Since tomorrow is the US holiday of Thanksgiving, we thought it appropriate to post today our gratitude for all of you. We have 3000 reasons for which to be thankful.
Published in July 2013, the past 17 months have been an amazing experience for all of us affiliated with 'A Different Little Doggy' and we are thankful to all of you who have supported this journey helping to curb bullying by building self-esteem one child, one book at a time.
As of this week, we are very proud to say we delivered our 3000th book. That is an amazing accomplishment for us; one which would not have happened had it not been for the support of so many people across this country and around the world.
Because of your willingness to purchase, to share the message with friends and family, to donate to charitable organizations for fundraising, and to check out 'A Different Little Doggy' from your local library, we are able to help children appreciate their individuality which will hopefully make small corners of the world a little more peaceful in years to come. It is with true sincerity and gratitude today that we say to each of our supporters, "Thank You".
One by one, her 'competitors' gathered around giving her hugs and telling her it was going to be alright. Abby, an adorable 8-yr old participant provided the best encouragement saying in her upbeat, smiley tone "It's OK. It was only a 'little' raw." How cute is that? Her optimism was contagious.
Although the show is technically a competition, you wouldn't know it from the love and respect these kids show each other. They willingly share ingredients, encourage each other, and provide support when another fails. They demonstrate love, care, and compassion making all participants feel like winners.
As viewers, the message is pretty great. It demonstrates for us that children learn what they live. These children have parents who encourage them, so they learn to take chances regardless of the outcome; They have role models who recognize their efforts, not just their achievements, so they compliment their friends efforts; These children live with kindness and friendship as prominent values in their lives, so they demonstrate respect, care, and encouragement for the other children in the competition. There's no bullying; no name calling; no jealousy, etc. They are happy for each other regardless of the situation.
Children learn to love, and learn to hate. They can learn to care for others and have empathy, or they can learn to bully. As their parents, role models, teachers, and mentors, what we teach them is our choice. How great would the world be if we could all be like these Master Chefs?
Bullies act out for many reasons. They are reacting to a situation at home, trying to deal with their feelings but unsure how, searching to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad, etc. The reasons stretch far beyond just being mean, and curbing that behavior calls for empathy, compassion, and true understanding. It’s not as simple as punishing the bully and sympathizing with the victim. All those involved are victims in one way or another, and they deserve understanding.
This is the final week of bullying prevention month, and as we close out the month, it’s the lesson of compassion for others that we hope carries forward. When we can love ourselves for who we are and accept others for their own unique background, it becomes a little easier to demonstrate compassion for another and hopefully that leads to less bullying in our world. It’s the reason for the #ADifferentLittleDoggy story.
When involved in an activity such as shopping, have you ever consciously paid attention to what draws your eye and why? Do you lean toward patterns that are identical or hedge toward those things that are different? Do you easily spot the unique or are you drawn to same old, same old? I noticed at our local farmer's market this weekend that I truly enjoy the unique. In a sea of people, the woman in cowboy boots with the studded bracelet stood out for her personal style. The gentleman driving through on a cart due to his broken foot stood out for a different mode of transportation. The baby screaming because he was done being in the sun was definitely getting some attention. Beauty through diversity was all around.
Breakfast at the market was a treat because it was different. Roasted baby potatoes on a breakfast pizza and breakfast nachos served with scrambled eggs and chorizo vs the typical re-fried beans and ground beef.
And, let's not forget the diversity in produce. Lemon cucumbers, chocolate tomatoes, and purple carrots to name just a few. Everywhere we looked beauty from that which was different.
Take a few moments this week to consciously notice all those things you encounter which truly are different and make note of the beauty in those differences. Being different is a gift to be appreciated.
We all know teachers make a difference to children, so for July, we thought we'd highlight one special teacher making a difference in multiple ways. Meet Allison Schley.
Allison teaches language concepts to deaf and hard of hearing children, but it goes beyond the kids. She also teaches parents and regular ed staff about hearing loss and how to interact with those who experience hearing loss. Her teaching makes a positive impact on both children and their families.
Allison is also the author of 2 Forever Friends... a charming children's book about a boy and a dog who are both deaf, but become life long friends. Life in silence can be hard on both dogs and people. 2 Forever Friends helps teach children to be accepting of those who are different due to hearing loss. Her books help kids relate to characters who are different, so they can see we are all special.
When asked how she makes a difference for children, Allison stated "I teach them to embrace their hearing loss, not hide it. I show them to be proud of who they are."
Personally, I think the biggest way Allison makes a difference is by promoting acceptance. It's when we don't understand something that we fear it and may experience anxiety. Understanding, on the other hand, brings about acceptance. When we understand something, there's no reason to fear it.
Thank you Allison (and your own different little doggy) for all you do for children.
July is National Make A Difference To A Child Month... a time to focus on the many, many opportunities in our day that each of us can positively impact a child whether it be our own or the child of another. If you're short on ideas, here's a few to kick off the start of your month:
How many ways do you, friends, or family members make a difference for children every day? Please share your stories.
Children learn what they live; a famous poem and fact of life. We know that when children face abuse, they become abusers. When children are bullied, they become bullies. When provided love and treated with care, they grow to demonstrate love and care for others. It's a basic principle of truth and one that's part of the 'A Different Little Doggy' message.
If children learn early on in life to recognize and accept differences in themselves, they will eventually accept differences in others which leads to tolerance and hopefully some peace in their world. It is our hope that the message within Taz's life story emulates with children to spread the message of acceptance and also helps children build strong self-esteem. We are all different. More importantly though, we are all beautiful. It is our differences that makes each of us great.
Teach these lessons to the children in your life early on. They're valuable lessons which will serve them well throughout their lives.
Who Are We:
A Different Little Doggy is primarily a children's picture book promoting self-esteem, acceptance, tolerance, and friendship to children ages 4-8.