He who is present at a wrongdoing and does not lift a hand to prevent it is as guilty as the wrongdoers.
I thought this was an appropriate quote from my book of native proverbs, in the light of the seemingly never ending bullying going on in our schools and online.
The kids are learning this behavior from somewhere. Whether it's the parents, a mentor or other kids in school, this is not normal and we need to educate people of the long term results.
As adults, we can usually make it through a rough spot or two and know that it will get better. As children that are 13 or 14 years old, four years until graduation is beyond comprehension. Even a week can seem like an eternity. A week of torture can be all it takes for a youngster to decide to take his or her own life. It can be so hard to see that there is hope. We all need to be present in our daily interactions with them. You could be the person who saves someone's life. Just by being nice to them. By standing up to someone that is picking on someone else. It's a big, lonely world out there for some of these kids.
During my upcoming trip, we will be filming a "It get's better video" in memory of Jamey Rodemey and all the other kids that we have lost because of bullying over the last year. I am happy to participate in this project and I hope that it does help someone. But even more than that, I live by example every day. We can't let this continue. Laughing at other people just because they may seem a little different is unacceptable. I was that kid. And I hope that no one ever has to go through what I went through.
I have had to do a service for one such kid a few years ago. It was by far the hardest funeral that I have ever done. It rips your heart out to see the family suffering from the loss. It's very real. I still visit the grave of that young man some three years later. And I wonder if anyone learned anything from his death, or is it all still the same.