I wear a lot of hats, daughter, sister, wife, friend, co-worker, mother...and the one I take the most seriously is Mother. The decision to have children was not an automatic one for me. When I was younger I never really fantasized about having and raising kids. After I got married I didn't feel an immediate need to bring a child into the world, I struggled with even wanting one for a while. I'm certain we made the right decision for us in our family when we took the plunge into parenthood and I wouldn't have done it any other way. It was done with a lot of consideration and thought. My son is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us, every day is a new adventure and we are endlessly grateful for him.
So yesterday I was reading the news and that's when I learned about the Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide because of bullying. Bullying? What? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!?!?!?!? WHY? That's not just wrong, it's shameful and horrible and needs to be addressed.
Here's what I know...especially since becoming a parent...I know kids are mean and I know kids are dumb and yes, that is a generalization. I know it's my responsibility as a parent to make sure my child is kind, generous, considerate, compassionate and well mannered toward others. I know it's hard being a kid, what with all the competition and expectations placed upon them from us as a society. I also know that children need role models...(apart from the athletes and celebrities)...people they know, who they can interact with on a daily basis, turn to for guidance, respect and communicate with (and I know that does not have to be a parent)...I know not all children have supportive parents and that sucks quite frankly. I know this is an issue that starts when kids are small and continues until they're adults and no matter what angle you look at it from, it's never right. Being mean to another person is wrong. You can say these types of issues are so complex and there could be some underlying reasons for it but you know what? Address it. If you have a child with socialization issues or self esteem issues or any other kind of issue that causes them to act out toward others...address it.
This is the 21st century. We should be able to befriend whomever we want. Date, fall in love, marry, dont marry, have sex, be happy with WHOMEVER we want. It's no one else's business, end of story. It's not right to criticize, berate, tease, harass (or whatever word you want to use) another person because of their personal choices. Life is hard enough when you're well adjusted....imagine if you were struggling with something like your sexual orientation or low self esteem, or some other kind of anxiety as a young adult. That's the hardest time of your life to have to deal with anything of that nature...let's not make it harder for these young people. How can we fix this? Communication is the first step. Being able to talk about the issues without consequence or judgement is where this has to start. As a mother and a member of society it's my responsibility to listen. So, I'll start with the one child I have, and make a promise that no matter how hard it gets (because not every day is all candy and roses), I will love him and communicate with him and listen to him. I may not always agree with him along the way, but I will always try to guide him in the right direction for him and no one else. And I will promise my friends and family that if their children every need an ear or a shoulder, they can have mine without judgement.