So, I will be the first to admit that I never expected that part of my journey would include becoming an author of children’s books...but here I am, with four under my belt, and two that I helped publish. Interesting how life unfolds, isn’t it?
It’s another opportunity that I have to attribute to Shane and his teachings. It started with him needing a voice of his own, when life circumstance didn’t allow that for him. So , to assist with that, I started creating books for him when he was a child. Books that he could take to school just to share his story and experiences at a level the other kids at that particular time could understand. It worked beautifully!
What it also did was help me to understand that children are the place to start in making change in our world. Being able to plant seeds in the fertile grounds of their open minds is where our greatest possibilities for change can happen I believe. Not to brainwash, but simply to help them know and question those things that the adults around them may not have had the opportunity to know themselves, because, admit it...we grew up in a different time. A time where people with disabilities were hidden away. A time where the Residential School system was never talked about or acknowledged. A time where bullying was accepted, because that’s just what kids do. A different time, but not necessarily a better time by any accounts.
Fast forward twenty years, and I decided to self publish those little books, at least two of them. Shane’s Big Adventure 1 and Shane's Big Adventure 2. I did that so when we talk about them in presentations, they are available to purchase if attendees choose to have them as an example or a tool for promoting acceptance, inclusion, understanding and possibilities for all children who live life differently.
When I finished them, it came to me that Bianca’s experience with Tyson in helping him to understand what Orange Shirt day was all about would make another great story for kids, to help them better understand its meaning. That also has become a great resource to share...basically the same things...acceptance, inclusion, understanding and possibilities, and to help them understand their roles in being part of reconciliation and healing Canada’s past. Tyson’s New Orange Shirt has helped with that I believe.
Most recently, upon gifting a copy of that book to some of my other grand-kids, the discussion came to what could ‘we’ write about if given the chance? Lynden suggested that as we talked about Orange Shirt Day with Tyson, maybe we could talk about Pink Shirt Day with his family. Thus began the next project.
At first, there was a challenge to think about how to address the topic of bullying, but then it came to me that as a writer, talking about what we know can be beneficial for ourselves and our readers. It was then I decided the best approach to this topic was to tell my own story, and the result was ‘You could Be the One’. I only now realize how cathartic and healing sharing my story has been for myself!
‘You Could Be the One’ allows me to tell the story of my own childhood, where I was bullied terribly in Elementary School. I was a new comer to the area, I was chubby, I was alone. All things I didn’t understand or know until the bullying began, and it was incessant for a long, long time. I was so lucky that each night I got to get away from it, go home to a Mom and Dad who worked so hard to rebuild my spirit and keep me moving forward, and for a time...get away from it. There was not the technology available that haunts today's kids when the bullying starts.
Then the day came when the bullying stopped, and it all happened because an older girl saw what was happening to me and said enough is enough. Her name was Sharon Myran. She became my hero, my guardian and my example in life. She saved my beaten little heart and helped to make school fun again, a place I wanted to go...because my friend...my first friend..was there. She changed my world for the better.
‘You Could Be the One’ shares my story of Sharon. It shares how maybe you could be the one to stop bullying when you see it, or if not, be an ally to the child being bullied in whatever way you can. It also offers the hope and insight, that even though bullying was and is awful, it will end. Life does get better, easier, kinder with time. Sadly, so many kids don't live to know that, and take irreversible steps in the midst of the pain they are suffering.
Maybe somewhere, someday, one child will read this book and it will plant that seed of hope in them...to hang on and ride it out. My bigger hope is that it will plant the seed of kindness in others, so that bullying will become a thing of the past. It’s a big dream...but each dream has to start somewhere.
It takes time and energy to become who we truly are! In life, so many things can get in the way of our figuring that out..but the time comes in each of our lives where we need to be able to do that if we're going to live happy fulfilling lives that are authentic reflections of our best selves. These are just things I've learned along the way. I hope that they might help you in your own journey into being Truly You!