You’re never too old to be bullied (but now we’re doing something about it)

Post from Kim:

I’m guessing there isn’t a person reading these words that hasn’t had a run in with a bully. Growing up, those bullies were in the school yard and had to confront us face to face.

In the 2nd grade a group of girls called me over to their game of four square. One girl looked to her friend and commanded, “Tell her.”
“Tell me what?” I asked.
“We all hate you. Now go away,” the ringleader snarked.
I asked why, and the girl said, “Just because.”

I kept it together and did what any girl of eight years would do: I ran to the bathroom and cried. I remember what I was wearing, a Rainbow Brite t-shirt and yellow shorts. The shorts were recently stained from where my “Fox and the Hound” tin lunchbox leaked on my lap. The memory is still vivid enough to sting.

There were other times: Like when I was in 6th grade and a girl pushed me into a locker. “Just because.”  Again, I gathered myself. I went to the bathroom. Then, I cried.
The guy who always called me, “porker.” When I got mono and lost 15 pounds — he then called me “HIM” instead of Kim because my voice is so deep.

I know there are far, far worse stories out there. Heartbreaking stories.

Then yesterday, a post was written about my family. Here’s the link in case you want to read.
I read the whole thing (it’s surprisingly long). I went to the bathroom — but this time I didn’t cry. I got pissed.

Here, in front of me, was another bully — but this bully wasn’t powerful enough to push me into a locker or call me a name to my face. This bully wrote an entire post without even contacting us .. just put it online. I bet if this woman saw me in the grocery store with my family, she wouldn’t have the nerve to say these things to my face. I’m 38 years old and sick of being bullied. I’M DONE.

Several sympathetic friends reached out saying, “don’t worry, people are defending you in the comments” and “Don’t dignify this post with a response.”
Then I realized I by NOT commenting, I was letting this cyber-bully win.
I tried to make a comment to the actual post — but it was never approved. Hmmm… Well, here’s my comment:

“On the other side of your hateful words sits a real family, with real struggles, and real feelings.  We realize by posting videos online we open ourselves to this critique. The beauty of the internet is this: IF YOU DON”T LIKE IT, DON”T CLICK.”

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. We leave even the negative comments on the YouTube page, that’s how much we believe everyone deserves to be heard. But this isn’t sharing an opinion with your friend at carpool or a cocktail party, this is bullying.

Some advice was given to me; I was told to say a prayer for the bully. I did that — then got upset with myself for spending time on a prayer for this person when there are so many families that need the positive energy.
So here’s the thing that has brought me peace with this bullying experience: We have made a $500 donation to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center charity in the name of Jezebel (the site that published the post).

I encourage you to talk to not only your kids, but your friends about cyber-bullying. After all, this hate was coming from an adult.

UPDATE: I’m moved my the support and donations to bully prevention charities. Thank you! But let’s agree that sending hurtful messages to the person who wrote the article is not advancing the situation. Thank you again for your kind words and support.

How our kids handled a weekend in the spotlight

Post by Kim:

Penn and I had everything we needed growing up. We didn’t necessarily have everything we WANTED (Guess jeans, a real Members-Only jacket, and Michael Jackson parachute pants), but our parents did everything they could to make sure we had the necessities (we got those jeans with the upside down triangle, a generic jacket with zippers, and a pair of pants that squeaked when we walked).
Now that we have our own children, we realize our own parents were onto something: There’s enough stuff; experiences are what matter. That’s why we try to bring the kids along for any opportunity to travel with our day job. Our company, Greenroom Communications, was hired to provide digital strategy and a social media launch for the Legends of Oz DVD release for Fox Home Entertainment. We have a team of social media ninjas who developed an AWESOME plan that included a Friday night Twitter party and a Saturday morning double-decker sing-a-long bus ride throughout New York City.

 

 

At the same time, we were invited to be on Fox and Friends Saturday morning to talk about our newest family video.

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I tried to remind the kids: 


“An airplane trip to New York is not something mommy and daddy did as children. We are fortunate to be able to do this.”

I went on: “A national television interview is not something mommy and daddy did on Saturday mornings growing up.”

And: “A double-decker bus ride through the city is not something mommy and daddy did as children.”

I suppose I just wanted them, at age four and seven, to be grateful for these opportunities. Remember, Penn and I decided if we had the means, our children would have amazing EXPERIENCES (I’m saying this with jazz hands and spirit fingers — “EXPERIENCES!”), not necessarily more STUFF. And THIS was it — THIS trip was an experience. EXPERIENCE IT, KIDS!
But soon, Lola had enough of the “experience.”  (She’s so much like me it’s scary). While Penn and our son get their energy from being surrounded by people, Lola and I need quiet time to recharge.


 I had spent so much time saying, “We didn’t do this when we were kids” that I forgot —  we DIDN’T do this when we were kids.
 I had to remind myself:
 we never took an airplane to New York City for the weekend as children.


We never appeared on national TV when we were growing up.


We never saw our dads perform on a double-decker bus as children.

Yes, these were great opportunities, but it was a lot for my little people. About an hour into the bus tour — Lola was done. She wanted off.
 So that’s what we did. Penn stayed on to lead the crowd in song — Lola, Penn Charles, and I walked back to the hotel. Lola didn’t want to hold hands. She wanted some quiet time ten feet in front of me (on crowded Manhattan streets). There was still so much to EXPERIENCE, but we closed the shades and tuned out the world for a bit. It’s what my girl (and I) needed.

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During those quiet moments I told the kids, “We don’t have to tag along on trips like this. You don’t have to do television interviews. Help me know when it’s too much for you too handle.”
Lola, now fully re-charged, scoffed. “In these interviews you and daddy do all the talking. It’s not fair. Next time, I’m answering all the questions.”
Well, ummm . . . okay.

Next, we hit the city as a family. 
We found the spot where Penn proposed to me years ago. We rode the carousel in Central Park. Stopped by the Plaza, where our favorite six-year-old Eloise used to hang out. We even had time to see our girl, Lady Liberty.

 

Lola actually cried when it was time to leave. She said while wiping the tears from her face, “Promise me we can do this all over again soon.”  There’s a tug on my heart when she cries. But this time, I must admit I was a little relieved. It had never occurred to me that these “EXPERIENCES” wouldn’t be 100% positive for our children, but I was grateful she was going to remember this trip fondly.
P.S. Before every video or interview or picture we snap with our cell phone — we ask our children’s permission. If they aren’t in the mood or simply don’t want to participate, they have veto power. I even read this post to Lola before hitting publish. She was mostly concerned that I wanted “pants made out of parachutes.”

Soooo, in case you were wondering, we do have real jobs…

We don’t just make ridiculous videos, dancing in our pajamas or channeling Sir Mix-a-Lot.  We are, in case you were curious, a full-service production and Digital Marketing Company called Greenroom Communications.  We make entertaining, highly shareable videos for companies around the world (so far, FOX Home entertainment, Shari’s Berries, H&R Block, Hasbro).

Here is our brand spankin’ new Demo Reel, courtesy of our brand spankin’ new Director of Video Production, Zak Ciotti

and here’s the Greenroom Communications website.

Baby Got Class! A back to school parody

If there was one of those facebook relationship status options for my children, at this point in August, I would choose “needs to see other people.” On both sides — we literally need to see other people.

It’s been an amazing summer but for our children and ourselves — we are ready for the routine the school year brings.
As working parents we had the familiar struggle of “what will the kids do while we work?” issue on a daily basis.

Our kids had a full summer of camps, play dates, fun babysitters, and a few work trips with mom and dad. We’ve spent A LOT of time with them — and we’ve treasured every (almost every) minute.
Just as much as WE are ready to walk them to the classroom door -THEY are ready to go.
Before they head back to school — my final few days of their summer break are spent filling out paperwork (didn’t I fill this out last year?), buying a random list of school supplies (do the erasers have to be pink?), signing up for committees (I swear this year I’m not going to forget any meetings), and trying, so desperately trying to get organized (THIS is going to be the year.. I can FEEL it).
So here’s our ode to the parents, students, and teachers as we start a new school year in the only way we know how.
 

MY WIFE COMES HOME IN AN HOUR – a true story

It is the panicked thought that goes through every dad’s mind, one hour before your family comes back in town.  About once a year, dad is left home alone, and  many of us take that opportunity to revert to our primal selves – We eat horrible food, we don’t make the bed, we meet up with the guys, we clean up NOTHING – that is, until about an hour before they get home.

TWO NOTES -

1. This was real – actually shot while my wife and kids made a quick trip down to Disney – the mess is real, the story is real, and thank goodness I have a tripod, because I had to photograph myself.

2. The guy who looks like Jason Sudekis is my buddy Jake Fehling – we are working on a Holderness Family spinoff called “Rapping Dads” – more to come.

Dads/Moms – does this sound familiar? Comment below.