Last year, I lay in my bed and cried about the events happening in my life. I could barely walk, every single day was challenging and filled with so much pain, and to make matters worse my son was being bullied. My life seemed so hopeless and I felt completely helpless.
However, one night, God restored my hope tenfold. He gave me a little glimpse of a new Zippy book, and the desire to discuss the challenging topic of bullying. And then He gave me the courage to write the book.
Every single day, a child somewhere gets bullied. It’s heartbreaking to be teased and treated so badly. As adults we need to do something. As a society, we have turned our heads long enough. We might not be able to stop the bad behavior totally, but we can teach children how to overcome the hardships and negativity of bullying. If we stand united and teach these children how to treat others, about self-worth, positivity, and to not allow anyone to steal their smile, then we can make a big difference in many lives.
Being bullied was devastating for my son and me. Every day I sat on the sidelines and watched it happened. Yes, I wanted to rush to his defense and help him. But screaming at the kids and talking down to them would have only intensified the situation. Sometimes we need to “kill them with kindness” as the old saying goes.
So I began to write the book, and coach my son on how to handle his problem. Honestly, there were a few times when I wanted to tell him just to punch them. But I didn’t want the kids who were acting so ugly to rub off on my child. Furthermore, I continued instructing him to use kindness as his weapon. I also praised his efforts and assured him that their bad behavior was in no way a reflection of him. Every day I gave him positive affirmations that would help him become a stronger person, and prayed for guidance on how to help him.
In order to raise accountability a pledge was designed. And Zippy’s Club was born. Not only did it help my child learn to overcome his hardships, but it helped me to realize once again that we can overcome evil with good.
ZIPPY’S CLUB invites kids to be part of the anti-bullying team. It teaches them how to overcome bullying with kindness and to celebrate one another’s differences. The book includes a section from a nationally certified counselor to help initiate conversations with kids about bullying, as well as a letter from Candida telling her personal story. In Zippy’s Club, Candida shares that while we can’t control how others treat us, we can decide how we act toward them. Both she and Zippy encourage us to be the type of people who lifts others up, instead of knocking them down.
Before the book was even released or finished, the Middlesborough Little Theatre approached me about turning the book into a play. Amy Simpson adapted my book, Zippy’s Club, into a play. Since no children’s play would be complete without music, Amy wrote five wonderful songs for the play that the children sing. My friend, Tony Memmel, not only wrote Zippy a theme song "The Best That You Can Be", but he traveled from Nashville and is performing it LIVE at every performance.
Tony Memmel is a songwriter and performer with unique charisma and creativity. He was born missing his left forearm and taught himself to play the guitar, piano, and harmonica. He’s been featured in the Associated Press, Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune, was selected as a Grand-Prize winner in a Counting Crows cover contest by The Counting Crows themselves, and was recently honored to take first place in a prestigious singer-songwriter competition, in Boston. Discover more about Tony and see his performance schedule at http://tonymemmel.com.
Over 30 children are in the Zippy’s Club Play and each one brings something unique and special to the play, and touches my heart in a beautiful way. They have me laughing one minute and crying the next. Their hard work and dedication to make the world a better place is inspiring.
I hope you will come out tonight and see what the fuss is all about. They’ll have you laughing, singing, reciting the pledge, and desiring to make your own difference. Putting a stop to bullying and teaching children to celebrate their differences is not something I can do on my own. It takes a group effort from us all. Let’s not wait until tragedy strikes our community to get concerned.
Friends, I have looked into the coffin of lifeless child who ended her own life because of bullying. That day I decided to put my own fears and hardships aside and dedicate my life to serving God and helping others. Please join me!!
The Zippy’s Club Play is tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at the Middlesboro Central Auditorium—between the middle and high school. Hope to see you there!