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A Mother's Plea

I wrote this two weeks ago when I came home to find that all hell had broken loose in my family, wanting to find a way to publish it, to get people to THINK about how they treat each other and the lessons they inadvertently teach others, and decided that our situation is dire enough here that I just really need people to think NOW and can't wait for an editor to decide this works for them. I posted this to my FB yesterday and it went "viral" among my friends and their friends. I don't think that's really the definition of the term, but it's nice that people want to share this. :)

And I want you to share this through links. Please link people here to my blog instead of reposting this elsewhere, if you do. I feel that having a concentrated group of comments for kids like my son to read through and know that people CARE will do wonders for them. (And if you know me in RL, please - I beg of you - do not share anything personal like where I actually live or my child's name. We have had people stalking our house to the point where my husband called the police.)

Thank you. It's a little long, but I mean every word of it. (And if you've ever called someone the names I've referred to in this article, or hurt someone, I want you to look at my icon. That's my son. That precious little thing has had all of this ugliness thrown at him.)

Warning: Frank talk of homophobia, suicide attempts, and bullying.

Tolerance doesn't mean what you think it means.Collapse )

Comments

( 135 comments — Leave a comment )
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tehlime
Nov. 9th, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
I don't know you, but if I met you, I would give you the biggest hug. <3
soundingsea
Nov. 9th, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)
*hugs* Many hugs to you and your son and your whole family. People like you are what's right about America.
silverjaime
Nov. 9th, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
Hi - I don't know you but I have three sons, one still a teen. I've tried to teach them tolerance and respect for for others despite being an atheist and living in Northern Ireland, and they've turned out well-balanced and nice young men. If anything had gone on near them in school like the dreadful stuff that has happened to your son, I know they would be horrified. As am I.

I hope your son comes through this as soon as possible and maybe all these comments will show him that not all young people think the same way as the horrible bigots in his school. Bigotry exists everywhere - but bigots don't have to win - Ulster is a case in point!

As a mother I'm devastated for you, and I'm thinking of you and your son at this awful time and sending much love and many hugs.
wickedwitty
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
Love.
Hi.
I don't know that I've ever left you a comment before, despite the fact that I've haunted your livejournal and your writings. I return because I love your stories (I DO HAVE A HEART) but I've also been continually refreshed and centered by your thoughts on these sorts of topics.

I am a Christian, but I try to be the sort of human (and faithful person) you describe here. Someone that approaches everyone and everything with love and compassion. It's not easy, and the problem is that even people who are incredibly conflicted to be different and want to do the right thing are not always shown how. In all honesty Jesus set a very high standard for behavior. A noble and righteous one that is hard to follow, and you are so very very correct in your criticisms of our culture. Our media, our schools, and our predecessors did not teach us how to overcome hate with love.

My heart breaks for every person involved in these circumstances. For you, your family, and your son who sounds like nothing but a beautiful spirit deserving of ALL THE GOOD THINGS. My heart also breaks for the other players involved, for people who are so burdened and tangled in hate and anger.

So I send you love, and hope that people of all walks, backgrounds, and faith are aware that things need to change. Sometimes it is the small voice which makes the difference.

stoney321
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Love.
this was a beautiful thing for me to read today. Thank you so much for being a voice of positivity and hope for me. <3
wickedsin
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
1. I posted a link back to this, I think it's that important.

2. To your son - My heart breaks for you. I was beaten up every day in elementary school, and the faculty encouraged it. I went through middle school and high school very messed up, but I somehow got through. I'm now in my 30's, openly gay, with the woman of my dreams, and planning to start a family. It gets better. The ignorance of the kids you are facing is based on the ignorance of their parents. When you get to college, when you get into the world away from lockers and hallways and teachers, you will find more "strangers" who love and accept you just as your family does now. Haters will still be out there, but their effect will be lessened. You are strong, I know this by all I've read. You can do it. We are all here for you, this strange internet community.

Love,
Lisa
agameofthree
Nov. 9th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
I shared it. This is an incredibly powerful and important message, and I hope it reaches those that really need to hear it. It touched me.
thatgirly
Nov. 9th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. I look forward to a day when posts like this aren't necessary, and children like your son can grow up in a society that has more tolerance and less hatred and bigotry.
greylady
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Here by way of wickedsin
Wow. People suck. And I'm sorry to hear that your son is having problems with suck-headed bullies.

It's over-used, but it does get better. The trick is getting from "Abused at school" to "better" intact. Best of luck to you and your son.

Edited at 2012-11-09 07:32 pm (UTC)
starrius_tromas
Nov. 10th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
Been saying it for years
As someone who was bullied for 8 years (from the 4th grade through graduation), to this day I still don't understand why people in general seem to feel threatened by someone who is different from their accepted idea of "normal." Get this, I wasn't bullied for being gay. I'm not but a dear friend (may he rest in peace) of mine in high school was. I'm still not sure he knew he was gay. I was instantly guilty by association. I wasn't bullied for being Atheist. At the time, I was Christian. It's only been since college that I lost my faith in religion. No, I was bullied because I liked science fiction. This was a foreign concept to the small community in which I grew up. A guy who reads all the time and doesn't like sports? Get the pitchforks and torches!

The jocks that picked on me, beat me up, generally made my life a little more interesting than to what I was accustomed, pretty much had it made in the shade. The coaches and teachers did little more than mild scolding and I was told countless times to stand up to them. Me. Short, a little portly, no athletic prowess at all. Right. And to fight one of these cowards was to fight them all. Someone tried to tell me that they were scared of me. Not from where I was standing. I never told my parents. They had their own sets of problems which I won't go into here.

It was through my love of sci-fi that I learned to accept that there are different people all over the world. There is only one race - the human race.

I don't care what skin color, nationality, religion, politics, heritage, social standing, sexual orientation, or gender your are, you're human and our constitution guarantees certain privileges. To deny one demographic any of these privileges is discrimination and is illegal.

I did realize years later that I had forgiven the bullies. Oh, I had carried a grudge for a long time and one day I realized that I simply hadn't thought about them for a while. It was a weight off my shoulders. I do have issues with self-confidence and a fear of failure. I don't do well in confrontational situations. These are gifts from the bullies that will probably last me the rest of my life. I refuse to carry the grudge, though. They won't know about it so in the end the only person I'm hurting is myself.

I'll get off my soapbox now. Sorry for having prattled on for so long. It just burns me up to hear of someone being bullied. And there are people who seem to think that it can be legislated away. Good luck with that.

Take the best care of your son that you can. Peace.
tapati
Nov. 10th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
Just catching up on LJ and am SO sorry you are all going through this again. You are all in my thoughts. I nearly lost my son (horrific accident) so my heart is with you. Wishing you all healing and some kind of solution from the school, the other parents, some kind of empathy clue to sweep through the student population, I don't know, a freaking miracle.

That you got anything less than a sympathetic/empathetic response to your post is mind boggling. I'm sorry for that too.
deana_in_texas
Nov. 10th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
Hearbreaking story -- I'm so sorry you and your family are having to deal with this. I was also bullied as a child, but not to the extent that your son is -- but it was plenty bad enough. No one should have to deal with this.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 14th, 2012 08:02 am (UTC)
From Australia
Hi, I'm a counsellor in Australia, who works with people with disabilities and I also run a sibs group for kids with siblings who have disabilities or are on the Autism spectrum. I have to say, I am so glad that you posted this. I am so sorry you have to fight so hard for your child and his rights. I battle everyday with peoples' misconceptions about so many things - and bullying is the one that gets me the most. It is so sad to see that the problem around understanding the destruction of such abuse is a global one - that just because someone knows who they are, they are ridiculed because it doesn't fit their perception of what's right, or people think they should "change". I've dealt with my own demons and bullies, and only had my own parents in my corner throughout, and am trying so hard to give that support to people that I myself has.Everyone has a right to their own lives and beliefs (to an extent within the confines of law). Your son is as lucky to have you in his corner as you are to have him. Thank you for talking about this - because people still don't get it. I hope for a day they will, but that won't come without people fighting for it. All the best.
K.
stoney321
Nov. 14th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
Re: From Australia
thank you so much for this. I'm so happy there are people like you in the world working and advocating for people with needs. <3
Re: From Australia - (Anonymous) - Nov. 14th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: From Australia - stoney321 - Nov. 14th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
treadingthedark
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
I am a teacher at an alternative charter school and we get tons of students who have been bullied. It sucks that they get essentially "chased out" of their schools this way but I am really glad we exist.
I have come to the conclusion that traditional high schools are an unnatural and often unhealthy institution. Take a mass of unformed insecure hormonal teenagers, and confine them seven hours a day to an overcrowded undersupervised prison, expect them to sit quietly in uncomfortable chairs, add drugs, sex and weapons, and you are going to get trouble.
Screw that. Alternative schools rule!
stoney321
Nov. 14th, 2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
I agree with what you've said 100%. I just wish all of the work of making things better didn't always fall to the victims. It just feels like the bullies win, if that makes sense.

(But we have an alternative school in place for him when he's released because again: I agree with you 100% on public high schools.)

Thank you for the support here. <3
whisperyvoices
Nov. 17th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
I think you're a beautiful, giving, loving person who shines with joy, humanity, kindness, wit and care. That has always come through in this journal, and that is just completely magnified in this utterly heartbreaking and thoughtful piece.

Your boy, from everything you've said here and in the past, seems to shine with the same heart and humanity as you do. It just makes me ache so much [and makes me so angry] to hear the ugliness that people are throwing at him.

I will share this with many (yes, will link it, so people can come here), and urge people to read this powerful message. If there's anything you think I can do from my corner, please let me know?

((biggest.hugs)) for you, and your family. I'm sending thoughts of strength & love your way.
stoney321
Nov. 17th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
MASSIVE hugs to you, my sweet friend!! (And I just got an email from you too, and make me cry, why don't you? :D) Thank you for that link to Chris' words - just what I needed to hear today.

Pretend I'm hugging you so hard your bones squeak, would you? <3

XOXOXOX
Laura
elisi
Feb. 21st, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
I always wanted to leave a comment on this post, but never knew what to say. You are without a doubt one the strongest people I know, and I both wanted to cheer after reading this, but also want there to be a magic way of helping your beautiful son and fixing people's stupidity. None of those sentiments is particularly original, and so I waited, whilst trying to think of something...

But late last night someone on my flist posted this, as it affected her deeply (she's had to deal with a lot of bullying herself, and has attempted suicide). Just in case you hadn't seen it, I thought I'd share.

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( 135 comments — Leave a comment )

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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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