Singer teaches students about effects of bullying
Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 9:53 pm
By Victoria Brito The Brownsville Herald
Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald. Country singer Lizzie Sider performs her song “Butterfly,” an inspirational piece about Sider’s triumph over school teasing, Thursday during her Nobody Has The Power to Ruin Your Day anti-bulling campaign tour at Russell Elementary in Brownsville.
No one has the power to ruin your day. That is the advice that singer and songwriter Lizzie Sider’s father gave her growing up, and that is the message she shares.
Sider, 15, is on a 250-school bully-prevention assembly tour through California, Florida and Texas. She visited Cromack, Russell and El Jardin Elementary Schools on Friday as
part of the 70-school Texas tour, which began in April.
The Russell Elementary School gymnasium was decorated colorfully with butterflies and inspiring quotes, such as “look at me now,” “no one can keep me down,” “be bully free” and “be kind to one another.”
“Its great to be here,” Sider said in an interview.
She is no stranger to being teased, picked on and bullied. Her song, “Butterfly” depicts the feelings she felt
as a child.
“I was bullied in elementary school, so that was hard to get through, but I came out of it being a much stronger person,” Sider said. “This has been something that I am passionate about. I wanted to do something significant with my time.”
As a result of being bullied, the Florida native resorted to shyness, which she said is unlike her, “bubbly” nature.
“It really affected me while I was in school, of course, because that’s where it was happening” she said. “I was totally normal, and happy, and fun, and outgoing myself, outside of school. It was just in school I felt like I couldn’t be myself. And it really got to me for the longest time, and it started in kindergarten and lasted through about 4th grade.”
When Sider was in 4th grade, her dad gave her a few words of advice that changed her perspective
“One day before I left for school, my dad told me, ‘Nobody has the power to ruin your day,’ and that’s become the theme for this tour,” Sider said.
Although she said the message didn’t “click” with her right away, she said after a while it really helped.
“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s me. I’m the one who decides what my day is going to be like.’ That was huge,” Sider said. “I just want to inspire others. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do: help others out and be a role model.”
“My advice is that not only that nobody has the power to ruin your day, but realize that nobody has the power to knock you down, we decide whether or not something hurts us,” she said.
Sider encourages anyone who is being bullied to “be open about it” and “talk to someone.”
“It is so important to open up, to talk to a friend, talk to an adult, because that can really help you out and you always have that support,” Sider said. “Don’t be afraid, you’re not the only one who is going through this.”
Sider gave a motivational speech to the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at Russell Elementary. She engaged with the students and walked through the aisle as she shared her story.
“When I was in elementary school, I was teased by the other kids in my grade,” she told the crowd. “They’d exclude me from games at recess, they wouldn’t let me sit with them at lunch, they’d call me names, they’d laugh at me.”
She said as a child her classmates would ask her to sing a song for them.
“I thought, ‘Hey, maybe this time they’re actually being nice to me,’ but when I started to sing for them, they started to laugh at me and run away,” Sider explained. “It was a very hurtful time for me to get through.”
She asked the students to close their eyes, and raise their hand if they have ever been bullied. She then asked them to open their eyes to reveal that most of the students in the gymnasium had a hand up.
“This tells us that almost all of us, at at least one point in our lives, we’ve been treated this way,” she said. “I had to raise my hand. You saw how many other hands of your fellow peers were raised. We know how much that hurts us. We know what it’s like to be on the other side. So, next time we think about teasing someone else or bullying someone else, let’s think twice and remember how that feels. And let’s not cause that same pain to others.”
For more information on Lizzie Sider, visit lizziesider.com.