Every parent and every child needs to watch this video. You can’t watch this and not feel this child’s pain. Children need to see this to understand the impact that their words and actions can have on another. Parents need to see this to be aware that young children are experiencing this type of pain and these types of thoughts.
A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook last night, and it didn’t take long for me to break down completely in tears for this child. No child should ever feel this way. I wish with all my heart that I could take away his pain. It hurts so much as a parent to see this child’s suffering, but even more so because…
I was once there.
Many who know me surely don’t know this about me, but I personally know this child’s pain. I was bullied and teased beginning in about the 4th grade. I came home day after day, hid myself in my parents’ basement, and cried. and cried. and cried. For nearly three years, this went on. Many of the thoughts this child expressed crossed my mind, though I was very fortunate that I could never bring myself to truly hurt myself as much as I grew to hate myself for the way others treated me.
I know - it doesn’t make sense, but as a child when you’re attacked for the very things that are a part of you, that you don’t feel you can change, your mind goes there. My religion was my saving grace when it came to thoughts of suicide - I was taught very young that this was not the answer, that I had no right to take away the gift that God had given. But it didn’t stop me from asking myself whether I’d truly be missed if I were no longer there. Would those who hurt me then feel sorry?
Yesterday, I shared a link in the highlights post of new research that found that children are contemplating suicide as young as third grade. The child in this video is evidence of that assertion. Parents, we need to teach our children how impactful their words and actions can be. To this day, I still remember the names and faces of the children who picked on me, the image of one of those girls chasing me home from school tossing rocks and calling names, sitting in a dark corner in my parents’ basement frustrated, angry, and sad.
Like this boy, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I found enough reasons to stay strong. And fortunately for me, my parents sensed my pain as much as I tried to keep it from them. In 7th grade, they enrolled me in a private school out of fear that if I continued to junior high with these children, a junior high with a reputation for drugs, that I’d fall into drugs or worse. They saved me. As did my new best friend and the youth who accepted me at my new school. That year was my turning point.
Even still, I continued for the rest of my young adult life to deal with feelings of insufficient self-worth and apprehension at letting people know the real me. Many who’ve known me over the years might say I was confident and strong, but for most years it was an affront. I just kept telling myself, pretend to be confident, and eventually it will come.
I’m sure those girls who bullied had no idea the consequences of their actions, no idea how long it would stay with me. And while I am a stronger person for it and hopefully in a better place to counsel my children, I don’t wish it on another child for a moment.
For this child’s sake and for the many others who are in such pain, I will pray that they find the reasons to be strong and the ability to realize their true worth. Our children need to know every day that we love them unconditionally and that they are never alone. that there is hope. life gets better, and these experiences are but a small moment in our journey.
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