I've written about bullying before. Other people have written about it better. I don't really have anything new to say about it, other than that it hit closer to home in our community this past weekend and my heart aches for the little girl whose life was interrupted, and her family who are left to wonder how something like this could happen.
How does something like this happen? How can we keep our kids safe? How do we teach our children that each and every single person on this planet is sacred. We are all beautiful and worthy of love and even if we don't particularly like each other, it is our duty to treat each other with care, dignity and a very basic level of kindness. Where are we going wrong with this?
Kids are just kids, sure. And boys will be boys and teenage girls are just mean. Sure. But it is our job to teach them how to control those impulses, how to have healthy relationships with their peers, how to respect themselves and how that self respect carries over into a respect for others.
One of the posts on Facebook related to this was a call to action for parents. Get involved. Children don't need that much privacy. Parents should know - as much as they possibly can know - what's going on with their children, how they're treating others and how others are treating them. These are the smallest things we, as parents (and future parents) can do - we can be present.
I'm at a complete loss. I didn't know this little girl, and I don't know her family but I am crushed that she was hurting so much and didn't know what to do with all that pain. How do you explain to a thirteen year old that this is as bad as it's ever going to get. Hold on for five more years. This is just a blip in time and the whole rest of your life is going to be different than this. It's impossible to conceptualize that at that age, it's impossible to see through that much pain. How do you reach those who bully to let them know that they've gone too far before they go past the point of no return? How do you teach these kids that words matter - they leave scars and bruises just as painful as any physical beating.
How we treat each other matters.
If there is one lesson I hope to teach our future children, above all others, it is that.
R.I.P, Rachel. I didn't have the honor of knowing you, but you were a beautiful gift to this world.