Reflections on Bullying by Linda Rossetti Brocato

When I was five years old, my first-grade teacher would pop my hand with a wooden ruler when I did not know the answers. The emotional embarrassment and shame far outweighed the physical pain. What she didn't know—what she hadn't taken the time to discover—was that, unlike some of the other children, I was the child of two-second generation immigrant farmers and no one had ever read to me at home. I never even owned a book or a box of crayons. In fact, I also had not been taught how to recite the alphabet.  

The teacher told my mother that if I did not start picking up on things, I would have to stay home until the next school year. I stuck it out, though. A few months later, by the time I had turned six years old, I finally started understanding my school lessons.

Looking back on it, it certainly wasn't that I was a stupid child. Sadly, that teacher made me feel that way. That was wrong.

It was a long time before I admitted to myself or anyone how that teacher's punishments affected me. Later, when I was in fifth-grade, I was blessed with the teacher of a lifetime! The classroom atmosphere was encouraging, creative, interactive, and pro-child. (I can honestly say I have not encountered abuse again throughout all the years of school, college, and graduate school.)  Now, as an adult, I believe that that first-grade experience subconsciously inspired me to grow up and become a compassionate educator and person in general.

For that reason, I'm grateful to my first-grade teacher. Look at how far God has brought me. I'm even an author, now.  

Over the years, with God's help and thanks to dear friends who encouraged me along the way, I grew stronger and found both my inner and public speaking "voice."

It takes clarity to recognize the God-given inner courage you possess to stand up for yourself. It is sweet and precious freedom once you do. And so that is why I am so incredibly passionate about my books, "Ivan Becomes a Hero", and the "Safari Coloring Adventure".  "I Can Be A Hero, Too!" is the theme of this interactive coloring book for children. 

It is freeing and fulfilling to heal from the sting and bruises of being bullied in many different ways throughout our lives. Every one of us is born to fulfill our unique purpose in life, and it is part of my life's mission to communicate that to others. As Ivan's mother reminds him in my "Ivan Becomes a Hero" book, each of us is "fearfully and wonderfully made" for a purpose.

Side Note: I have always been proud of my deceased parents, Floyd and Julia Rossetti, for the enormous sacrifices they made, to ensure that all four of their children received a college education. If you think about it, it is amazing!  

Linda Rossetti Brocato    Brocato Publishing / Touching Hearts-Changing Lives     May 2016 Reflections on Bullying  


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