Bullying is a pretty hot issue with parents and children now. Here is a brief ‘bed-time’ story that might help parents with young children connect to this topic and open the door for further exploration and discussion.
On a hot, sunny day, a VERY hot, sunny day, Marissa and her mom went to the beach. This wasn’t the first time, her going to the beach, this long, beautiful beach; but it was the first time she went to the beach and the beach talked. Well, not all of the beach talked, just some of the sand spoke, at least as far as she could tell.
She was certain, Marissa was. One of the pieces of sand was crying. She could hear it, this whiny, shrill sound; like a squeak or maybe it was more like a squawk, Marissa wasn’t totally sure. But she WAS sure it was crying. She could smell the salt in the air from the tears.
“I am NOT an ugly piece of sand! Do you hear me? I am NOT,” the crying sand exclaimed.
“Ugly, ugly, ugly,” chanted a chorus of other sand voices.
“We don’t need you, want you, or like you,” more sand pieces chimed in.
“Just look at us,” a deep-voiced sand boomed, louder than all the other sands. “We are taller, finer and clearly, have much better suntans than you!”
“Ugly, ugly, ugly,” repeated the sand chorus, in agreement.
“Oh my,” wailed the lone, sobbing sand.
She stuffed her backpack with a few things, making sure she had her favorite blanket, and began making her way down toward the rushing waves far ahead, in the ocean.
As she walked, she could hear their taunts ringing in her ears “don’t need you, want you, or like you; ugly, ugly, ugly!”
“I am NOT an ugly piece of sand,” she said to no one, but herself.
She walked on for what seemed like a very long time, long enough for the sun to go down and the stars to come twinkling out into the sky. Then she took out her favorite blanket and hoped for some sleep.
But she kept hearing the sand chorus, “don’t need you, want you, like you, ugly, ugly, ugly,” over and over again in her head.
Suddenly, she had an idea. It was an absolutely TERRIBLE idea, about as AWFUL an idea as any sand should ever have.
She thought about walking straight on through the night, straight on to the big, crashing waves. Maybe they would just swoop over her and take her away so she wouldn’t have to torture any other sands with her ugliness ever again.
She thought about it, hard and long; SO hard and SO long that she fell into a wall of sleep. When she woke up, it was a new day, a day with the sun smiling overhead and lots of laughing, happy people played about. There was so much going on around her, she almost missed hearing someone saying her name.
“Cassandra, Cassandra,” the voice called to her.
“Grandma….? Grandma, is that you,” she couldn’t believe her ears.
She hadn’t seen grandma since that terrible windstorm scattered so many of her family to places far, far away.
But yes, it was Grandma! She stood right there, strong and tall.
“I know what you were thinking, Cassandra,” grandma looked right at her with a face Cassandra never saw on her before and didn’t ever want to see again.
Grandma took hold of Cassandra’s hand.
“You just come with me” she instructed, zipping the blanket safely inside the backpack and giving it to Cassandra.
Grandma walked with her back the way she came the night before.
“Don’t need, don’t want, hmmmmph,” grandma exclaimed.
Cassandra wondered how Grandma knew what she thought, how she knew what the other sands said about not wanting or needing her, but Grandma was in a very big hurry. She pulled her along so fast, sometimes Cassandra’s feet didn’t even touch the ground. It was still morning time when they got back to the neighborhood. All the sands were in school, where Cassandra should be, but wasn’t.
Grandma didn’t care. She headed right into the schoolhouse, still holding onto Cassandra’s hand. She didn’t even knock on the door to the classroom where everybody was reviewing their spelling words for the week. She and Cassandra and the backpack with the blanket inside it, marched up to the front of the classroom, right up to the teacher’s desk.
“There’s something I have to say,” Grandma began, her voice louder than Cassandra ever knew it could sound. “It doesn’t matter, what you’re teaching right now,” she looked right at the teacher. “Doesn’t matter, not one little bit!”
Mr. Gravel got up, started to complain, but Grandma just told him to sit back down again until she finished what she had to say.
“These young sands here,” she continued “they aren’t learning a thing worth their weight until we teach them that none of us would be much of anything, if we didn’t have each other.” She went around the room and asked, one-by-one, where every sand played, where they slept, where they lived. And EVERYBODY gave the same answer, “the beach.”
Then, in a much softer voice, she said, “none of us is supposed to be all alone. It’s a pretty dark day when we do things to make other sand feel that way. I’ve seen old and young sand, white sand, tan sand, hard sand with stones and cut up shell pieces in it, smooth, soft sand; and it doesn’t matter, cause we’re all sand. And we can’t EVER do much of ANYTHING until we come together.”
“Think about it,” she said as Cassandra slid quietly into her seat, slipping her backpack with her favorite blanket under the desk.
“If we don’t all come together, how can there even be any beach at all?”
She looked each and every one right in the eye.
“Got it?” she asked.
The side of her mouth turned up a tiny bit, almost like a smile. And she must have had something in her eye, because she swiped it away with her finger. And then she was gone.
Sure hope it was a piece of new sand!
I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!