You can overcome bullying (and other stuff that keeps you down)
The inspirational and bestselling author of Life Without Limits offers insights, encouragement, motivation and practical directions on how young people can overcome personal challenges like poor self-esteem, bullying and failure.
Nick Vujicic is an international and New York Times bestselling author, evangelist, motivational speaker, and the director of Life Without Limbs, an organisation that helps share the message of hope in Christ to the entire globe. Born with a severe physical disability (he has no arms or legs), Nick is an inspiration worldwide with crowds and the media for his positive attitude towards overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams. A longtime resident of Australia, he now lives in southern California with his wife, Kanae, and son, Kiyoshi. Visit his website at www.NickVujicic.com.
This book follows Nick Vujicic’s other bestsellers Life Without Limits and Unstoppable. Born without limbs, Nick has struggled to achieve the independent, fulfilling life he enjoys today. In this book, Nick speaks out against bullying with a deep understanding, evident on every page that he has experienced some pretty awful bullying himself. The message throughout the book is reflected by the title, Nick acknowledges that there is an epidemic of bullying around the world, in many different scenarios, but all causing pain and lasting sad memories for the victims. The title Stand Strong is what Nick is advocating, he recounts some of the bullying he had growing up and how at times he felt defeated by it until he decided to stand strong and help other people.
As Nick says, “if you can’t get a miracle for yourself, be one for someone else.” Nick shows how helping others can help people who have been bullied feel good about themselves again. Nick tells the stories of people he has met who have been bullied and the strategies for self healing that they have developed. The book is an over whelming positive one, it has the message that although bullying happens, it is possible to move on and reclaim a positive life. Nick talks about different types of bullying including cyber bullying and warns teens in particular about the dangers inherent in internet use such as images being captured by other people and used inappropriately. I would use excerpts of this book to generate discussion with children in my school about bullying, Nick is an inspirational man who has a very positive message to share, he is also a man of strong religious beliefs which are interwoven throughout the book. As I teach in a secular state school setting, I would choose which passages to share rather than read the whole book to students.
Wendy Fletcher, Bellerive Primary, Rosny Park
This autobiography focuses on the bullying experience of the author. With severe physical disabilities, he was a bullies’ target through his teenage years. Some peers only saw his obvious difference and then assumed he had an inability to defend himself. While this title could be an account of antisocial behaviour which was cruel, unwelcome and depressing, it is instead an uplifting account of dealing with the bullies on a courageous and confrontational level. It offers a personal, positive philosophy in general. The scope of the book covers physical, psychological, digital and spoken forms of bullying and ties each closely to strategies for dealing with them. The writing rests firmly on 3 layers – the author’s own personal experiences and responses, his deep spiritual belief and his positive attitude tied to a strong sense of self worth. He has come to see bullying as a trigger for personal growth through searching for responses which successfully result in a desired outcome. As well as personal growth this philosophy has also delivered inner strength, a belief in strong values, the need for the monitoring of emotions and self control, and a belief in a spiritual foundation.
This book is very readable and teenagers especially would find the humour and strength engaging. It would be a great comfort if they are the target of bullies in any of its manifestations. It is a sincere work that never allows elements of sentimentality, the uttering of platitudes or any display of negativity but is unfailingly cheerful, hopeful, encouraging and positive.In terms of curriculum relevance, it has value for any secondary school’s wellbeing program, for biography units in the English program as well as support for the senior topic area of “Belonging” and the future topic area of “Discovery”. It would also be an interesting case study for several topics within the Community and Family Studies course. This book would be an asset in any textbook or library collection in a Secondary school.
Dr. Heather Fisher, New England Girls’ School, Armidale NSW
Nick Vujicic is Australian-born and well-known as an internationally-acclaimed motivational speaker, author and director of global organisation Life Without Limbs. As a fellow Christian, I was already familiar with his positive outlook on life's challenges and his ability to help others achieve their dreams. I was eager to review his latest autobiographical book, Stand Strong published by Allen and Unwin. The author’s dedication to his young son reveals the purpose of the book: “to help put an end to the global bullying epidemic ... in hopes that my child and yours will grow up in a better and kinder world.” Nick has written eleven engaging chapters full of humorous personal anecdotes that illustrate his thesis, as well as raising questions common to people of all faiths such as, “If God loves all His children, why are we created with so many imperfections?” I found this book to be a wonderful tool for self-reflection and analysis, relevant to anyone who has been bullied at school, work or even at home. It helps the reader understand why bullying occurs and how to overcome its effects. Nick includes helpful advice for users of social media, as well as online resources for seeking further help. The layout of the book is user-friendly and appealing, with chapter summaries and quotes being easily located, making it possible to dip into relevant sections of the book when required. This book has wide appeal to readers of all ages, particularly teens, who may be feeling the effects of bullying more acutely, or primary-school aged children in the upper grades. It could be used by teachers or parents as a read-aloud to help build self-esteem and confidence in children who have been bullied, and to create a more positive classroom culture, where bullying is less likely.
Barbara Caruana, Home Educator, Doncaster
Nick’s story is amazing! Here, he has presented a useful, motivational handbook for coping bullying – a subject of which he is all too aware. He addresses the scenario from various angles: the person who has been there, the mentor guiding you through the trauma of bullying, a friend and as a voice of hope.Initially, I found Vujicic’s style overly evangelical. Hats off to him for speaking with passion about his faith. Knowing the biblical references and their context brings a different dimension to the message: it is more about evangelism than autobiography or self-help. Were this classification included on the cover, it would be more honest. My second, more pedantic, irritation was to discover American English as the language of publication.
As a guide to develop a toolkit, build yourself a platform to withstand and even turn around bullying and bullies, Stand Strong is a valuable resource for any library or bookshelf. Simple chapter summaries end each chapter to provide consolidation and effective reviews. In a school setting, I would be using it on an individual needs basis; something to have in the classroom, to share with kids as conjunction with resilience development. I would ensure the school support staff had copies to share, too.The message is strong and worth sharing.
Michael Cruickshank, Hellyer College, Burnie
A major issue that is faced by young people today is being bullied. Learning how to cope with bullies is a lesson well learnt and being armed with strategies to overcome bullies enables victims to be empowered.Nick Vujicic is a force to be reckoned with as he speaks about his experience at the hands of bullies. He believes that you don’t have to be part of the bullies ‘games’ and you need to build what he calls a bullying defence system. This system enables you to handle bullies of all kinds. This book is easy to read and understand. As it is written in a personal way, with many stories and anecdotes about his life, the content makes the message real. It is because of this that many children, and indeed adults, would take notice and take on board the advice he is giving. It is not, yet again, another expert giving advice about something they have studied but never experienced. It is easy to see, physically, how Nick would be a bully’s target. He is different. But he is strong and has a way with words that will strike home with a lot of people. This would be a great book for teenagers to read, particularly those who are faced with the cyber bullying attacks. Unfortunately, many bullies hide behind technology because they are too weak to face people head on. Well worth the read.