The Hippo Hypothesis

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     Bullying happens everywhere… even in elementary school.  However, the name calling is not as drastic as you would hear from older teens and even adults.  I was honestly shocked at the amount of drama that happens between girls in the 4th grade.  My daughter, Hope (now in 7th) found herself smack dab in the middle of this drama and came home one day upset about a name they were calling her.  In my mind, I was conjuring up some really nasty words, thinking I would be making a phone call to the school the next day.

     Now, if you knew my daughter, it takes her 20 minutes to tell a 5 minute story.  After the first ten minutes, I urged her to move it along and tell me this horrible name.  She cried out, “Mom they are calling me Hope the Hippo!”  I laughed… I know that sounds like a horrible reaction when your child is visibly upset, but I can explain.  Hope is tiny; she is the skinniest and shortest of all her friends.  So when she told me they were calling her a hippo, I giggled because she was no where near being hippo-like. I had to figure out a way to deal with it without causing a big uproar at school.  So I went for the proactive approach.

     Instead of calling the school, I sat Hope down and showed her pictures of hippos and how cute they actually can be.  Okay maybe not all of them, but the little ones are cute. She had just started her own Facebook page (of course I would monitor it closely), and the new look with the cover photo had just started. With my skills in Photoshop, I created a cover photo for her page with cute pics of hippos.  I also added “I love hippos” at the bottom.  Than for her profile pic, I added the meme at the top of this post.  Hope loved it!  Without having to say a word to the kids who called her hippo (giggle – it still doesn’t make any sense) she stood up to them by taking the power of their words away.  She was never called a hippo again.  However, she has now grown so fond of hippos that she collects them.

Hippos redoThis was her cover photo.

     I know not all bullying situations can be handled with such ease, but in cases such as this one… taking the high road is so much better.

Have a blessed day!


About The Author


Mom of 5 amazing kids, married to Shawn, retired teacher of 19 years, cares for a total of 9 pets (3 frisky cats and 6 great-tempered dogs), daughter, really amateur photographer, photoshopper, a football, wrestling, track, baseball, dance, and tumbling mom, zazzle designer, constant dieter, handles the budget, hates to cook, addicted to coffee, trying-to-quit smoker, TV potato, and passionate about writing.


  1. Louise | 15th Sep 14

    I love how you handled this! Well done!

  2. Terri's Thoughts | 15th Sep 14

    I love how you handle this, I am going to share with my sister because my nephew has been bullied before, hoping no more though

    • tamarasuz | 15th Sep 14

      Bullying is so horrible… best wishes to your sister and I hope things work out for him.

  3. Emma @ P is for Preschooler | 21st Sep 14

    Good thinking mama! I’m so glad that such an easy solution worked to ease your daughter’s pain. I wish all bullying situations could be handled so easily and so well!

    • tamarasuz | 21st Sep 14

      Bullying has become such a horrible epidemic in all grade levels. I have seen it bring out the worst in people and I have also witnessed some kids being quite heroic standing up for others they don’t even know.

  4. Joanna Sormunen | 21st Sep 14

    Words can really hurt! And children take them so differently. My son gets hurt very easily, even when his friends don’t mean to hurt him with what they say. It’s hard and something we struggle with when I try to teach him about social situations and how to cope with them better.

    • tamarasuz | 21st Sep 14

      Exactly! My youngest is this way if someone looks at her in a way she thinks is mean. I just found a way to turn what could have been a mean word and turned it around taking the power out of it.

  5. Tricia The Good Mama | 21st Sep 14

    Great thinking! I taught kindergarten and you would be amazed how much drama there can be at such a young age. I think often times kids don’t even realize that their words hurt. I love the way you handled this.

    • tamarasuz | 21st Sep 14

      Thanks so much… sometimes, as a mom, I just want to react but was so glad I held it together and figured out a positive way to handle it.

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