By Rhonda Ramsey,
P.O.V. Contributing Writer
Few things bring tears to my eyes like children who are ill or mistreated. With bullying, the more awareness, I believe, the better the chances are for healing. Today, I will share a story I read on pennlive.com.
A Dauphin County mother, while cleaning her 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom six months ago, found something quite disturbing. Something no parent would want to see.
The mother, who asked not to be identified for fear of her daughter being bullied even more, found a picture her daughter had drawn of herself. In the picture, the 14-year-old girl's mouth was taped with tears cascading down her cheeks. The mother also found notes about the awful bullying the girl endured at school, and sadly, the mother found that her daughter had a desire to take her own life.
The mother decided to take the notes and drawing to Hyung "Young" Kim, owner and master instructor at Kimado Karate (Korean Integrated Martial Arts) in Lower Paxton Twp., where the teen was taking lessons. Kim immediately consulted with a psychiatrist, urged the mom to talk to school officials and began an emotional rescue of his own.
Kim teaches kids who are being bullied to 'turn away, walk away, tell an adult. Using what he dubs "verbal martial arts," he instructs kids in a technique he also teaches to police officers — to "de-escalate using words," as when speaking calmly to an opponent, a potentially explosive situation can be defused.
“We don’t teach kids to hit," Kim said. "We teach them to use their mind first."
A manual called the "Verbal Self-Defense Youth Program" is his anti-bullying Bible. It teaches kids to confront a bully by looking them in the eyes, using a confident voice and employing the body, not to punch, but to walk away.
As a father of six children who range in age from three to 18, Kim has a fatherly rapport with his class. He preaches discipline and respect with calmness and charisma.
Kim’s patient guidance worked. The teen’s mom reports that she is much more self-assured. She has friends, has become an avid runner and is working toward her black belt.
“She has found her voice," Kim said.
Her mom believes that martial arts saved her daughter’s life.
With the way many of the articles and stories about bullying end, I found this so refreshing. Just think - this young lady found her voice! She found an outlet and support. She even began making friends as her confidence and self-esteem, which were stolen from her, were found again.
Many studies say that sports are a great way to learn confidence and values. I believe karate (or self defense) used the right way, the way Kim has used it, will help many kids/families. What do you think? Do you find this story uplifting or do you disagree? Do you know of anything that has been helpful in the aftermath of bullying?
Please share. By putting our heads together, we are shining a light on something dark.