Tuesday, February 21, 2012
It's funny how you happen upon things on the Internet. I found this by clicking on a link in a comment on a blog I love, The Bloggess. And for those of us who have children who have been bullied, or who are special in a way that some find unconventional or uncool, this video is extremely moving.
Neither my husband nor I were the most popular kids at school, and we both followed paths that did not involve varsity sports, pom pons, or spots in the yearbook's "most likely to" section. So I don't think it's surprising that our kids would be a lot like us. I think when you mix genetics with parental tendencies, it's only natural. And despite the increased tolerance of the current generation there is still, and probably forever will be, kids who judge and bully the kids who follow these different paths.
I have a child who was subjected to bullying throughout elementary school. He is a smart, sensitive boy who has a true artistic gift. He was also diagnosed with a nonverbal learning disorder that contributed to social awkwardness and, at times, behavior that seemed odd to those around him. And unfortunately there are always those handful of kids who make life miserable for those who are a little bit different. And when the precedent is set early on, in kindergarten or first grade, it is almost impossible for a kid to shake. For our child, it was so severe that it took removal from public school entirely to make him feel safe, nurtured and, on a very basic (but very critical) level, liked and appreciated by his peers.
Your heart breaks on a daily basis when your child is subjected to bullying. When they can't connect and make friends. When they are taken advantage of. When you know you can't be by their side all day to guide them through the treacherous waters they tread. You feel powerless, like you are sending them off to the wolves every day. You do everything you can every second of the day that your baby is with you; but when they go off to school it is completely, and maddeningly, out of your control.
We're in a good place now, but I'll never forget all that my son has been through. All that he was luckily too naive to understand; as well as all that he endured. Because of it, he is braver and stronger than I ever had to, or will, be. Parents - find your baby's love, gift, talent, passion - and for god's sake follow it. Every child has a gift; nurture it, share it, help them find others who understand and appreciate it. Different it good.