Dear Scary guy,
I wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for making things a lot clearer for me. You recently came to give your talk on peace to the school that I work at in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. Yes, Spilsby, the name that tickled you.
My son Deniz is 10, 11 next month and has Aspergers syndrome. Despite being a loving, caring, intelligent and happy boy, his ‘quirky’ ways have singled him out in the eyes of bullies. For the last 3 years, Deniz has been subjected to petty and hurtful jibes, racist and homophobic comments. At the beginning of this year he was physically beaten up by 5 boys whilst simply collecting his coat from the cloakroom. He hadn’t said a thing to them, they just set upon him like a pack of animals. Since that day, (and numerous visits and letters to the school), Deniz has struggled to continue his education. With a lot of love and support from myself and close family and friends, Deniz has held his head high and persevered, knowing that this September he will be attending a secondary school that is far better equipped to suit his needs. Over the last 3 years I have struggled with staying strong for Deniz and coping with the emotional side of it all. It has mentally drained me often. I have lost count of the times I have sat and cradled him, explaining that bullies are people who project their feelings onto others and that they are most likely jealous of him.
When you gave your talk, one thing really hit me hard, the ‘ignore’ word. I realised there and then that I had been telling Deniz to ignore them. Now I feel so ashamed that I ever said that to him yet realise that it is an ‘off the cuff’ phrase. I have vowed never to say that again, and to date I haven’t. I apologised to Deniz that evening for saying ‘ignore them or it’ and explained that I now realise why he couldn’t. I told him about you and have promised that one day soon we will look at your web sites together. Hopefully it will help Deniz to gain a better understanding as well as cope with his feelings more. Why soon and not now? Sadly, this weekend Deniz received some very nasty, racist and homophobic emails from children that he considered to be his friends. I have shown these emails to the parents of the children who are horrified and the situation is being dealt with through more meetings. This time, despite there only being 2 weeks left, I hope to come to a resolution that puts a line under this extremely hurtful behaviour and I want to thank you for giving me the courage and knowledge to fight what will hopefully be the last fight. Many friends have said that I should involve the police immediately as sending harassing and racist messages are indeed against the law, but after listening to you I have realised that not only are they children, but they must also be hurting themselves and most likely only need to realise the pain they have caused both Deniz and myself in order to re-educate and re-evaluate how they project themselves onto others. Understandably, Deniz is still very sensitive and upset about the latest incident, but as soon as I see he is stronger and willing to talk more, I will show him your videos and web sites.
Once again, thank you. You have made me realise past mistakes, ones that I have pledged will never happen again. You have helped me understand more why bullies act as they do and this has given me the strength to educate and listen as well as become more forgiving. You have made me into a better human being, which will in turn make my son a better human being to. Never give up spreading the word, world peace is achievable.
Peace and love