In the arena of bullying, I can guarantee that any child who takes his own life, does so under the assumption that nobody actually values having her around. I can guarantee that any child who takes his own life or the life of another, did so because he had been brutally pushed to the edge of a cliff, and ultimately felt he had to choose between his life or the lives of his relentless pursuers, because somebody is going over the edge.
You see, the bullied aren’t blessed with the perspective of temporariness. The bullied aren’t blessed with the ability to think in terms of the future. The bullied have only one thing on their mind. Survival. And some bullied kids, unfortunately, are pushed so far, and want to remain living so badly, that they do desperate and illogical things to survive.
You know what else I can guarantee? That one person… just one person really loving and spending serious time with any of these kids who have taken these extremes could have made all the difference. I am not talking about five minutes or an afternoon. I’m talking about a long-term commitment to love.
The stories we see on the news… they are the extremes. The real truth is, way more of our children are being bullied and bullying others than we ever would like to admit to ourselves. Some bullied children receive it in small doses, some in life-ending amounts. Sometimes it’s as “minor” as making fun of clothes or name-calling. Sometimes it’s extreme physical or sexual abuse. No matter what kind of bullying is going on, it hurts, and it has lasting effects on our children.
So, please, I beg you. If you’re an adult, put your arm around your own kids. Put your arm around your neighbor’s kids. Put your arm around every kid you can. If you’re a student, put your arm around the bully and the bullied. You simply don’t know what person needs to feel like somebody loves her. You simply don’t know what person’s life you will save by showing him that, today, you care. And tomorrow you’ll still care.
Bullying needs to be openly discussed with every single child and teenager. If we don’t discuss it, it may be your child or your friend on the news being shot dead at school, or maybe, God forbid, the one standing behind the barrel of a gun. Every bullied kid that committed atrocities was someone’s kid. Every child that has been shot or killed was someone’s kid. Every child that has taken his or her own life was someone’s kid. Don’t let any of those be your kid. Don’t let any of those be your peers.
I am not being dramatic. This is a big and overwhelming problem. I hear over, and over, the parents of the victims say, “I never knew there was a problem.”
If we don’t, as a population, make this issue a priority, we will continue to see this horribleness get worse. We will continue finding our children hanging by their necks, lifeless in their closets. We will continue to see the drug problem get worse. We will continue to see the gang problem get worse. We will continue to hear of mass shootings. We will continue to have children who have no self-esteem. We will continue to have children who hate themselves. And they likely will carry that hate through their entire lives.
You see, I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the ones who was able to figure out that life can get better. I am one of the ones who grew to love myself, believe I am attractive, and believe I am worth something. And, sadly, I am the exception. Most kids who are severely bullied, never grow up to be anything. Because nobody ever did anything to help them. Some of them don’t even live long enough to grow up at all.
Please. Today, do something to save our youth from this terrible disease. Today, find a child or a classmate who is timid, shy, closed-off, or sad and do something, anything to help him or her feel love. Today, change the future for somebody incredible.
Share this post. Share it with everybody you know, no matter if you’ve experienced the many sides of bullying or not. Immediately post it on Facebook and twitter, along with a personal plea for others to read it and share it themselves, and then do it again tomorrow. Make sure that this is read by every young person you know. If you are one of the young people, do your part to make this spread. If you are a teacher, read this with your classes. If you are anybody who has any influence over our youth, use it.
We all need to love our youth enough to help make a difference today. Our youth need to love each other enough to believe this message and then find courage to do something about it.
You never know who you will save, and all because you took five seconds to copy and paste a link. All because you had the courage to share the perspective of somebody who has been there, and cares. Sharing this has nothing to do with me or my blog. It has everything to do with the fact that change like this can’t happen without numbers. Let’s see if we can get half a million people sharing this on Facebook. That would be power to make change.
I believe we can, because I believe that you are as ready to put an end to these news stories as I am.
If I could give one message to the bullies, it would be this: You are incredible. You are bound for great things. You have the potential to be anybody you want to be. There are people who believe in you. There are people who love you. Be what we know you can be, even if you don’t believe in yourself right now.
If I could give one message to the bullied, it would be this: You are not alone. You are strong. You have a voice. You are beautiful. You are intelligent. There are many kids who want to speak up for you, but they don’t because they are afraid of becoming bullied themselves. There are many of us in the world who love you. I love you. You have the power to end this now. That power is in your voice. Find it. Once you use your voice, bullies want no part of you. If you feel that you lack the courage, fake it until you do. Finally, I know it’s hard to see a life that exists beyond high school. It is there, and it is beautiful.
If you are in school right now and are experiencing heavy bullying, and you ever need an understanding ear, I’m here for you. Send me an email. My address is at the top of this page. I can’t promise an immediate response, but I will respond.
And finally, everybody please leave a comment (even if anonymously). If you have ever been bullied, please share your experiences with it here. So much of the world doesn’t understand what it’s like to be in your shoes, and this is a great place to start finding your voice. If you have ever witnessed someone being bullied, please share your feelings about it here. If you have ever been the bully, please share your perspective. I won’t judge you. I love you. The true power of this post will come with what you share below.
I thank God that we are not our past. Any of us. We are our future and nothing else.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS, would love for you to follow Single Dad Laughing. It’s usually not this heavy. It’s usually not this long. We have a lot of fun around here. Sometimes, though, there are things like this which simply need to be said. We hope you’ll come along for the ride.
FOLLOW UP (10/11/10): Today I posted a follow up to this post called Bullies. “their not even human”. After hearing so many of your responses to both posts, I felt a great need to clarify a few things in a 3rd short post called, What should the bullied do?. Hopefully after reading all three you will understand that it is not the bullied I am asking to put their arms around the bullies. And hopefully you will understand why.