I am sure many of you have heard by now, the story of Amanda Todd. It has been a week now since she took her young life because of bullying. It is such a tragic loss of a young life, and for what? It is completely senseless and the whole situation fills me with a plethora of emotions.
Since I have heard of Amanda's story I have been wanting to blog about it and make a plea to the adults out there, parents and non-parents. It is all well and good to teach children that bullying is wrong but we have to remember that children take their behaviour from what they see around them. So next time you see someone doing or wearing something you may not agree with, stop, take a look around and see what little ears and eyes may be observing you, and think before you speak.
I honestly believe that children learn how to treat others from watching the people closest to them. What message are we sending to our children if we are making comments about another person's behaviour and/or appearance in a cruel fashion. Or by trying to use fear and intimidation to get people to do what we want. Children will think that it is ok to treat their classmates and peers the same way and it becomes a vicious cycle.
I have been the victim of bullying. It tears you down and makes you feel worthless and that is not a great feeling to have, especially at such an impressionable age. I have been called names, have had lies spread about me, my life threatened and honestly I still have no idea what I did to these people to make them dislike me so much and to think I deserved to be treated this way. No one deserves to be made to feel worthless. Everyone has worth, even if someone else might not appreciate that worth or it doesn't fit in with their views.
As a parents I worry on a daily basis about my son and if he is being picked on at school or otherwise. I have always taught him that if someone is putting him down or threatening him in anyway to go and tell someone he trusts, a teacher, principal or his father or myself. In grade one he was bullied by another boy in his class and when he tried to talk to the teacher about it he was told to stop tattling. This enraged me since I had told him that his teacher could be trusted and then she let him down. Eventually my son took matters into his own hands and he ended up being the one in the principal's office for defending himself and another classmate. While I was upset at his being in the principal's office I was proud that he stood up for himself and his classmate, showing that he wasn't going to stand for it.
It is so much worse for children today when it comes to bullying. When I was in school there wasn't the level of internet usage as there is now and cyberbullying was non existant. Nowadays kids hide behind their computer screens and tear down each other online. Some of it might be in just playful jest but so often it isn't and what is that doing to our children. I scares me to know what is out there online and how cruel people can be.
No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. So what gives someone the right to judge someone else for their mistakes or vice versa. So often I come across adults that are very judgemental and it worries me. Do they realize they are being observed by their children? I am definitely not perfect and I don't pretend to be. I have my faults but I try and be the best person I can be. I have been guilty in the past of being critical of others and voicing that but I am trying to change that and think before I speak because once words are spoken they can't be taken back, especially in the case of Amanda Todd. She is no longer with us because of cruel words.
It starts with us, we influence our children, our children look up to us and we need to be concious of that and think before we speak. To the teenagers out there, it does get better. I know when in the situation it doesn't seem that way (trust me, I have been there)but high school does end and you won't be with those people forever. Keep faith and hang in there. Find something you enjoy doing and be you.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Amanda Todd's family and friends. Such a sad, tragic loss of a young life. :(