Several weeks ago here in Georgia, a young man (11-years old) killed himself because he was tired of being bullied. This child's death sent shock waves throughout his community. I can only imagine the heart break his family is going through; especially since I myself I have an 11-year old child.
What could have possibly drove this child to suicide? Plan and simple: BULLYING! There have been bullies since the beginning of time. Someone always picking on someone else in hopes to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings; the serpent & Eve, Cain & Able, David & Goliath. Our need to be better than someone else. Why not make friends via fear than actual friendship. I think at some point we have all been bullied. I know I was constantly teased about my height (it stinks being 5'11” by the 7th grade) and my family's heritage (paternal Grandmother was Polish), however I think bullying has gotten even worse in today's society. Not only is it name calling, but its gone online. Kids writing blogs & posts about others' shortcomings. Even a simple text that you send your friend is no longer safe.
My daughter is consistently being ridiculed because she's nice. People know that they can dump on her only to be forgiven. They tell one another not to be her friend, then when their friends turn on them, they clamor to be her friend again.
So naturally, when the news broke out about the GA boy killing himself, I had to talk with my daughter. Had she ever had those thoughts?? Are things getting THAT out of hand with her? Thankfully, her only worry about hurting herself is one of what if she fell & got hurt – not taking things into her own hands. Yet, I still need to talk to her about standing up to bullies. How do you do that? I never stood up for myself, but I need to help empower her.
It's a journey, one that comes with motherhood I guess. My fear is that because my children could be prone to depression through family genes, I may miss something. What is helpful is keeping my depression in check so that they do not 'see' it... I'm not saying that depression is WRONG - it's a medical condition just like any other - but I do not want them to see it at its worst.
I pray that God gives me the insight & wisdom to combat this aspect of childhood. I pray for the families of bullied children, that they will empower their children with ways to stand up to those that bully them. And I pray for the families of bullies, that they seek the help their children so desperately need to feel good about themselves without having to belittle someone else in the process.