Sealine: What to do about bullying

Ooh what do I see there? Hmm, it appears to be a mermaid. What do you think she’s doing? I see, she’s collecting shells. I think I know her, her name is Sealine, she’s a bit shy. Come, let’s join her and see if we can find some more shells.

Sealine looked up.

Did she hear something? It sounds like someone is crying, there behind the water plants. There is another mermaid there. She seems very sad, maybe we should go to her to see how she is doing?

Slowly Sealine came closer before she swam towards the other mermaid after a moment of doubt.

‘Hey,’ Sealine carefully said: ‘What’s going on?”
The other mermaid looked up a bit startled and rubbed her eyes for a moment: ‘Octavia is bullying me. She says that I’m ugly.”

Have you ever been bullied? Bullying isn’t fun is it?

Sealine looked surprised and carefully sat down next to the other mermaid on the rock: ‘But… I think you are beautiful.’
‘You’re just saying that,’ said the other mermaid.
‘No, I’m saying it because it’s true,’ Sealine blushed a bit then smiled shyly at the other mermaid: ‘I… I’m Sealine.’
‘I am Lakea,’ the other mermaid answered: ‘And do you really mean that?’
Sealine nodded and her smile broadened: ‘Yes, I mean look at your tail, it’s beautiful.’
‘Thank you,’ Lakea answered: ‘You’re sweet. Do you want to be friends?’
Sealine blushed deeply: ‘Of… of course I’d want that.’

Both mermaids laughed and then they carefully gave each other a hug.

‘But,’ Sealine carefully said: ‘We have to do something… bullying is not… umm… good.’
Lakea looked up a bit unsure: ‘But… Octavia is so… scary!’
‘Shall we… umm… find other fish, and… ask them what they do against bullying?’ Sealine hesitantly asked.
‘Would you dare to do that?’ Lakea asked.

What about you? Would you dare to do that?

‘Well,’ Sealine said before she started blushing again: ‘Normally I wouldn’t… but… you are my friend. I’d do it for you.’
‘That’s very brave of you,’ Lakea said.
Sealine blushed even more but then the two girls looked at each other bravely before they swam away.

After swimming a little while Lakea and Sealine saw a though looking stingray. The two friends hesitantly looked at him.
‘Why are you staring at me?’ the stingray asked: ‘Hey, aren’t you Lakea?’
‘Let’s go Sealine,’ Lakea said: ‘He was there, he just hang there and watched.’
Sealine looked at Lakea for a little while before she turned her attention back towards the stingray and asked: ‘Why didn’t you do anything?’
The stingray looked a bit uneasy: ‘I… umm… well, what was I supposed to do then?’
Sealine looked a bit surprised and blushed again: ‘Well… umm… maybe you could have said something?”
‘Oh… well… yeah, you do have a point. But Octavia is so big. I don’t want to get into a fight with her,’ he answered: ‘Ooh, the name’s Ray by the way. And I’m sorry Lakea. What Octavia did wasn’t cool, I should have said something. Can we be friends?’

Sealine looked at Lakea who seemed to doubt for a moment, but then she nodded and smiled: ‘Friends.’
Ray lifted up his fin and yelled: ‘High Five!’
Both mermaids swam up to him and gave him a high five. All of them laughed.
‘Say… Ray,’ Sealine asked: ‘What would you do against bullying?’

And you? What would you do against bullying?

‘Me? Well, I… I don’t know.’ Ray admitted after a while: ‘Maybe we should go ask granny Soë the seahorse. She knows everything!’
And so our friends swam away to look for granny Soë.

‘Come my children,’ granny Soë the seahorse said: ‘I really don’t bite. Is there something you want to ask me?”
‘Umm… g… granny Soë…’ Sealine shyly started: ‘What… what can you do against… umm… against a bully fish?’
‘That is a good question, my child. What do you think?’ Granny Soë the seahorse answered.

And what do you think? What would you do against a bully fish?

‘Well,’ Ray said: ‘If he for example tells me that I’m fat, I will say: you are fat yourself!’
‘I see…’ answered granny Soë: ‘But would you like it if people treated you like that?’
‘Well… umm. No, I wouldn’t like that,’ Ray answered.
‘So, maybe you can better treat them with kindness and respect? Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself?’ granny Soë suggested: ‘You do not want to react the way a bully fish does, do you?’
‘But… that sounds so… scary,’ Lakea said.
‘It is scary, dear child,’ granny Soë answered: ‘But if you do not talk to a bully fish, then you will never know why they act like they do. They often act like that because they are afraid of being vulnerable. Grand them a bit of kindness and you will see that they are very different from what you thought they were. Surprise them. Be friendly.’
‘But their words hurt people,’ Sealine said.
‘That is true,’ answered granny Soë: ‘But try to stay calm. Try to not let it show that what they say hurts you. And you can do that, clever child.’

‘You are beautiful,’ granny Soë told Lakea.
‘You are brave,’ granny Soë told Sealine.
‘And you are strong,’ granny Soë told Ray: ‘That is why I know you can do this, because you are perfect, just the way you are.’
The three friends smiled: ‘Thank you, granny Soë.’
After that they left again.

On their way home they suddenly ran into Octavia Octopus.
‘You are fat!’ Octavia said to another fish.
Sealine was a bit scared but she took a deep breath and bravely swam towards Octavia: “Hey, why are you acting like this?’
‘Mind your own business!’ Octavia angrily yelled: ‘Get lost!’
Sealine blushed deeply: ‘I… umm…’
‘We just want to know why you act that way?’ Ray said after he swam next to Sealine: ‘You are so full of confidence. There is so much good you could do with that.’
Octavia blinked a couple of times, looking visibly surprised: ‘Umm what?’
‘Yes…’ Lakea said while she joined her friends: ‘You are such a smart octopus.’
‘Umm… thank you?’ Octavia said and suddenly she sounded rather unsure.
Sealine smiled: ‘Your welcome. But, you still haven’t told us why you are acting like that?’
‘Well… umm… I… uh..’ Octavia stuttered before she sighed: ‘Things are not so well at home. I… I’m having a difficult time…’

‘But… maybe we could help you?’ Ray suggested, the two mermaids nodded and gave Octavia a friendly smile.
“But I… I was so unkind… to you.” Octavia answered unsurely.
Lakea smiled at Octavia: ‘That was then, this is now. I’d rather be your friend.’
‘Yes,’ Sealine said: ‘I… I would love to be friends with someone as strong as you are, Octavia.”
‘We could do so many cool things together, as friends,’ said Ray.
‘Really? You would want that?’ Octavia asked: ‘I… I’m sorry.. for all the unkind things I said. Can we be friends?’

The three friends looked at each other and nodded.
‘Absolutely!’ The three of them said.

And so they all became friends with each other and supported each other. They did a lot of fun and exciting things together. But that is a story for another time.

 And do you know why? Because they are all amazing, just like you!