I won’t lie. My heart has broken many times over since I wrote and published Memoirs of a Bullied Kid last week. Hundreds of stories have been shared, thousands of comments posted, and many beautiful changes are even  being made in our homes and in our schools. For that, I am in a constant state of sincere gratitude. Thank you.

Today though, I wish to take a step back, and look at a small handful of the responses that I received after that post in which I urged bullying solutions that involved loving and building the bullies instead of fighting them and tearing them down. The words of these responses have broken my heart in a much different way, for I believe they show the very problem that we cause for ourselves and for our children when we choose to battle this bullying pandemic with hatred and anger instead of with kind voices or soft hands.

The following messages were comments or emails that I received from parents, unedited.

“Dan, I can not bring myself to love the child who is making every attempt to destroy mine. I would be lying if I told you I could do it. I want him to suffer as much as he has made my child suffer. I know you think it is wrong, but I want to see justice, and I want to see this kid feel what it’s like to be hated and hurt.”

“Your words made me cry until I got to the part about loving the bullies. They don’t deserve love, they aren’t hurting. Some people just love to be mean and some people just love power. I will not love the bullies because they don’t deserve my love, and I definitely will not teach my daughter to love the bullies.”

“do you really expect people to buy this? bullies are beyond feeling and they deserve to be hated and punished because that is exactly what they have done to the kids they are bullying.”

And finally, from an anonymous sender:

“I wish nothing more than the bullying problem to end because of your essay. It is rediculous and has to be stopped but you can not put you’re arm around a bully cause they have no feelings. I knkow this from experience when I was young. You need to stop preaching love and peace and instead talk about a real solution like teaching your kid how to hurt the bully back or even better how an entire group can gang up on a bully. Screw the bullies feelings, their not even human.”

Stop, and read that last sentence again.

“their not even human.”

When I received each of the first three messages, my heart was broken a little bit more with each one. When I received that last message, it was crushed.

“their not even human.”

I don’t even know how to respond to that statement besides to tear up. I don’t need to respond to that statement. It’s a declaration that stands taller than darkness itself, proving the very cancer that is taking over our society.

“their not even human.”

We are talking about our children here. We are talking about a portion of the population who thinks that getting asked to the next dance is the only thing that matters in life. We are talking about beautiful souls. And yes, they have done unbeautiful things, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are beautiful.

They are real.

Somebody tell me. How and when did so many of us gain this divine ability to walk on water? How have so many of us forgotten how beautifully imperfect and broken we each are? When did our “Perfection” reach such “perfect” levels that we were suddenly “perfect” enough to hate and destroy a child?

How does it make any sense that as we each work endlessly to paint over the darkest corners of our own lives, we simultaneously cannot bring ourselves to hand a paint brush to another hurting person?

Oh yeah. It’s because “their not even human”.