Students encouraged to take on bullying (slideshow 3)
By Kyle Vuille
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
Nationally known speaker Jeff Veley gave an anti-bullying presentation to Dawson County High School Students Monday morning.
Veley has been on multiple news outlets, plays the drums and even has been recognized by the United Nations for being a World Peace Ambassador in 120 nations.
Veley spoke to DCHS students about ways to cope with bullying and how to stop bullying from the start.
“Don’t get upset,” Veley said.
“Don’t get upset” was the first part of his two step anti-bullying technique that, according to him, will stop any bullying from happening within a week.
The second step of the “Peace Sign Challenge” was “Treat them like a friend, not enemy.”
Veley said the second step of the challenge came to him after he encountered a fight and in an attempt to stop it, found himself pinned against the wall and about to get punched when he said to the kid, “I didn’t mean to disrespect you, but I didn’t want you to hurt that kid or get us in trouble.”
According to Veley, the kid put him down and later apologized and said to Veley, “Even when I pinned you, you were still being nice to me. No one’s ever done that.”
Veley explained to the audience that anger is ammunition, so getting upset over someone picking on you is only giving them more leverage to continue their “emotional dominance” behavior.
A lot of Veley’s techniques and reason for advocating against bullying is from his own personal experience.
After years of being bullied at school and even by his own mother, Veley developed skills and way to cope himself.
He said as a child, he hated having garage sales because his mother would find his favorite things at the time and sell them, not because they needed the money, but to enjoy his pain and suffering.
After years of falling out, He gave an anecdote of reaching out to his mother and he asked her to sit with him for coffee in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. She agreed and they met.
He said he apologized and told his mother he forgave her for all those torturous years and if she wanted to start over on building a relationship together.
“I had no idea how’d she respond,” Veley said.
Veley said his mother’s eyes welled up and she grabbed from across the table and said to him, “I wanted to do this for years, I just didn’t know how.”
Veley gave the audience one last tale that held relevancy in his work to stop bullying.
Veley told the story of a young boy and his father who used to go out to some soccer fields everyday to feed the birds.
Eventually the boy was older and wanted to play soccer, but the birds and their droppings were always on the field.
An old man said from across the field, “Don’t feed the birds for a week.”
The young boy took the old man’s advice and didn’t feed the birds.
One sunny day after it had rained and washed off the field, not a bird in sight.
The old man was there again, and said, “Let’s play ball.”
The moral of the story, according to Veley, is when you react to bullying, you’re feeding them like the boy once fed the birds.
“You can’t control their actions, but you can control your reaction,” Veley said.
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