but then at least three times a week the efforts seemed of naught and their would be incidents. I talked to the teacher but she had her hands full with other in classroom situations.

When it turned physical and my son was being pushed to the ground and kicked I talked to the other one of the moms. The one child was moving, much to my relief, but still I wonder how that boy is managing with all the upheaval in his life. The other boy, with his mother looking on, I lectured him firmly. He was encouraged strongly to apologize, his mother was mortified, as I am sure I would be if the situation was reversed. My son, in one of my proudest moments as a parent, looked thoughtfully at the other boy and said “I forgive you.”  Later as the boys were back in class and the mother and I walked to our cars we were doing what women do, verbally processing the events. She said to me that her son really couldn’t be fully blamed as my son did funny things with his body.

Okay, this is when I was dumbfounded. It seemed to me that she was trying to justify her son’s actions because my son was different! That I was almost blinded to what was causing my son to get bullied.
I wasn’t blinded and I don’t have a problem with what makes him “different”. My son has Tourettes.  Tourettes is not spontaneously swearing as Hollywood has chosen to focus on. it is a tick disorder with 3 or more verbal and/or physical ticks. This mother’s comment shocked me deeply coming from someone that seemed so sane.

So I ask, do we as a society think it is okay to hurt, belittle or bully someone simply because they are different? We are all different. Every single one of us is not the same. Why do we strive for sameness? Why not embrace what makes us unique? It goes back to being insecure, we want others to validate us because as a society we have a hole in us. (I even have a whole book coming out on this topic). The bottom line is that after a certain age it is not others responsibility to make us like ourselves. As a mom, it is my job to guide my children into being amazing people that give back more than take. I teach my children to feel good about what makes them different. Noticing differences are not the problem, what we do with that information is. I think that we all have a super power—mine is I can talk a lot and really well. I also have ADD and as a young girl I had to learn how to focus my super power. People close to me were not always kind. My son has already in his short life experienced that others may not always be kind. That is part of being a superhero you, get forces against you.  My son has a super power too, he has an active mind, he is inquisitive, orderly and an active body too. He has a lot to do and just like his Dad, watch out world because Nathaniel will take on the challenges and face them with character, strength and determination!

Forces combine against the hero in any story. Would it not be better to teach our children that what makes them different is a superpower in development than something to be hid behind a wall of sameness?

Evidently I am not the only parent that thinks Tourettes is a superpower. Local author, Richard Paul Evans, has written a book in honor of his son’s Tourettes. Michael Vey, the main character, has superpowers. I am excited to go read this with my own super hero.

Bullying is not going to be removed by slogans and logos, it will be removed when we as a people accept ourselves first for what makes us different and when we really like ourselves we wont have a need to hurt, belittle or hit others. Bullies, regardless of their age, are just people who don’t like themselves. That is what I tell kids when I do school assemblies. We need to teach our children not to bully themselves but also to see themselves as the superheroes of their own life, responsible for how they yield their own power. I think most bullies don’t realize the hurt they really are causing. That they rationalize it as the other person is different, or they asked for it. Instead we should be teaching our children that they are powerful and that they can impact others. That they are responsible for themselves. That being an adult means there is no one to blame for their actions or thoughts but themselves. Teaching them that differences are strengths to learn from and about discovering what makes us unique guides us to seeing what our gifts will be in life.

Why do we label, shame and categorize people?
Because we do it to ourselves, stop being a bully to you—after all you are a superhero too.