Dear child of mine so full of life
You see the world so brightly
I’ve sheltered you from fear and strife
so you explore delightly
Now I release you all alone
without me by your side
there will be those that cast the stone
and make you want to hide
I pray you’re strong so when you hear
the hurtful words of few
you stand up tall and do not fear
or let life seem askew
I hope you see that life today
will morph and change with age
those hateful few will go away
and you can turn the page
I read a brief article this morning about an 8 year old child committing suicide because he was bullied. As a mother of an 8 year old and 7 year old this struck me to the soul. Just thinking about his parents, loved ones, him brings out so many simultaneous emotions. I just want to reach out and protect him but he is gone. We play such a deep role in shaping how our children react to the world around them but they are their own individuals and see things through their eyes. It is a delicate balance and so much hate exists out there that forces children to shed their naivety. All we can do is try to give and show love, respect, care and joy in life to let them know that our world is shaped by how we perceive it.
I was bullied as a child for one year before switching schools. It was a painful slap of reality. Yet unlike many kids, I was lucky enough to move away into a better environment. This move allowed me to reflect, learn, make better choices, and shaped me and my approach to life. Most children that are bullied don’t have the opportunity to move away or change their situation. The evolution of bullying physical, mental, cyber, etc. seems to follow and affect children wherever they live. As children, we create a bubble or biosphere of our lives, with the same characters, events, routines so it seems like we exist in a encased dome with boundaries. Yet it’s all relative, we expand those boundaries as we grow, we can expand it continuously the more we experience and see. The world/ the bubble is much bigger. This is what is hard for a child to understand and realize. We know as adults that experiences change- that life after school- college, career, travel, family all things may shift our perceptions. I remember myself crying on the bus after getting picked on and coming home with this tragedy in my life. I felt small, helpless, and that this event defined me. If I could come up to myself as an adult and comfort the child me, I could show her how many changes happened in life. That this is not a tragedy but a phase, that I became stronger to battle future challenges, and that by now I don’t even remember the bullies faces or names- I don’t give them importance- they don’t deserve it. I wish I could tell the little boy in the article the same thing. Life will get better, your perception is the key, the main thing is to live!
I know the topic is a lot deeper than what I just wrote, there are so many factors at play, so many things we can analyze, and so many people, events, or things we can blame. But blame does not change the decision and finality of the little boy and does not lessen the pain of his parents. I know that many may write to say that something needs to be done, that we should heightened advocacy and awareness, expand programs into schools, extend bigger punishments to bullies, etc. and you are right. However, that “something
starts with myself. I need to do my part as a mother to help my kids be strong, to ensure that they are can stand up to and deal with the difficult people that will enter their lives and to ensure that they do not become bullies themselves. It is my role to show them how big the world can be, to talk about situations and discuss how to handle them, and to see them take joy out of life regardless of what phase they are in. It is my role to pay attention and notice distress, to not take their tragedies lightly but to talk through them and expand their bubble. It is my role to teach them how to bounce back when they’re down. It’s so easy to forget how we reacted to the world as children and I need to remember and guide them.