So, I’m sitting at my desk, in front of a window watching it snow. Snow…in Nashville. This usually means that if you don’t have to drive anywhere, you don’t. Not because the roads are bad, but because the drivers are. The bread aisle, milk section and egg cartons are usually all gone as soon as the word “snow” is muttered. Oh, and schools close the day BEFORE. I still find this completely absurd, since I am from Minnesota. Or, as most Nashvillians like to call it “Minnesnowta.” (Which, really isn’t funny or cute, by the way!)
Okay, enough about the weather situation. I have been doing a lot of research lately about bullying statistics and strategies for school programs. Did you know that the average child has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school? Elementary school! This doesn’t even cover video games, and I’m not sure I even want to know what that is. Am I the only one who finds this disturbing? I remember when I was little, my sister and I used to watch “You Can’t Do That On Television” on Nikelodeon. We had to hurry up and watch as much as we could before Mom caught wind of what we were up to. If she saw us watching it, she would grab the remote, shut it off, and we would hear all about how bad it was to watch that. We could watch everything else we wanted, but for whatever reason, not that show…and the worst thing they did was dump green slime on people’s heads. I mean, my Mom used to make me stay up with her on weekends to watch Friday the 13th movies! I guess what I’m trying to get at is that, could this statistic be part of the reason violence in younger people keeps rising? Not just violence against others, but violence against themselves. More and more children are harming themselves just to make it through another day. Do they see it on TV, or in movies, and think “well, if they are doing it and surviving, so can I”? Take video games, for example. Now, granted the only real video game I was ever really good at (and enjoyed) was the old-school Super Mario Bros for Ninetendo. Mario had three lives. You ate a mushroom, you grew and became big and strong. You at a star, you had super powers that could bust through anything that came your way. You walk into a bomb, eh, it’s ok…you’ve got two more lives left! And, so on.
We need to get kids off the TV screen, computer screen, and start having good old-fashioned fun. Obviously, this does not mean every kid. Some of these cartoons have characters that get killed, or somehow dies, but come back to life in the next episode. I don’t think some kids fully understand that if you harm yourself, whatever you do, can be permanent. Same goes for words you say. There are some things you can’t take back, or forget. I remember almost every single horrible thing that my classmates said to me when I was in grade school, like it was yesterday. I’m not ashamed to say that it took me many, many years to get over them. Sometimes words hurt worse than the punches. They stick…for a long, long time. Words can sometimes cause so much more pain; they can cause kids to second-guess themselves, hate themselves and actually believe that they are worthless. Let me say this: there is NO ONE in this world who is worthless. NO ONE. I truly believe we were all created for a purpose–some to become singers, actors, teachers, doctors, writers, editors, crafters, artists, presidents, baker, waitress, anything. We are here to fulfill that purpose, and it’s really no one’s business what that is. Everyone’s life matters. Your life matters. Repeat after me: YOUR LIFE MATTERS.
I remember one day at recess, there was a game of kickball going on…and I loved kickball. I got really excited. Well, I didn’t get picked for either team, so I just “joined” the one that was up to kick. All the kids told me to go sit on the cement because I wasn’t welcome to play with them. I stayed anyway. They weren’t onboard with that, so before I knew it the kickball hit me so hard in the head that I fell into the gated fence behind me. Everyone laughed, of course, but I held my head and walked away. I walked inside and that’s when I started crying. I was never going to let them see me cry. I did the same thing I did every night after school–I went home, locked myself in the basement and just pretended like I was someone better.
It wasn’t until later in life that I realized I didn’t have to pretend. I was better. They were the ones who had the problems. If someone is bullying you, telling you that you have no reason to be there, please know that you have every right to be there. You deserve to be here…wherever you want to be. Don’t let anyone take your smile, your joy, laughter, life away from you. You are worth more than you’ll ever know, and you have a purpose to fulfill! Do you really want to miss out on how great this life can be?! Because, I’m telling you firsthand, it’s pretty great. It can blow you away in amazement, if you just let it. I saw a quote the other day that I love: Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. It’s true! Be yourself, fully, completely, unapologetically, fearlessly your beautiful self! Your life is waiting, don’t miss it!
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Until next time, friends!