Welcome to another episode of Wednesday Wink ladies! What is cooler than a friend who sees Hashgacha Pratit (Divine Providence) in her life all the time? A friend who takes the message and does something amazing with it – using her talents to serve G-d in this world! Today’s Wednesday Wink is from my friend, now published author, Rivka Fishman. I vividly remember her sharing this incident with me when it happened. Right then I had a strong feeling that this incident would have a second chapter. And it did! I won’t spoil it for you, here’s Rivka….
I’m a teacher and a mother of 6, KA”H. I studied psychology in university, and have been a grade and middle school teacher for 18 years. Several years ago, I began to be very bothered when I saw my students, my kids, and my friends’ kids not always being nice to each other. I started to research “Bullying” to find ways to stop kids from being mean. I soon realized that what I was witnessing was not even close to meeting the criteria for “bullying” (thank G-d), BUT it still wasn’t the kind behavior that I wanted to see.
As I researched, I found lots of information on “zero-tolerance for bullying,” which just didn’t sit right with me. It felt like it was encouraging tattling and judging — behaviors not much better than being mean. I was frustrated and disappointed with the way this topic was being approached both by educators and parents and I felt there was much to still be done in order to truly help the children. I knew there had to be a better way to deal with this problem, but where!? At this point, my school received a flyer for a workshop called “Bully-Proofing Made Easy” with Izzy Kalman, founder of Bullies2buddies.
This all day workshop was quite far from my house. It would involve finding someone to take care of my kids both before and after school; plus, leaving my students with a substitute. I really didn’t feel like going! Not just because of all the effort it required on my part, but truly, at this point I felt like the “anti-bullying world” didn’t offer philosophy that resonated with me. Nevertheless, the principal at my school strongly encouraged me to take the day off work and attend.
My supportive husband took over the morning routine with the kids, so that I could fight traffic and arrive on time for the workshop. I found a substitute for my class, and a friend to take them after school, and I off went. Within the first hour of the course, I knew that I was meant to be there! Not only did everything Dr. Kalman said make perfect sense to me, but in his opening remarks, he quoted both the Rambam (Maimonides) and the Lubavitcher Rebbe!!! Did I mention that I was the only Jewish participant!?
Since then, I’ve used what I learned that day to help many kids:
- I developed a workshop that I offer on schools and communities, based on Mr. Kalman’s teachings, supplemented by the “Love and Logic” method, the bucket filling philosophy, and the teachings of Torah – specifically Chassidut.
- I’ve just published Sara the Bucket Filler, a children’s book to teach children about kindness and how to create more of it!
Yes! Here’s a lady who after this clear Wink from Above, took action! It’s been hard to find an angle within the whole bully-proofing conversation that resonates with our Jewish values, is effective and puts our kids in control, without creating more negativity in the process. The book and Rivka’s workshops flip the entire paradigm of the bullying conversation, as it has been presented up until now. And Sara the Bucket Filler has become a favorite in my home. I have to read it to my five year old son every night… ok sometimes my 8 year old daughter reads it to him (because she loves the book too!)
I know this beautifully written and illustrated book will become a favorite in your home too!
You can contact Rivka for information on a workshop on bully-proofing for your school and community here. And follow Sara the Bucket filler on Instagram and FB to learn a whole new way of thinking and teaching your kids to think! YES!!!
Have a lovely rest of your week!