I recently got a chance to catch up with my good friend Carmen M. Colon, who I found out has been a busy little bee… writing a book that addresses bullying. I asked her to reflect on why she wrote the book… this is her reply. Buen Provecho… oh yeah and buy the book! – Urban Jibaro
“There are times I would find myself dreaming about being in my old elementary school yard, once again being taunted by those kids who seemed bigger and scarier than the others. Making fun of my size, my hair, the way I spoke or the fact that my it was always only my dad that used to pick me up and drop me off all the time. They would say my mom ran away and left me because I was so strange. Kids can be so cruel.
Then one day you realize you’re all grown up, at least in age, but those dreams feel just as real as when it happened. Well I tried to shake it off but when that didn’t work I tried something else. I tried to remember the first time I didn’t feel so helpless. When did I start standing up for myself and who helped me find the strength to do it?
I met a dad who had the patience and love to hear me out, talk me through my fears and show me that the courage to stand up to fear came from me. When the time came, instead of coddling me he just left – “threw me off that tree limb”. He wouldn’t offer anymore advice until I’d gone out on my own.
So, on the mornings after those dreams I’d lie in bed and envision that the one person who showed me how to stand up those bullies, a great dad, would show up, be in the shadows but close enough for me to sense him there (well, everyone dreams of Superman don’t they) and just watch me stand up for myself.
I have sons. I love my sons and I don’t want them to ever feel pressured into doing anything just so they could fit in. I also don’t ever want them to feel helpless but what’s a mom to do? Especially if mom went through her own paces to get to where she was? So I wrote a story. My story and I found a wonderful illustrator, ‘HB’, halfway around the world, in Turkey.
I rarely get those dreams anymore but when I do I remember Meadow, my heroine’s plight and I smile. It’s okay to be different. In fact, it’s even better than anyone could ever imagine!
I dedicated this book to that dad but I also wanted to highlight dads everywhere. There are some amazing fathers and they don’t get enough credit. I hope kids enjoy the illustrations and learn from the story. I know I did.”
Meadow is the same as her friends but different. She tries hard to fit in and to listen to everything she’s told. Eagles are dangerous! Aren’t they?
This story is as much about great fathers as it is about peer pressure and bullying.
Raised by my father (and a village of extended family members, fabulous teachers and amazing role models) I wanted to pay homage to the men out there that take it one day at a time and do all they can to be the wise guiding force in the lives of their children.
We never say it enough even though we should.
We love you dad and thank you!
About Carmen M. Colon
Advocate, Author, Leadership Training Consultant, Engineer; founder of PAID Professionals (workshop agency for youth career advancement) Brooklyn, New York
A community advocate most of her adult life, Carmen M Colon organized and facilitated trainings on empowerment, advocacy and leadership during her years as a School Board President and a Brooklyn Borough President Appointee parent representative. She has written books and training manuals on self-empowerment and on how to team build, recognize skillsets, how to acquire them, use them and simply “get paid”. Branding heself in 2002 she teaches classes on social networking and getting to your goal. Ms. Colon has been a Facilitator and Public Speaker for Women and Youth in Non-Tradional Roles for over 25 years, a Trainer and Lecturer for Women and Youth in Leadership and Career Training for 18 Years, and a Community Advocate and Organizer / Parent Leader Role in Public School Educational System for 12 years. She has been an engineer since 1983 when she graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School. She worked as a draftsman for conveyor belt companies and has been an assistant engineer for 20 years at the local utility in Brooklyn.
Mother of three young Black/Latino men she co-founded with them the Brooklyn Children’s Volunteers Club an afterschool program when they were six, 9 and 12 respectively. Carmen has always had her sons as partners in all of her community activities and now that they are all on their own they have continued to provided their civic duty most happily.