This morning, as I sipped my coffee, I listened to the parents of a young man speak on his suicide. This boy killed himself just a week ago, tired of the bullying he received for years of his life. Most of the hateful comments were directed at his sexual orientation.
His parents were aware of the bullying, and talked with him regularly about it. They asked him daily how things were as he started his first year of high school this year, and he told them that the bullying had not followed him to high school, but apparently it did.
On September 8th, this young man tweeted "I always say how bullied I am but no one listens."
I don't think my opinion on this is going to be popular, so it is probably a good thing hardly anyone reads my blog.
Who is it that is suppose to listen? The schools? The police? How about the parents?
I KNOW that being a parent is tough, and supporting the family is also tough. But, who ELSE is suppose to take care and meet the needs of the child, if not the parents? I don't mean to cast aspersions on the parenting skills of this set of parents. They obviously did the best they could, and they obviously loved and cherished their son. But, the mind-set of parents in general seems to be that this is just how things are, and *someone* has got to do something.
The day before his death, this boy tweeted to Lady Gaga "bye bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done."
Lady Gaga dedicated a concert to this boy, and spoke with President Obama at a fundraising event already about his anti-bullying campaign.
I contend that while others may do much to bring awareness to this issue, and that while laws likely need to be enacted to punish bullies and show them there are consequences for those actions, and while we can wear t-shirts with slogans all day long, the help needs to be more imminent.
Perhaps we need bully hotlines in the same way that we utilize suicide, rape and other hotlines?
Perhaps adults who are willing need to let the tweens and teens in their life KNOW that they can be called upon for action if needed?
But, more than anything, why aren't the parents acting to the fullest of their ability? This just breaks my heart. We have options as parents, the single biggest of which is to remove the child from the situation that is so incredibly distressing and harmful to their wellbeing. Yes, remove the child. I believe it is the obligation of the parent to pull that child out of school if school is not a safe place to be.
We see that parents do this for other issues, some as basic as weather issues. The parents rush to the school, grab their child/ren, and go home. Sometimes the school dismisses the child/ren due to the potential for violent weather. Safety is the issue.
Well, threatening behavior to another is an issue of safety as well, and as far as I am concerned, it is a much larger issue than weather.
Parents are bamboozled into believing that school is the only option. As a nation, school is "what we do," when a child reaches the age of 5 or so. The local elementary school here posts, on its big illuminated sign, words to the effect of "time to enroll your 5 year old," each year. That sign never gives the rest of the choices. It does not say "...if you want to. Because you really don't have to. The legal age to begin school is 7 years of age in this state, so you really can keep your precious child home a couple more years if you want." It does not say, "...or, you may want to to homeschool, because that is an excellent option too, and one that will likely be fulfilling and rewarding for your whole family, and also likely prevent suicide due to bullying in later years."
"I always say how bullied I am but no one listens."
Wow. Who could have done something effective, if not the parents?
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a great day, filled with good wishes, beloved children (and dog), humor and good food!
To start the day, I took Sara to Arielle's class for a presentation she was doing on service animals. Sara made quite the impression! Unfortunately, when I got back to the car, my keys were missing, resulting in a good long trek around campus before I found them off campus at the security building. Whew!
I spent the better part of my afternoon researching a program in which I am considering enrolling. I spoke with two alumni, and am quite excited! More later, when I am sure this is my course of action!
Autumn got home and brought my one of the funniest cards I have ever seen. Here is what it said:
wow you're old.
like really old.
like your genitals are starting to fossilize.
like you were there when they discovered fire.
like a pterodactyl could have eaten you.
like you could have shot pool with jesus.
eeesh. good luck with that.
She then took me out to supper at Mimi's Cafe, where the food was astonishingly delicious! I had a favorite, which is not often offered, chicken piccata with capers. YUM! Their french bread was wonderful, too!
On the way home, we stopped for something at Target, and the clerk made my birthday quite memorable, albeit in an unexpected way. The lady in front of me at the checkout gave $30 to pay for her bill of $28.69. So, she had change coming in the amount of $1.31. Well, the young clerk (Eric, I think was his name) assumed she was paying him with two $20 bills, and put that into the register. So, the change to return showed up as $11.31. He was struggling with how much change to give her, and actually tore off the receipt, looked at it, and said "let's see, I owe you $2.31." Well, I leaned in and said, "no, you owe her $1.31. She gave you $10 less than you input into the register, so just subtract $10 from the total it is telling you to give back to her." He did that.
So, my bill was $5.35, and since I did not have a $5 bill, I pulled out a $10, and grabbed a dime and quarter from the coin section of my wallet. Well, young Eric had already seen my $10 bill, and input that into the register, showing a change due back of $4.65. He told me to go ahead and put my change away, and he would just give me what the register told him. And then he said....wait for it....wait for it...."My generation just doesn't do things the same way yours did." AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I nearly split a gut trying not to laugh! And, of course Autumn is standing next to me, and she is trying to hold it in, too.
As we walked away, we could no longer contain ourselves and we had a terrific laugh over that! Then I turned around, went back in, and bought a cane. LOL Happy Birthday to me!
Oh, yeah, this was my 55th birthday, and that means I am now eligible for AARP membership, AND I can order the blue plate specials at Denny's! I think the last time I was this excited about turning a year older, it was to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Somehow though, it just isn't the same.
I wrapped up my day watching a movie with Autumn, and falling asleep while reading one of my favorite authors. Ken Follett has just put out the first of a trilogy, and Amelia bought it for me for my birthday. She usually gets me my favorite authors as gifts, and this one is already engrossing, and a trilogy! Hot diggity!