The Tragic Death of a Young Girl
As a father of 2 young girls I am saddened at the news of the death of Amanda Todd. It certainly hits close to home since she lived in metro Vancouver. I cannot claim to know her suffering or torment, her mental state or her religious beliefs or anything of that sort. All we know is that she was a child who was tricked into making a mistake, she was then tormented by her peers, then she cried out publicly and to all appearances – no one listened. She achieved peace the only way she knew how… By taking her own life. It is a sad day.
We can learn a few things here. For one, I am going to hug my kids! Then I am going to teach them right from wrong, I will discipline them…I will teach them the Golden rule and the 2 greatest commandments! You know that second commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself… When I hear that my kids have bullied another child, and this will probably happen, I will not respond with “oh not my kid, she would never do that.” Or “it’s not that bad, that kid must be a whiner.” I will address the issue. I will teach my children to have compassion, to forgive, to engage the outcast and marginalized. I already am doing this with my kids – what about you? And if I hear that my kid is bullied by another child, which will probably happen, I won’t tell her to “suck it up, that’s life.” No. I will teach them about coping mechanisms, I will teach them about prayer, about confiding in their dad in those people who love them. That there is nothing wrong with crying. I will teach them of the promises of God in Jesus. And I will educate my peers – those parents who are neglecting these things. So if I tell you that your kid is bullying mine, don’t just write me off ( I am relentless for one thing.)
To the kids (if any read this blog) You kids, as Christians, as covenant members in Christ, also have a responsibility. Is there a kid in your school that made a mistake and is being shunned? I challenge you to be a leader and not a follower. Change the way things are done, rise above the crowd, be Christ-like in your response, sit with them at lunch, reach out them, smile at them, invite them over to play, be their friend and let them know that they are not alone in this world. We all struggle and we all need support. It’s so easy to do the easy thing – to ignore the issues, to be mean to the unlovely; but Jesus taught us to love the unlovely and to forgive the sinner! You will be surprised, how many people will follow your lead when you stick up for what is right! And as we all know, forgiving those that have made mistakes in their youth is the right thing to do!
To the parents we truly need to stop and listen to our kids. Be there for them, do not mock them but love them and take their fears and cares to heart. If your child is a bully you need to discipline them. Pay particular attention to their computer use. Monitor their social networking behaviours. We as parents need to stop the foolishness of mean children hiding behind a computer screen or a Facebook avatar and hurting another person. Get your kids into cadets or gems or boyscouts or get them into sports to learn team work and social identity. We need to teach our kids compassion. We need them to see the person behind the pain. AND We need be an example to our kids! How do you use facebook? How do you talk about others? Your kids will follow your example.
Bullying has always existed, When I was a kid I bullied and was bullied. But not like this. Not the way kids do it today. Today they hide behind their computers and post pictures and words that don’t fade with time, they stay there posted in cyberspace, the damage is exponentially greater than a poster stuck to your locker.
I know that bullying will continue, it has always existed. Nothing can bring this young girl back, but perhaps we can learn something from her tragic death. I implore you as parents to watch your kids for both sides of the coin. If they are a bully, deal with it swiftly. If they are bullied, deal with it swiftly.
In Christ there is forgiveness for all sins. In Christ there is comfort for the tormented.
here is the video Amanda posted before she took her own life.