Thursday, October 21, 2010

it gets better.. right?

there has been a lot of talk lately about bullying... specifically about the bullying of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual kids in high school (and college) that eventually led to suicide, or attempted suicide.

it's awful to think that we are a society who are raising our children to hate other people simply because of who they are. it takes me back to being on the plane this past summer when i was flying back from new york. you all remember the boy scout that i told the importance of kissing well too, right? well what i didn't mention was the conversation(s) we had about gay people (it was relevant and he brought he up). and how he was vehemently against any person being gay. and how he said he'd never be friends with someone who was gay. and how he would know they were gay just by looking at them. i tried to explain to him that it didn't work like that. i tried to tell him that maybe one of his best friends right now was gay. and would he hate that person if he found out down the road that he was? his mind couldn't open enough to even comprehend that possibility. the concept was so "california" of me to even suggest to him. because of course, him being 15 years old, he knew everything and if one of his best friends was gay, he'd certainly know because he'd do something predictable like "talk funny" or "hit on" him constantly. i tried so hard to tell this boy that gay people were in fact, PEOPLE just like he and i were. i wasn't trying to change the entire way he was raised, i just wanted him to see past the prejudice a little and maybe, just maybe, have a small part of him accept that it would be okay if he was friends with someone who was gay.

no dice.

wasn't going to happen. but i tried. i was heartbroken many times during that flight when i spoke to that boy. i don't blame him for how he was raised. and i know that it has a lot to do with his parenting, his community, and his surroundings. i guess it's just so sad to me because i have a 12 year old son that i'm not raising that way at all. and i would hope that if he sat next to some stranger on a plane and that person talked to him about gay people, that he would respond with kindness and an open mind and heart. i can do my part by starting at home with my own son. and do my best to raise him to not judge anyone until you know enough about them to make a judgement. i don't care if he doesn't like someone, but he needs to have a reason for it. blake came home from school not too long ago and told me that he got into it with some older kids because they were picking on a kid with disabilities. he jumped in and shoved the older kids and told them to leave the kid alone.

he made me proud. because he did what was right. and he had the courage to not just watch it happen.... he had the courage to make it STOP. yeah, i think i'm doing okay when it comes to him.

i watched that show on MTV the other day called "if you really knew me"... and it was all about high school kids judging other kids based on how they look or dress. and this one girl was bullied so viciously that she wanted to stop coming to school. and she was only a freshman. i look back at my high school years and i don't remember ever feeling that way. it made me sad for her that she couldn't see past the people yelling at her and calling her names. that she couldn't see that she wasn't the names she was being called. she was better than that. but it's hard to not let things like that affect you. especially when you're that age and what people think of you means the world to your self esteem. it made me sick that the other girls calling her names, got off on making her cry. they loved the power and control they had. they enjoyed watching her crumble publicly. why is that?

and then apparently, when the school administrators are made aware that bullying is going on- many parents say the same thing- "the administrators say it's just normal teenage name calling and it will blow over." does that excuse fly when your child was bullied to the point
of killing themselves?

we have to remember that these kids are just that- they are still kids. they can't see past what is currently going on in their insecure, all about them, minute by minute bubble of a world. they can't see that tomorrow might get better. they can only see and think that tomorrow will be just the same as it was today. or maybe worse. they don't tend to see things as glass half full. it's glass half empty all the way. and the thought of things EVER getting better, when you have 3 more years of high school torturing to go??? i'm sure just the thought of 3 more years of trying to get through something seems impossible to them. they think they'll never be able to handle it. they can't project to a time when they are grown up, and working, and loving whoever they want to love, and they are surrounded be people who love and accept them. they can't get that far!!!

the administrators need to get involved. they HAVE to stop the bullying. it's not okay to make other people want to stop coming to school. or want to end their life. we can't just sit by and watch this happen to our youth.

i don't have the answers, but like i said... i'm starting at home. with my son... and his friends. whenever the opportunity arises for me to say something that will influence them positively and lovingly, i do it.

it's not that bullying or judging will ever go away completely. hell, even as adults we judge each other. right or wrong, we all have different opinions and thoughts....

it's just that school should be a safe place for our children to go- NO matter who they are. they should have a place that is safe and protected where adults are on their side. and the problem is, that's not what school feels like for those people at all.

it's hell. and they HAVE to go.


Anonymous said...

Bullying is a big problem today. I am so sad for the loss of those boys recently who all killed themselves.

judy in ky said...

Good for you! I wish more parents were like you. The world would be a better place.