Every single day, too very many times a day, someone is bullied. Viciously. Cruelly. Mockingly. Taunted. Belittled. Made smaller for things beyond their control: size. hair color. parents. lack of parents. hair length. clumsiness. aptitude. lack of aptitude.
Most live to grow up, carrying the scars with them. Sheltering the soft places, the lines that have faded to white- and carrying with them the memory of not.being.good.enough. Of not fitting in.
Some don't make it that far.
This winter, one of my daughter's seventh grade classmates committed suicide. He took his own life. The kids who made fun of him the week before have since chosen new targets. They are the same kids who taunted and tormented Des last year. And the year before that.
There's a special wall of silence that barricades the elementary and middle school years- often, parents have no clue what's going on until either someone gets terribly injured (or dies) or until years after the fact (if at all). I'm fortunate enough to stand next to that wall and occasionally receive a paper airplane message once in a while, but even that doesn't nearly scratch the surface.
Last night, I watched this short film: a message from a guy who is reaching out to THAT kid in each one of us. I cried.
So, here it is. For me, for you, for every one of us who was a kid. For every one of us who has a kid. Or knows one. Or has a sister, a cousin, a brother... who doesn't fit the mold. Who's standing on the sidelines of their own life, waiting.