I have gotten more response from my post about my experience with bullying than any other in my little blog's history. Not necessarily in the comment section, but some heartfelt responses on Facebook and in person. I must say that if any post were going to garner attention, I am both quite pleased and uncomfortable. Pleased because with a rash of suicides, I can't think of anything more important. Uncomfortable because it is an episode that caused me much pain in shame and writing about it required quite a bit of vulnerability and openness on my part.
Someone whom I admire quite a bit, commented yesterday about how much he liked the post and felt it was important. Important because perhaps our work as adults shouldn't be on eradicating bullying--it has existed since the dawn of time--but more about equipping our children with the support systems to weather this pain. He cut so quickly to the heart of what I was trying to say: that the bullying occurred because of the unfortunate choices of others, but that I survived thanks in large part to my parents and the sense of connectedness. My parents couldn't save me from the cruelty, but had planted the seeds from my earliest days to know that they were interested in me, invested in me, and in being so, surrounded me not just with their love, but with other people who appreciated the me-ness that made me, me.
That is our challenge, not to let our youth slip down the deep hole of anonymity and be buried by dirt of pain. Finding a voice for our own empathy so they can learn. Finding joy in our own friends, so that the importance of being connected is modeled. Appreciating quirks in each other, in order that they can appreciate differences in others.