Waxahachie ISD students in grades one through five recently had the special treat of a visit from “Grandma Rose,” author Karen Gedig Burnett.
Burnett made separate visits to each school during the school day and one program open to all parents.
Burnett is the author of “Simon’s Hook: A Story About Teases and Put-Downs,” a story designed to help children learn how to handle teasing, and “Katie’s Rose: A Tale About Two Late Bloomers,” a story that explains how everyone blooms at his or her own rate.
Other books written by Burnett include “The Magical, Marvelous Megan G. Beamer: A Day In The Life Of A Dreamer” and “If The World Were Blind: A Book About Judgment and Prejudice.”
An elementary school counselor for more than 20 years, Burnett created these books to help children learn how to handle life’s bumps. As a counselor, Burnett created many programs to help children develop a healthy outlook on life. Her specialty is taking a complex idea and presenting it in a simplistic and graphic manner.
With several student volunteers joining her on stage, Burnett used skits and props to reinforce her message at each assembly. Using the analogy of a fisherman catching a fish on a hook, Burnett used a fishing pole to illustrate how children who tease and bully use mean words to “hook” those they’ve targeted.
“They want you to bite,” Burnett said. “They want to make you get really upset. But don’t take the bait. Don’t give away your power. Choose not to bite.”
Burnett listed five ways students can react without “taking the bait.”
“One choice is to do very little. Another choice is to agree. Don’t argue with them,” said Burnett, noting the one teasing is not going to change his or her mind. “Don’t even go there. You’ll just get madder and madder and that’s what they want. Don’t argue because then you’re giving them a lot of attention and that’s what they want.”
Other good choices are to distract and change the subject, laugh and make a joke, or smile and walk away, she said, noting any of these choices will keep an intended target “off the hook.”
“This is a message you can use your whole life,” said Burnett, stressing to students they can be in charge and that they always have a choice.
Burnett also shared coping skills to help children avoid feeling sorry for themselves and blaming others, saying everyone is in charge of his or her own mind, emotions and reactions.
“You can’t change other people, but you can change you,” Burnett said. “The more you learn how to do this, the happier you’ll be.”
Another message Burnett shared is that every child is on a different schedule.
“If you haven’t bloomed yet, you will bloom someday,” Burnett said. “If you keep trying, you will learn more, do more, get stronger and go farther. Most of you have no idea how much potential you have.”
Wedgeworth Elementary assistant principal Elizabeth Green commented on the success of the assembly at her campus, saying, “She had (the students) captivated - and the first-graders were just as captivated as the fifth-graders.”
Burnett will soon debut her first book for adults, “Choose Your Life: A Travel Guide For Living,” later this year. For more information about the author, visit www.grandmarose.com.
E-mail Jennifer at Jennifer.Howell@waxahachiedailylight.com