on Canadian TV talking about bullying

Posted on: 11/21/18 1:56 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week Canadian TV show 100 Huntley Street aired a series of interviews with me about bullying, and how parents, teachers and youth workers can actually prevent it.

Here’s the two part interview…

PART I:

PART II:

The book is now available on Amazon and anywhere you buy books!

 

Focus Interviews Me about Bullying

Posted on: 10/29/18 1:50 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This Thursday and Friday Focus on the Family will be airing a two-day radio show where they interview me about how parents and teachings can prevent bullying.

Here’s just a quick snippet:

Here’s a link to find a station in your city airing the broadcast.

In this interview I share a little bit of my own story, as well as the research I uncovered in my brand new book, The Bullying Breakthrough, also releasing this Thursday. We talk not only about kids who are bullied, but bullies and bystanders, and how we can help all three types of kids.

For more about this book and what people are already saying,CLICK HERE.

View from the Edge

Posted on: 10/16/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Some of you might have caught the exclusive excerpt of my new book I posted on our parents site last week. The following is ANOTHER excerpt from the first chapter of my brand new book, The Bullying Breakthrough, releasing this month…  the first book where I finally tell my story…

Chapter 1: View from the Edge

“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

We’ve all heard it. We all had teachers who reiterated it. “…word will never hurt me.”

Complete foolishness.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I probably don’t even need to give you thirteen reasons why.

Anyone who has been mocked or victimized will tell you nothing is more crushing or more demoralizing. Speaking completely candidly, I’d rather get beaten senseless than become the victim of public humiliation—and sadly, I’ve been there.

That’s the intriguing thing about bullying. I’ve read countless articles and studies, heard theories from known psychologists. I’ve attended assemblies and conferences about bullying. . . almost always by someone who hasn’t been bullied.

They don’t know.

They really don’t.

I grew up five minutes from the American River Parkway, a beautiful recreation area where the American River glides 120 miles from the Sierra Nevada Mountains down to the Sacramento River. One of the trails we took as kids would bring us to the edge of a cliff 120 feet high overlooking the north side of the river. Sacramento residents call it “The Bluffs.” A romantic lookout for many, but for me, a location where I would contemplate taking my own life.

When I was sixteen years old I stood at the edge of that cliff staring down at the rocks below.

I can’t tell you what was unique about this particular day. I honestly had experienced hundreds of days like this, especially years prior in middle school, being mocked, pushed around, and demoralized while my classmates looked on with laughter or passive approval.

I don’t blame them. You had only three choices: laugh, ignore, or say something. Those who spoke up would only be next. . .so everyone chose either laughter or silence. Literally everyone.

No one every spoke up.

I probably couldn’t have put words to what I was feeling standing on that ledge: loneliness, hurt. . .a longing for someone who understood? Most of the people in my life didn’t even know what went on at my school every day. It’s not their fault; I never really shared the experiences. If I did, I most likely wouldn’t have even used the word bullying, because in my mind bullying was a big kid cornering a little kid and stealing his lunch money. My aggressors weren’t big kids. They weren’t even all male. My aggressors came in all shapes and sizes. But what I was experiencing was actually textbook bullying.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines bullying as“any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.”

“Perceived power imbalance”—a good word choice. Kids don’t have a positive concept of “self,” so they try to make themselves feel better by hurling verbal onslaughts at others. That’s an accurate description of what my peers did to me each day. I was an easy target, so I became a stepping-stone others used to raise themselves up so they could feel more powerful.

“Repeated multiple times”—also accurate. For me it was daily in middle school, at least weekly in high school. Certain environments seemed to foster it more than others, none more so than PE class.

That particular day began with gym class, physical education, or PE as our school called it. PE is a cruel requirement for nonathletes, something the physically fit will never understand. PE is where the weak get intimidated by the strong. PE is where small boys get hung by their underwear or slapped in the back of the legs while bystanders laugh hysterically.

That morning in PE a popular kid had said something cruel. I don’t remember the exact exchange, but knowing me, I probably retaliated with a quick verbal jab. I had developed a quick wit over the years. I had plenty of experience defending myself.

But this kid wasn’t going to tolerate any banter. He hit me hard in the jaw. I can still hear the cackles from the crowd and feel the stares of those who quickly circled around. Funny, I don’t recall the physical pain of the hit.

More words were exchanged. I had two choices: fight or back down. I chose back down.

Social suicide.

Names were called—cruel names that are difficult even to put into print.

“Pu**y!”

“Fag!”

I was neither, but it didn’t matter.

Threats were made. “You’d better watch your back!”

He meant it. And he was right. This altercation had triggered a social seismic shift, and there were aftershocks. You see, once someone is publicly humiliated, the victim bears an invisible Kick Me sign on his back.For the rest of the day I endured shoves, jeers, and cruel whispers from kids I had never even met. Other kids with low self-esteem jumped on the opportunity to step up a notch on the social ladder by lowering someone else a rung.

I don’t know why this particular day pushed me over the tipping point, since I had experienced many other days like it. Regardless, six hours after the original jab, I stood at the edge of the cliff looking down at the rocks.

Should I jump?

I wanted to jump. I really wanted to, honestly, for selfish reasons.

I’ll show them.

They’ll regret everything they ever said!


Author Josh McDowell calls The Bullying Breakthrough “Jonathan’s most vulnerable and insightful book yet! An eye-opening peek into the world of bullying today and what we can actually do to prevent it.”

Social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn claims this is “Jonathan’s most important book so far,” describing it as “an essential guide to preventing and stopping bullying behaviors.”

The Bullying Breakthrough is available for PRE-ORDER on Amazon right now and will be releasing this month! Order your copy now!

Talking with teens about how they treat others

Posted on: 09/11/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The same group of young people watches a boy get pushed around by a bully in gym class almost every day…

and they do nothing.

They merely “stand by.”

Some chuckle, some shake their heads. But no one does anything.

Are “bystanders” any better than the bully?

Ask the kid whose being harassed every day.

Many of you are aware that my first novel, Bystanders, just hit the shelves (in fact, you guys voted on the cover), and as promised, I just wrote a free 4 week curriculum to go with it.

The book is a sobering peek into a high school campus during a school shooting. A curious thing I’ve observed about school shootings –the dialogue that takes place as students and teachers barricade themselves in classrooms, closets etc. They don’t talk about music downloads or their favorite YouTube video. They talk about stuff that matters.

Like my Zombie book, this book uses a fictional premise to springboard meaningful conversation about real world struggles. In this case the story provokes discussion about faith, integrity… and most importantly… how we treat others.

Narratives often speak loudly to today’s young people. And this book isn’t afraid to ask some of the big questions.

The book is available on Amazon (print or Kindle) and we just posted the free discussion guide (complete with scripture and small group questions) HERE.

Helping Bullied, Bullies AND Bystanders

Posted on: 06/28/18 3:23 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today I’m working on a brand new workshop for parents, teachers and youth workers helping kids experiencing bullying.

Notice I didn’t say “helping kids who are bullied.” This is where my training will immediately differ from others. I’m not just advocating help for kids who have been picked on, but help for the bullied, bullies and bystanders. After hundreds of interviews and 100+ hours of research for my upcoming book The Bullying Breakthrough… I found that most kids fall into one of three categories Continue reading “Helping Bullied, Bullies AND Bystanders” »

Do you want to screen my new book?

Posted on: 04/3/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Many of you know I’ve been buried in bullying for the last few months, polling kids, listening to stories, dialoguing with counselors… all for my next book, The Bullying Breakthrough.

Would you like to take a peek at it?

Here’s the deal: I’ve got two weeks before I turn this manuscript in to my publisher and I’d love your feedback. That means you’d have about a week to read as much as you want and let me know your thoughts.

Want in?

Email me at jon@thesource4ym.com and just tell me, “I want in!”

I’ll give free copies of the book to all the people who read the whole thing and give me feedback.

7 Facts Undercover Adults Discovered about Teenagers Today

Posted on: 03/5/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I love it when research discovers something we’ve been telling parents for years. And for the last few weeks A& E show Undercover High has been revealing an eye-opening peek to many parents about the reality of what’s truly going on in the lives of the high school just down the street from you (and one of these “uncover adults” is a youth pastor).

The show unveiled quite a few realities about teen culture- seven, in fact.

1. The biggest surprise for these undercover adults was how much social media and smartphones had changed high school culture completely… and for some of these young adults, high school was only 5 years ago Continue reading “7 Facts Undercover Adults Discovered about Teenagers Today” »

I regret not saying anything

Posted on: 02/20/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

“This kid gets bullied a lot.”

I’m wrapping up my book to parents about bullying, and in the last few months it’s been literally insane how many times I’ve turned on the news to see exactly what I’m writing about played out on the screen… last week again with the shooting in Florida.

No, I’m not one of those guys who is putting full blame on “bullying” here. There were a lot of factors contributing to this tragedy… but again… one of the big ones was an ostracized kid ignored by bystanders every day.

Like the 17-year-old who admitted as much to the Miami Herald just a few days ago Continue reading “I regret not saying anything” »

voices unheard

Posted on: 01/18/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

An overweight boy called “lard-ass” daily.

A girl physically assaulted because she liked the wrong guy.

A crowd of kids taunting a kid with a prominent red birthmark on his face, “Hey Kool-Aid!”

An overweight girl named Carla heartlessly labeled Cowla, trying to simply navigate around campus without being mooed at day after day.

These are just some of the voices I’ve been hearing… and the common denominator I keep finding Continue reading “voices unheard” »

Do you have mean girls or mean boys?

Posted on: 11/29/17 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Every school has them, every church wishes they didn’t… mean girls, mean boys, using mean words to make themselves feel better. Sadly, there are a handful of young people who become perfect targets for these words… and I want to hear from them! I want to hear the voice of the bullied.

Can you introduce me to them?

I’m writing a book to parents about bullying… and how to help your kids who are bullied, bullies and even bystanders. I want to hear from as many young people as possible on this issue, asking them questions like Continue reading “Do you have mean girls or mean boys?” »