Myrna Fay Flick - Helping Children Learn Important Social Skills
Myrna is on a mission to enlighten and empower children. Her new book series, Discovering the Difference, her goal is to help children learn important social skills and life values. With the first book, Being Silly Not A Bully, she helps children distinguish between bullying and fun-spirited teasing. Myrna Fay Flick, Certified Family Coach with ACPI; Senior Professional in Human Resources; SPHR with HRCI; Senior Certified Profession/SHRM-SCP with SHRM. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Being Silly, Not a Bully.
Please give us a short introduction to what Being Silly, Not a Bully is about.
Myrna Fay Flick developed Discovering the Difference, a new children’s book series, to help children learn important distinctions necessary to live a more empowered life. In Being Silly, Not a Bully, an anti-bullying chapter book for six to nine-year-olds, a young Mystic Valley resident named Miriam, with the help of her new friend Val, learns valuable life skills about kindness, diversity, cultural differences, and inclusion.
Was there something in particular that made you want to write this story, tackle this subject?
Having spent 30+ years in Human Resources and in leadership positions, I experienced numerous employee issues. Many of them involved disrespect, bullying, and undermining. We would coach and train to resolve. However, we all know it’s sometimes difficult for adults to change such ingrained behavior patterns. Realizing if our children learned emotional intelligence and several important distinctions, they’d grow up to be more kind, compassionate, and inclusive.
Tell us more about Miriam. What makes her tick?
Miriam just wants to be accepted and respected. Her family moved from Syria to improve the quality of their life, but she misses her old friends. There is no one from her culture in Mystic Valley and her family simply wants to feel welcomed and a part of the community.
Kindness, diversity, cultural differences, and inclusion are central themes in this book. Why did you find this important to write about?
Now more than ever, our world needs to come together. Over the years, we’ve lost touch with practicing these core values. With racism and the riots, our children have become more fearful—as have the adults. Educators have understandably focused on STEM skills. So, I’m focusing on social skills. By creating this series, parents, grandparents, counselors, and educators have a conversation-invoking resource that will strengthen the family bond and solidify a foundation built on love, acceptance, compassion, and inclusion.
Why, do you think, are kids so likely to bully those who look or act differently from what they are used to?
Society continues to focus on the differences rather than inclusion. Children are trying to find ways to be accepted and included, so they act out what they see and hear. It’s like ‘monkey see; monkey do’. They treat others the way they are treated. They exert power based on what they see in society. Often times, it’s not positive. Children continually explore how to be in control and, if they are not corrected by an adult, they will stay with what seems to work for them. In social situations, there will be times your child doesn’t feel loved or like they belong. Heck, there were times we adults feel that way. Think back to what happened to you when you were a child. Remember the moment you didn’t feel loved, felt like you didn’t belong, or felt misunderstood or not listened to. What happened to you is now compounded for your children. Today’s social issues have exploded. Whether it’s cyberbullying or in social situations, our children are still being bullied. We must empower them. Together we can raise the level of mankind with kind, compassionate, and honest children.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I love most any type of holistic healing. It’s better to go to the root and resolve body, mind, and spirit issues with Mother Nature. Of course, involving Eastern medicine as needed. I practice Pranic Healing, meditation, prayer, and positive thinking to help bring up the energy of our world.
Why did you title the book "Being Silly, Not a Bully"?
As a child, I loved being silly and having fun. The sillier, the more giggles. Sadly, like so many other children, teasing sometimes crossed the line of being fun and silly, to something hurtful. Now more than ever, children must have fun and be silly. I believe it’s important for children to learn the distinction of fun teasing and bullying and to learn boundaries that will serve them throughout their lives.
How has your work as a certified family coach influenced your writing?
The coursework reinforced everything I’ve experienced in my life. Also, I learned how to create processes and action plans to deal with commonplace problems within families. Now it is much easier to create conversations around respect and reparation with a focus on setting boundaries, defining expectations, establishing consequences, compromising, and resolution.
Which character in this story was the most challenging to create?
Val, the main character. She is growing up, evolving, and learning who she is and all about life. She wants to do the right thing, yet, she’s not perfect. (Nor should she be). She realizes life is not always fair, but she still believes all things are possible. She doesn’t back away from adversity and enrolls the help of others, including her parents.
What is your favorite line from the book and why?
On page 9, when Val exclaims, “Jumaginit.” Her brothers ask what it means. Val replies, “It means Just Imagine It. It means anything is possible.”
This is Book 1 of your Discovering the Difference series. Did you plan from the start to make this into a series? How do the books tie in with one another?
Yes. Having put out a more complicated, longer book with Val and other characters, I needed to start over and simplify. Shorter, more focused themes allow children to more easily relate and learn these important life lessons. The series includes the less desirable and the most desirable behavior…the power-zapping to the empowering behavior. Each book will have Val and her family. Plus, you’ll see some of the same characters carry over into each story.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I have many notes, pictures, videos, and books that I’ve either saved or written. When I either schedule time or feel inspired, I’ll pull out those notes and identify the theme and create the desired outcome.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on launching a podcast under my company name, The Mind Heroes, LLC, later this year.
Plus, I go between creating two resources for parents to reinforce the learning from the series and working on book two, Being Proud, Not Loud. My plan is to release it early 2021.