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Arlene Smith

Nice story...I have kids who have been bullied and it is so hard to watch. It can break your heart, right along with theirs. Growing up really has some hard knocks sometime....Thanks for sharing. Great photo - i bet she was great!

Moriah Bettencourt

OMG I grew up with one of those kinds of bullies! When you did something *she* deemed as stupid then the whole gaggle of 2nd graders would be forbidden from speaking to you or she would start a new club every week & no matter what there was always someone who didn't fit the current criteria who was left out in the cold. I still have awful memories of that girl... I wonder where she is today? Anyway good for Courtney! I'm so glad that she stood on her own! What a gorgeous girl she is inside & out!


Way to go Courtney Lee!!!
And way to go Mama!!!


Jennifer M.

That just might be the sweetest story I've read in a long time. Good for Courtney.

kelly s.

I love this story! She reminds me so much of my 6 year old and when I heard what song she did, I laughed out loud bc it's one of my daughters favorites (she calls it "the honey bee song")
Brava Courtney,
maybe we can get an encore and you can post the video!


This totally made me cry! Good job Courtney!


good for her. so proud ...
my husband has been teaching the kids to play harmonica too.
and i am scared to death of my stella meeting a "social butterfly" in kindergarten next year. then again ... it may be her best friend (currently) that appears to be that social butterfly ... and that worries me.
ah well ... we instill in them what we can when we can and then hope for the best.


Awesome story! Congratulations Courtney Lee. There are many adults who wouldn't have the courage to do what you did. Keep up the good work. You are beautiful and strong. Keeping your commitment even though your friend didn't is extraordinary for a kid your age. Congrats!


How wonderful when we can watch our kids rise above their insecurites and be able to deal w/ the bullies of life in a mature way! I find myself amazed at my daughters ability to do the hard things. As I at times struggle practicing what I preach! I love thae part " before I worked myself into a hissy" souds familiar. LOL Sometimes I am there and my daughter doesn't even have a clue of what is going on or maybe she just handles it better than I.So glad it was a " Wonderful Performance" for both of you!!


This story has me almost crying. I remember being a shy little girl that lacked self confidence. And even though I'm over 40 now I can be transported back to childhood and feel those insecure feelings. Yay for Courtney for conquering that fear. And Yay for you and Josh in supporting her!


Good for you Courtney! My daughter has gone through the same thing and it does get better. And I am positive that your song was way better than that mean little girls! Thanks for sharing your talent with us.


That is the most wonderful story!!! Wooo Hooo, Courtney!
I am so sorry Courtney was hurt, but what a life lesson she has gone through. Who could miss with all the family support she has?



Way to go Courtney! YOU ROCK! Isn't it great that we can all get to see how wonderful you are too. Well done.


wow. Go Courtney. This is a wonderful post, TFS!


Great job, Courtney! You know my daughter is in 1st grade and it seems to me like ALL the girls she meets are "social butterflies". I started to accept this unfortuate behavior as normal. I don't know if it is but it does make it tough. I just tell my girl that I wouldn't want to play with someone who treated me like that. And luckily there always seems to be someone else she can go play with. These kids seem to be best freinds one day, and then wont play with you later, and then best friends again. I don't get it. Its just heartbreaking.


What a great story! (that's all I can say. I don't have words for anything else.)


I am so swallowing down a lump in my throat right now. It's tough to watch them work through life's lessons. (I have a dd in Kindergartner going through the exact same thing and its driving me crazy that the only thing I can do is offer advice.)Way to go Courtney!!

Tonia Borrosch

So sweet. Love that song. :) Hope she was feeling so proud of herself when she was done.

Amy Emery

awesome. our 2nd grade son is going through the same thing with a boy in his school and our neighborhood. he's not in the same class at school, so where it usually plays out is in the walking to/from school and in the neighborhood kids playing together. and our cole is so tender-hearted, too. so hard. (and makes my dear husband so mad.) and i expected it with the girls (have 1st grade daughter), so surprised it's starting with the boys. anyway, good for courtney. hooray for josh and the harmonica, too. thanks for sharing.


that gave me goosebumps that is so awesome!


awwww... i love how courtney lee marched on... i love how her dad had so much confidence in her to perform an instrument she didn't know how to play (a guy thing)... and i love how this post just exudes of a mother's joy of a child's accomplishment to overcome and triumph....

Mleissa Priest

I am so impressed with how you are raising your kiddos. Many would have just not performed, but yours performed and such a great life lesson was taught (and learned!). Thanks for sharing!


First I'm not a "labler", God made us all unique and we all have little demons to conquer. One of my daughters has what is called Selective Mutism (used to be called, painfully shy). She is a loud wild ball of energy, voicing all sorts of opinions here at home, out in public, or even around adults she becomes mute. I privately forewarn all the adults she encounters, ballet teachers, Sunday School teachers etc that she probably won't ever "talk" with you, she will nod her head but you probably won't hear a peep from her. Anytime she speaks to an unfamiliar adult I am secretly doing backflips in my head, because that is progress! Yesterday, (you'll like this, Karen!) was my four school aged children's 6 month dental check up, we found this dentist a year ago, so this was about the 3rd time they've all been. We LOVE this dentist office, there are a half dozen of the most wonderful hygenists and two dentists that work really well with children, building there confidence that dentists are nice, not scary (I was abused by my childhood dentist... a story for another day) AND... I did some backflips in my head yesterday, because my very quiet 8 year old, responded with talking!!!!! Very quiet, but she did it!!! It's hard to describe how excited I felt! I understand, it is so difficult to stand by and watch our children struggle to conquer their demons. PS - I don't like bullies either!


yey for courtney! and boo for bullies!


Woohoo for Courtney!! I'm so glad that she stuck with it. Y'all must be so very proud of her.

Nicky from Canada

Again, you bring a tear to my eye. How amazing for her. I know the heartaches of bullies - and the type you are talking. Our middle daughter had that same kind of friend, one in elementary and one in high school - she finally grabbed her confidence and didn't put up with the bull crap anymore. Sometimes it takes them such a long time to be their own person, but when they do look out.
How proud you both must be!!


Isn't that the sweetest thing!! YEAH Courtney...

We had one of those bully-ies also...boy they are the worst ones, but in the long run I think it scared me more than my daughter (as her Mom I just cried about it ~ not in her presence of course ~ I told her "she didn't need friends like that!"). She has grown up to be an under-dog-saver and a good-deed-doer (maybe beacuse of her 'bully' or maybe not) but she did put it behind her, made new friends, and is better for it!

That little bully will get hers one day..and she'll be older...and it will hurt more!!

Erica Hettwer

You go, Courtney Lee!!! :D

Sandra VV

Way to go Courtney! I'm trying to swallow the big lump in my throat...
Courtney, you have so many people who love you and support you - at home and on this blog - and no so-called friend belongs in your world. Gather and conquer. Take care.


good job Courtney!

susan helms

My oldest daughter will be entering Kindergarten next year. This is something that I myself worry about. I don't want her to be that "kind" of little girl and I don't want that "kind" of little girl to hurt her. Very tough situation. This story and picture brought tears to my eyes! Way to go Courtney!!!!


Yayyyyyyyyyyyy for Courtney!



I love that story. And listen, my little sister has been best friends with just such a bully (kind of reminds me of Eddie Haskell) since kindergarten. I still listen to her deal with that stuff, 30 years later. Now it's things like, "those are cute pants, they'd make me look fat...I wonder if they come in a size 0?" And she gets left out of girls' night out sometimes, like high school - it drives me crazy. With such a great daddy and extra mom like you, she will hopefully find her own way. Go Courtney!!


Sounds so familiar. We have one of "those girls" and it makes me want to rip my (or her) hair out. My little Madeline is very sweet and can be quiet, but has a great circle of lovely friends. The trouble girl isn't in her class, isn't one of her friends really, but rides the same bus as Maddy and TORMENTS her for wearing pink. Maddy wears pretty much all Gymboree and Gap and always looks cute. The other girl wears sweatpants that say "hottie" on the butt with half shirts (and they're 6). For some reason, this girl shakes Maddy's confidence and it drives me insane. We've talked about the difference between someone being a friend and a bully - and Maddy gets it now. It took most of the school year, but Madeline finally tells her "I wear what I like. I like my style." As I type this I realize how ridiculous this is, but still...when its your little one it just doesn't matter how ridiculous it sounds. Standing up for yourself is such an important lesson - one I thought she'd have to learn in middle school. *sigh*

P.S. Go Courtney Lee!!!


Hi Karen!
I don't know that you will ever read this, but I want to post it because it helped me and hopefully it will help your family, too.

Just earlier today I read an article from the Sept 08 issue of Wonder Time. The article stressed that there are all kinds of bullies.

The lesson from the article is how bullying really ends with the victim not the bullier. When the victim gets upset then you've given the power to the bully. This creates the bully wins, victim loses dynamic.

So it encourages us to empower our kids by letting them know how they are forfeiting their power to the bully. It encourages them to come back with positives and deflecting statements which shut the bullier down.

Hope this is just a little something that is useful.

Amy Snyder

Thank you for sharing such a heart warming story! Way to go, Courtney! My children are 3 and 2 and shy. I can only imagine what lies ahead for them.

Great picture btw!

Nancy Wyatt

Woohooo for Courtney! This story made me all warm and fuzzy. Tissue please! So sweet, please give her a big hug from all of us! hugs from Conroe, TX!

Mary Ann

Congrats Courtney!
So proud of you!!


I love this story, Karen. My son Jack sounds a lot like Courtney Lee (Jack will be in kindergarten in the fall). And we already have a neighbor/friend who is the type of bully you describe and Jack just adores him and has his heart broken by him all of the time. So sad. I hope that my little guy can find the same inner strength that Courtney has! :)


Yeah, Courtney Lee! Yeah, Mom and Dad! You all handled this so very well! Kids can be so mean it breaks my heart sometimes. As someone who has worked in elementary school for many years I have seen this scenario played out in all sorts of different ways. This one made my day. Thank you so much for that!


Way to go Courtney! You sparkle and shine on your own. I'm some strange lady you don't know in California, but you've made me proud of you and totally impressed. I don't think I would get up in front of my school ever! Especially all by myself.

Jeanette B

I agree, sweet, sweet story. :)


awww, that made me cry! Way to go Courtney Lee! I'm sure it was a very proud moment.


Yeah! Courtney Lee!!!

You're more beautiful inside and out than any other girl in your first grade class. Keep being sweet and you will always have good friends!!!

Hug and a Smootch :@ (ha..that looks funny!)

Kristen B.

oh my. you brought a little tear to my eye. thanks for sharing.


It's not enough that we have to go through these things on our own. We have to experience all the ups and downs of our children, too.

You tell Courtney that she is beautiful -- on both the inside and outside. And that there are thousands of us on the Internet cheering her on.


Good job to Courtney and good idea to Josh Downs. Take that bully girl!


Courtney... way to go.Wish I could have heard that concert.
Karen and Josh, the world needs more parents like you.

Wendy Goodman

I love this. Awesome. The thought of sending my child to school in a few years terrifies me. There are so many mean kids out there. Hurray for Courtney Lee going through with the talent show (instead of giving up). I'm sure you are so proud of her.


Dear Courtney Lee:

I think that your playing harmonica at the school talent show was a really amazing thing! First of all, it sounds like you gave yourself a crash course in the harmonica, and that is pretty impressive! Second, great choice of songs to play along to! I really like that whole soundtrack. You have good taste. :) And third - and most important - I am very impressed with the way you bounced back. Sadly, not everyone is nice, and this is one of those things that even happens to grown ups. We don't like it much either. :( BUT, the important thing is that you kept going. You still did the show...and every one knows, the show must go on. You should be very proud of yourself for how you managed a very yucky situation.

Great job!


I think the term you're looking for is 'frenemy!' - glad she overcame the situation.


Courtney is my kinda girl! I want what that kid has in spades. All the rest, you and Josh Downs, and her mother can teach her. GUTS is a gift. Courtney has it in spades. Let her know that she has many people who admire her even though they have never met her.


Yay for Courtney!


thanks for such a heartwarming story!!! I bet she was the best one in the show!!!


That is such a sweet story.

Megan Renfree

Oh that is a sweet story! Good on her. My eldest son is very similar, and has similar friends, and I was equally as proud of him for recently auditioning for the school choir, and getting in, even though his friends told him it was uncool. I loved the fact he branching out and doing something he wanted to do all by himself!!


YEAH Courtney Lee!

allison Gottlieb

My 6 year old is a shy girl too - and often has problems with those social butterflies. It's hard work to raise kids with good morals, and I am so glad to hear that there's yet another Mom doing the same thing I am. Good for you, and your husband. AND WTG Courtney Lee.


Your post made me tear up for Courtney Lee! I teach Kindergarten and I know all about the type of bullying girl that you wrote about. It is sad that they can be like that at such a young age. I'm working hard to put a stop to it in my classroom. I would have loved to have seen that performance!

jen compton

i teared up reading this. makes me feel like a proud *mama bear* - thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

my daughter is 8 and is completely the opposite of me. she's outgoing and loud and talkative and likes to be the center of attention. i am shy and being the center of attention sends me into a comatose state. i fear that if she becomes the "mean" girl, i won't know how to deal with it because i won't understand where she's coming from at all. i've been in her classroom enough to see the bullies and sometimes it's subtle but stings to the core. i remember those times. and don't want my daughter to be involved in that in any way. there are way too many self-esteem issues on both sides! we'll keep praying for each other as moms to know what the right thing to do and say during those teachable moments.

thanks again.


Thanks for sharing this story. And yeah for Courtney Lee!


Mean girls suck! My daughter is in 1st grade too, and we know more than a few of those "social butterflies." they are sneaky and manipulative and i'm glad they aren't mine! Courtney Lee is a little gem and I love seeing that sweet little face. My daughter sang her little heart out at her talent show tryouts and didn't get picked. But the mom who was coordinating the show - her daughter was picked (surprise, surprise!) and she was awful. Seriously painful to watch. Annoyed me to no end...


This post is one of your most heartwrenching. I was like that (still am) and just SO happy Courtney Lee got up there and performed. More importantly, she got up there and showed her, ahem, "friend" that she doesn't need her. She'll be a true friend to someone else who comes along and wants to be a true friend back. Way to go! You & Josh must still be beaming!


Courtney Lee, you go girl!

My dd went through a similar thing with "friends" who were really bullies when she was in Kindy, 1st, and 2nd grade. She just finished her sophomore year of college, and she still remembers what that was like. She changed schools in 3rd grade, and life was sooooooo much better after that!

Dana N

Hooray Courtney Lee! You did it!


What a great story - leaves a lump in my throat...I can only imagine how it made you feel standing there, watching her. I salute both of you building your children's capabilities and their connections so they, in turn, feel confident. I have read your blog since the beginning, and I really admire you. Keep on, keep on!


WTG Courtney!!! You're a stud-ette!!!


isn't it so hard mothering girls who have to go thru what we did as girls and you don't ever want them to feel that pain/rejection and you just wanna turn them into little versions of the now i know better woman we are now???? haha my girl child is 16 and it is so HARD! we just have to keep instilling the right social behaviors in them.

Heather Dietz

Way to go Courtney! I bet you rocked it on that harmonica! Keep up the great work!


As an elementary school teacher, I've seen many "social butterflies" over the years. And, truly, many are outgoing, exuberant, and friendly. Others are not. They are exactly as you describe. It is a centuries-old problem, and I'd be a billionaire if I could fix it. You and Josh have done a trmendous job of working on fixing it for Courtney, and she will grow stronger, bolder, and more confident for your hard work, patience, and support. Though I don't know Courtney's teacher, I do know teacher code language for many behaviors that we can't discuss with other parents. If this teacher doesn't recognize snotty behavior, believe me, someday some other teachers will. My mother was a 30+ year teacher, and she called it the "Flip-Butt" syndrome. Unfortunately, many girls never outgrow it, and they are unpleasant to know as women.

Beth Ann

Way to go Courtney!!!

tammy t

crying. Beautiful story. We have dealt with the same type of situation with our oldest daughter who is now 12. Watching her struggle socially has been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. I have just prayed that what she has gone thru has build character and empathy for others and have seen that lately. Congrats to Courtney...and to her Dad for knowing how to be there for her.


Kelly M

OMGoodness, thank you for sharing her story. I always tell my kids, especially my 15 year old, that it is the not how well you do that impresses me, but the mere fact you got up and did it. It is so hard to follow through with something when you feel like you might curl up and die(i know, sounds like I am speaking from experience) but I can not begin to tell you what a valuable life lesson(s) she learned by doing what she did. 1.Standing up to the girl that she does not need this "bully' to do things or be important. She can do that all on her own. 2. Courage is doing something even though you are scared. 3. Not being afraid to do something by yourself, and 3. Showing this "bully" how important it is to actually follow through with something when you tell others you are doing it. AWESOME!! Brought tears to my eyes. I am a very big loud mouth, but I am also secretly painfully shy, and the fact that she was able to do this in first grade shows her that she can do anything she wants, even if she is scared.


yeah for Courtney!!


Karen, I am sure you have heard this many times, but Courtney is so lucky to have you in her life

Brooke - in Oregon

Ok, got a little choked up over this one. Courtney we are all so dang proud of you!! WAY TO GO!!! And fooey on kids who are not nice.

Man oh Man she looks so much like Josh!


Oh, I just want to hug her. And your husband-what a dad! And, it's a beautiful shot too:) You all will have so many memories just looking at this picture-I think it fits your criterea of telling a story and making you smile!!!


Aw :)


Ok - now I am crying my eyes out! My baby is about to turn 20. Reminds me of trying to raise little girls with confidence and how powerful another person can be. In one instant...spirits can be broken. I am still trying to keep the demons away. Nothing like loving parents and family to give her power!


Wow...good for Courtney! My daughter was so shy and had the same self esteem issues when she was little. It took years for her to become her own person and not follow the "leader". She still has to struggle when it comes to things but is stronger and a better person than most. I could feel your frustration, especially being far away at the time, but know that you love all your kids and just want the best for them.

Shauna M

ah being a parent is tough.. I am so exhausted by the politics of the 'one day being friends' and the next day 'they hate me' thing.. and this is all just for my oldest.. a boy in grade six.. who knew boys could be so nasty..
I feel for you...
Parenting is such a tough job..
She looks so sweet with her harmonica :)


Way to go go girl!!!!


We had a similar experience with the social butterfly. We had to discuss what a real friend was,and that as hard as it is to believe it, this kid was not a real friend, real friends don't treat friends that way. It's so hard!
Love the photo!


That's the way to go, Courtney! I have also a girl with lack of self-confidense and has a hard time at school so I do understand how you all feels.


that made me tear up.

tara pollard pakosta

that's awesome!
you are a wondeful mom and
Courtney is so lucky to have you in her life>!
and a great dad too!


I hope Courtney felt the awesome confidence that she got up on the stage and performed it all by herself. Way to go!

Annie L.

Good JOB Courtney!!! It will make you a stronger person.
Had a friend just like that growing up... It will help her appreciate the true friends in her life.

Lisa Risser

This seriously brought tears to my eyes! I wish I knew why girls do this--my daughter has had similar experiences, and it is just so tough to watch them go thru! I think it is a mixture of our fierce love for them and old wounds and emotions it stirs up in us. BRAVO Miss Courtney, I would have loved to have heard you play!


You are a GREAT story-writer. I've only been on your blog twice, but I get swept into it...reading your stories about your kids. You've got a great sense of humor too. I was so touched reading this story about your little girl. I could feel your well as your pride. What a sweet girl!


I am dealing with this same 'bully' stuff with my kindergartener. :(


What a sweet story. And I know exactly what you mean by the bully thing. My girls' are Kindergartners and there is one girl who always doesn't like someone and it is usually one of my girls. I tell them to just pretend she is as nice as everyone else (which she is NOT) and now she is stating she won't come to their birthday party unless there is cheese pizza. Well there is NOT going to be cheese pizza and I'd be glad to see her stay home (oh that was a mean mom thing to say wasn't it) but really don't mess with the baby bears 'cuz the mama bear can be really crabby!


Way to go Courtney! I agree with you bullies are the absolute worst! Even worst their parents who don't think their children are bullies! I won't get on my tangent either. :)
Just really proud of Courtney for not letting anyone ruin her fun!

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