Sunday, February 25, 2018

Is Grandma a Goody-Two Shoes?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My best friend chose the anniversary of my husband’s death to visit me and tell me I have always been a goody two-shoes!

She said I was arrogant and flaunted my goodness all my life. She said she couldn’t stand it anymore and that I was beyond annoying to her and that I judged her. She said everyone agrees.

I was a straight-A student all through college. I was Valedictorian. I had great parents.

I’ve been married once and my husband just passed. We were together for forty-two years. We belonged to many clubs and organizations that helped foster children and other worthy children’s causes.

I’m proud that my husband and I were steady church-goers.

My best friend from high school who called me “goody two-shoes” took another road in life with many boyfriends and three husbands. She was adopted from alcoholic parents. She has always had problems.

I never judged her. I’m nice!

Not a Goody Two-Shoes

Dear Grandma,

Ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly:
1) When I’m around my best friend (and others), do I think I disapprove of their behavior and actions?
2) Do I tell others, even in a “nice” way, what I think would be best for them?
3) Do I respond to stories, TV and films with disgust and let others know how disappointed I am with them for accepting a lower standard than mine?
4) Do I tell others how upset I am if they don’t follow my advice?

Each question is worth 25 points on a scale of Goody Two-Shoes. If you answer with one “yes,” then you are probably judging people unfairly, since you can’t know all of their anguish and life details. If you answered all of the questions (honestly) with a yes, then we suggest you dig deep into a well of empathy.

Now ask yourself (truthfully) which words would you say fit your identity best:
ostentatious – virtuous – passionate – prayerful – devoted – smug – sincere – self-righteous – earnest – genuine – loving – critical – empathetic – sympathetic – caring

There are several positive words and a few that would annoy anyone or hurt them. There are some that may fit in a negative or positive way.

People who endure challenges are developing buckets of empathy. None of us should be so judgmental.

You may find it enlightening to look up the origin of the idiom – Goody Two-Shoes comes from a children’s story (from the 1700’s).

We think you’re on the good path, but your path and the path of others might get you to the same good place.

We believe it’s how you get there that matters.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ostracizing is bullying and abusive

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My grandma was ostracized by her women’s group after one of them started spreading rumors about her.

After 50 years of service with this group, one person convinced everyone to exclude her from many group activities.

Grandma gave up her only child for adoption many years ago and hid it by saying she couldn’t have children. She was just 16.

Her parents told her she would be responsible for the community “shunning” them and it would be all her fault, if they knew.

The truth came out a month ago, when her adopted son found her and she couldn’t hide it anymore.

The treatment she’s endured is worse than if they would have confronted my grandma. She has changed drastically. She’s lost weight and stays in bed all day. She doesn’t do anything like knitting, sewing, or baking things.

However, when her son is here from out of state, she perks up and puts on a show for him.

It’s killing me that she is so sad.


Sad Granddaughter

Dear Granddaughter,

Let your grandma know she’s needed in your life and has made a positive impact directly by being your grandmother. Steadfast unconditional love from you will help her endure the excruciating pain she feels now.

She doesn’t yet realize that her long-time secret doesn’t define her.

Ostracism is bullying and isn’t talked about as much as it needs to be, because most people who are ostracized feel ashamed.

Ostracism means that a group is deliberately rejecting someone by excluding them from events or social gatherings.

It’s a most lonely feeling that resonates throughout the banished person (young or old).

A part of our human existence is the need to belong to a group. Social rejection, especially from unreasonable or drawn-out ostracism, can lead to major depression or aggression.

Grandma chose a group of people who discarded her. It’s a lot to handle. She may be disassociating and need professional help.

She’s “putting on a show” for her son, because she doesn’t want to lose him again.

You can help by:

1) Taking her pain seriously. Tell her she can talk, cry, and reminisce with you.

2) Let her know that ostracism is an aggressive form of bullying.

3) Show her that, while it’s natural to feel angry and deeply sad, she can take baby steps to forgive and she can express her feelings to the accusatory group with a letter, which she’ll have to rewrite a few times to maintain her dignity and speak as a matter-of-fact.

You can make a difference in the fight to end bullying starting with one person, your grandma.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sexual Harassment, Cheer and Dance

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m so tired of the cheer and dance snobs. My neighbor is always ranting and raving against little girls being exploited in “sexy clothes” in dance and cheer, like my three daughters. Her girls are in soccer – what she calls a “real sport.”

One of my daughters is badgered by girls in other sports who call them horrible names. All my young girls have been labeled “sexy.”

My girls have to maintain grades of a B or above to participate, just like any other athlete.

My husband and I are geologists. We’ve written books and traveled the world over for our careers.

Some parents have even decided we must be in a certain political party because we let our daughters be “paraded” around as sex objects.

I was a professional dancer. And I was a cheerleader for my university.

It’s not just the parents. They influence their kids to cyberbully. The kids push, yank hair, trip, and terrorize my girls. Now my oldest doesn’t want to participate anymore because of bullying and one girl’s comment that my daughter is just, “asking for it” (as in asking for sexual harassment).

It’s not the boys; it’s the girls and their moms. It’s shameful!

Not a cheer-snob

Dear Not,

Humiliating and labeling little girls is shameful. And you are right to call dance and cheer sports, because that’s what they are.

A woman whose daughter plays a sport like soccer, or any other sport, is being hypocritical by judging other girls who prefer other sports. Your husband and you need to speak to her and her spouse and encourage them to end the bullying.

Of course, interjecting any political label to our kids’ talent development is not acceptable. This kind of labeling is at the worst end of the spectrum. Please ask the parents to refrain from playing politics.

Anyone who thinks its okay to degrade, attack, and show hostility of any kind towards a certain segment of our culture because of their talent development choices, has to stop it, now. Parents need to decide what costumes and behavior is appropriate for their children’s sport choice.

We challenge you to use this experience as an opportunity to teach your girls how not to act. Encourage them to walk the higher road. The truth is there may be future incidents of similar nature, as we are witnessing in today’s world.

Women, who are truly dedicated to reducing sexual harassment, exploitation, and sexual assaults like rape, ought to work to end bullying and stop propagating this form of sexual harassment. Our girls deserve better than this.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Gossiping: The worst form of cyberbullying

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My best friend in high school is turning out to be my worst friend in college. We go to separate colleges in our state.

She texts me to tell me how much her friends are drinking and who’s having sex.

She took it too far when she said a mutual friend was someone we shouldn’t hang around with because she did something really bad. I said I’d come up and we could talk with her together.

She got really quiet and then said she had to go and got off the phone. I texted her and said, again, that we should help our friend. She texted back and said, “No! She’s your friend. I don’t like her at all. I’m not going to ‘rescue’ her.”

I called the other friend and said I was coming up to speak to her in person, and she kept digging for the why answer. I finally said my best friend heard some worrisome things about her. She said my best friend likes the same guy she likes and is bullying her horribly on social media.

She then said, “This is why I just attempted suicide.” I was shocked and went to see her but I didn’t know what to say and I felt uncomfortable listening to her bash my best friend.

I’m so depressed.

A Friend

Dear Friend,

Be proud of yourself for having the courage it took to face a problem in relationships head-on with the intention of finding a resolution together.

This particular problem shows how gossiping ruins relationships and is the worst form of cyberbullying. It also ruins reputations and creates a feeling of unworthiness.

Gossiping has direct links to suicide. Suicide is the second largest cause of death in ages 10 through 34, following unintentional injury.

Cyberbullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person.

All is NOT fair in love and war. Spreading rumors is the most malicious or hateful, spiteful, mean and nasty form of cyberbullying. Neither friend being gossiped about is there to rebut the accusations. It’s the catalyst of negative judgments and labels that create serious divisiveness.

Gossiping invariably involves dishonesty. Tell your friends that you love them but will not accept dishonest gossiping and you won’t perpetuate secrets that destroy relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. And go one step further and say you will connect all three of you together, the next time someone starts gossiping. It won’t make you popular with them, but integrity doesn’t care about popularity. It cares about goodness and high standards.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri