Do you agree about how hard it is for teenagers to share their issues with adults? What do you think would need to change in order for it to be easier?
I heard a story yesterday that made me proud of you. After hearing a health discussion on the topic of suicide, a boy confessed to his friend that he had tried committing suicide twice in the past. The friend, after arriving home later that day, proceeded to tell his mother. "I know from our health discussion I need to tell a trusted adult," he explained, "so that's what I'm doing."
His mom nodded, and then this young man did something great. He checked to make sure his mother was going to do something. "You're going to do something, right?" he inquired, "I need to make sure; because if you aren't, I'm going to find someone else." His mom assured him she would talk to the school counselor the next day. When she warned him of a possible fallout with his friend, he said, "That's okay, because the option of not doing anything would have a worse ending."
At school the next day, this friend was confronted by the depressed teen who asked if he was the one who had told. The friend shook his head yes. Then the hurting teen said it was okay. "It's for the best," he said, "I think it's going to help me."
It may feel awkward, but finding support for your friend is one of the most heroic, kind things you can do. And accepting that help is one of the bravest. Bravo to these two boys and all the rest of you who are reaching out and supporting one another. You make us proud.
There are some people in my life that love to point out my faults. They make rude remarks, roll their eyes when I talk, and treat me like I'm not worth knowing. Down inside I know I shouldn't care what they think, but I'd be dishonest if I told you it didn't hurt me deeply each time.
Do you have people like these in your life, people who bring you down just because you're different? It may seem like you’re alone, but you’re not. About 25% of kids your age are bullied on a daily basis.
As a teen, you already have a hard time believing the best about yourself; but having a bully point out every flaw? It makes being a teen even harder. It causes you to feel unworthy and makes you wish you never had to show your face again.
What Can You Do?
Despite how you feel or what the bully may be saying about you, there is no excuse for their harassment. You have many great qualities and you shouldn’t be ashamed for being who you are. Although there is no best way for handling bullies, here are some strategies you can try the next time you're being bullied:
You Deserve to Live a Life Free From Bullying
Whatever you do, don’t stay silent and let the hate continue. You deserve to live a life free from bullying. Step up and begin to confront the issue, even if it makes you nervous. Bullying can be stopped.
And remember: it's NEVER worth taking your life!
If you or someone you know is on the verge of suicide PLEASE call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room IMMEDIATELY so you can get help!
Did you know that bullying usually stops within 10 seconds after a bystander gets involved?
That's why it's important for all of us to get involved. It takes courage to speak up against bullying. but it's the right thing to do.
When one person speaks out against the bullying, it gives everyone the courage to add their support and take a stand.
My school is selling flowers for Valentine's Day.
Excuse me while I go breathe into a bag.
Seriously, this issue brings bad memories for me. I remember sitting in class, wondering if I'd receive a flower, and agonizing over the thought that I wouldn't.
What if I'm the only one who doesn't receive one?
Everyone will know I'm not loved.
It was a stressful situation, and not just for me. I remember girls purchasing flowers for themselves, hoping to show others that they were lovable. I sigh when I remember those young girls, and think to myself, "If only."
If only I could go back in time and send a message to my younger self, as well as the other teens who were agonizing beside me. I'd write a note on beautiful stationary, delivering it on the same day the flowers were being delivered. It would say something like this:
You don't need a flower to prove you are lovable. You are. You already are. You have a beautiful future ahead of you, one filled with people who will absolutely adore you. There'll be love and laughter...hugs and flowers...and a heart that is full and happy. Don't listen to those negative thoughts swirling in your mind right now. Great things are right around the corner for you. So, enjoy your day, enjoy your friends, and keep chasing those dreams. Your story is just beginning, my friend. Just beginning.
Happy Valentine's Day.
You know what I love best about a new school year? The word new.
There is so much hope tucked inside of that word.
One small seed of "new" can harvest a whole lot of change, which is why I'm running into this new school year with confidence. As Ralph Marston said,
What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows.
Since I want this year to be a great one, I'm already putting some positive things in place to get myself ready.
Organizing a Study Space
I don't want to fall behind this year in my written work, so I'm organizing my study space. I've made sure it's away from distractions and I've stocked it with supplies. I've even picked up a couple of display boards so I can have them ready for projects. I think being organized this year will help prevent some of my stress when things get really busy.
Finding What Resources Are Available
I've also been doing research on my computer to see the resources my school has available. You can do this, too. Check to see if your teachers have websites where they post assignments and see if your school has a homework hotline. I've bookmarked my favorite resources, so I can remember them if I start to get overwhelmed.
Instead of walking into my school and remembering the stressful things that have happened, I want to walk in and see new possibilities. That's why I've already started preparing my thinking. Every time I feel myself start to stress, I think, "Things are going to be better than I expect." When my self-esteem starts to dredge up old fears, I remind myself, "God made me and loves me just the way I am. My value isn't based on the thoughts of others."
Taking Time to Laugh
One of the things I love about summer vacation is how often I laugh. It feels good to laugh, forgetting about everything else. I savor these times and hate to see them end. That's why I'm making sure I plan time in my schedule to have fun. I'm saving time on Monday nights to meet with friends. I'm planning some fun activities in the Fall. I'm making sure I continue to enjoy things, even after school begins.
Sound the bell and start the race; I think I'm ready. No, I know I'm ready. I'm ready for a new year.
She made the decision to end her life in 4th period math class.
The only way to make the hurt in my heart stop is to make my heart stop.
Her mind filled with relief. It would finally be over.
No one will even notice because no one ever notices me.
She picked up her things and walked into the busy hallway, an invisible face in the sea of many. Then someone bumped into her, and all her things went flying. She watched as people stepped on her books and kept walking.
That's just like my life.
As she was picking up her things, something amazing happened. She looked up and noticed a blonde girl on the other side of the hallway. The girl looked into her eyes and smiled.
Is she looking at me? Is there really one person caring about me?
She thought about that smile late into the evening, and decided to hang on for one more day. She wanted to make sure she hadn't imagined it. After 4th period math the next day, she nervously walked into the hallway and searched the faces. Soon their eyes met, and the blonde girl smiled again.
One day became two.
The girl knew if she could just hold on until 4th period math, she could make it. There was hope.
Sometimes hope can be found in the smallest things. It comes around the corner at just the right time and smiles at you, if you're looking.
Please lift up your eyes and look.
It's easy to put people into boxes, especially when we don't know their whole story.
Take this girl I know. She cut school, hung out with a wild crowd, and ended up having a baby right out of high school. Everyone labeled her as a wild child with no future.
Then one night I heard her story.
She told me what life was like for her as a young girl; how, when she was still in elementary school, her father started abusing her. She talked about how scared she was in her room at night, so she would sneak out of the house and hang out with the only kids that were up that time of the evening. She mentioned how happy she had been when she met a kind, young man who wanted to marry her. She hadn't thought anyone would want her after what she'd been through, and she was so excited to be able to move out of her house and away from her father. She believed they would make a life together, but it hadn't worked out the way she had wished. At the end of her story she smiled and told me about her daughter, the college classes she's taking, and her dreams for the future.
With one story, she went from a "wild child" to an "incredible 'survivor."
Stories are game changers. They break down the walls that separate us and let us see each other for who we really are. They get rid of the stereotypes.
We should all be brave enough to open up and tell our stories. Even more importantly, we should seek each other's stories.
People are never as black and white as they seem.
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