News broke this morning about a teenage girl, Amanda Todd who committed suicide yesterday because she was cyber-bullied and bullied at school so much. My heart truly broke. The thought that any one can come to the conclusion that taking their own life is the easiest way to escape the pain is just heartbreaking.
My message today is on the flip side of things. Everyone wants to believe that their child is a good kid. Your child may not be the one being bullied. But he or she may be in the group of kids that are doing the bullying. Though they may not be the ones directly saying the words or physically causing pain to another child, by being associated with the bully, they are giving him or her ammo. Confidence to continue it.
Talk to your kids about surrounding themselves with good people. About how their friends are a direct reflection as to what kind of person they are. About standing up for someone who doesn't deserve what they are getting. About not just being a passive bystander.
We've seen dozens of stories just like this one. Boys and girls just like Amanda Todd. We are all so focused on what the victim should be doing- seeking help, talking to parents/teachers, etc. I think we should be looking into the situation from all angles. The bystanders who are guilty by association. The kids who don't agree to what is going on but aren't using their voice to stop it. When using their voice could be the one thing this young girl needed... because she didn't have her own.
So to the kids in school: On Monday, I ask you to sit next to the kid who sits alone at lunch. Both your lives will change for the better.
Oh, and also watch the documentary, Bully when you can. Here's a clip.