It’s like a perfectly timed explosion. The moment kids reach middle school, they are immediately transported to an island of hormones, comparisons, competitiveness, domination and triangulation. The amount of strife that I’ve witnessed over the last couple of years leaves me feeling compelled to find a solution.
I’ve given my daughter all the typical advice:
- Choose your friends wisely.
- Be cautious and selective with your time and energy.
- Be good to your body.
- Stay close to God, remember that you’re never alone.
- Don’t take on the drama around you.
- Communicate with me often.
- Don’t follow the crowd, find comfort in independence.
Sure, all that stuff still applies, just as it did when my mom was advising me. But today there’s a whole other level of trouble brewing. So much is happening in the lives of young people. So much that seems, for them, to be nearly life shattering if one piece of the puzzle doesn’t fit.
Last week an 8th grade girl took her own life. Gone. Her flame in the world is snuffed out and whatever light she may have shed is forever darkened. What on earth could be worth that? There’s talk of her being bullied. My heart broke, and piece by piece, fell into my stomach. Then my gut turned and I felt sick.
All I could think about was the mamas who lose their babies…then my thoughts turned back towards my own ladybugs.
There has got to be an answer, a remedy, a way to transform the experience of this tender time. We have got to move on this and not waiver in our resolve to not rest until each child feels worthy of their own light.
Bullying is nothing new. Some even say that it’s our species way of thinning the heard; the strong pick on the weak. I call BS on that. B to the S. No. Unacceptable. No excuses. Bullying is the result of pain.
Maybe the conversation should be less about the victims of bullying and how to deal with being bullied and more about the bullies themselves. Strike at the root of the problem.
The trouble is, the roots grow from seeds and getting at those seeds is a far more complicated issue. It’s societal; it’s a big soupy mess of family, expectations, abuse, lies, disappointments and who knows how many other shameful ingredients go into the recipe of a bully. But the root grows from a seed.
Can we transform the atmosphere of our children’s landscape? Can we turn their world upside down and shift gravity in a way that they can walk through a room, of their peers, and actually breathe. All of them, breathing, living and thriving together.
I think we can. Even if it starts small. Even if it starts with one bully breaking down in tears and getting to the root of why they feel the need to hurt others. Even if it starts with one tiny seed.
Seeds grow and there’s a way to germinate our seeds better, truer. There is, and I feel like I can’t rest until we find it.