Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pink Shirt Day - Anti-Bullying

‎"They say high school days are the
best years of your life.
Well, if they are the best,
I hate to see the worst."
My daughter quoted these words
from my poem on my blog.
We all had our pink shirts on today, did you? As you may know, Pink Shirt Day came to be due to a group of students in Nova Scotia who in 2007 stood up for a boy who was beaten and bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. That's it, that's all he did... he wore a pink shirt. Then several students decided enough! Bullying is something we are told every day in school is wrong, we are told there is zero tolerance for it, but here we go, it happened, yet again. Pretty amazing kids! This campaign is now international and although there are other anti-bullying days, it is now simply knows as "Pink Shirt Day".

Funny, I never saw a notice, email, posting or website update from the school that they were recognizing this day in anyway. However, about a month ago I saw an ad to buy your kids Pink Shirt Day shirts at a low price and the profits would be donated to the Boys and Girls club, so I figured this was a no brainer, either way it was positive. I ordered two, one for each of the girls - and they wore them today. Having said this, I did post on the school Facebook page last night a reminder about anti-bullying day and the link to why we have Pink Shirt Day and did begin to see comments and references to it, so maybe I just missed it being advertised?

All day long I have seen posts, banners, icons, ads and comments about anti-bullying. My hope is that people remember this day, these emotions, their thoughts and feelings for longer than just one day. I hope that they reflect on whether they have been bullies in their lives or if they have been bullied how they managed to move on past it. Even as adults people try to bully us. Just recently someone has been trying that with me, I am more mature now, I know a bully when I see it and rather than involve myself in their petty behaviour, I remove myself from them. I have integrity, I have grown strong and I have built a reputation I believe I can stand behind, so, BULLY! BE GONE! 

About a year ago I wrote a poem that expressed my personal experiences with bullying. The poem was specific to a time - one year, grade 8, when I went through some of the most awful, painful times that burned into my psyche and changed who I was as a person. I continued to be a victim after that. Perhaps if I had not suffered in that way, I would have made choices later in life that would have seen my history and others be much different. Well, I can't change what happened or how I felt but I can try to advocate on the behalf of my girls and those who I see being bullied today. I realize I have not been completely successful, since about a month ago my oldest child posted on an anti-bullying site her heart breaking struggle. 

When my daughter was 14 she was having a difficult enough time, but she really couldn't take being in high school anymore when she arrived at school one day to find that the quiet, lonely boy, in her class had hung himself to death in his bedroom the day before. After moving schools to avoid bullies and racism, he couldn't live another day. He couldn't go on. She tells me he was sweet, she didn't really talk to him much but she was in her own shell at the time, now she lives with that guilt, maybe, if she had talked to him he would be here. We can never know. She wasn't mean to him, she didn't bully him, she smiled at him... I am pretty certain he would carry no ill will toward her, but she didn't want to be a statistic as sad as she was about this unnecessary death. This incident made a life long impact on my daughter.

Remember, when you see someone who is alone, shy, sad, depressed, angry, withdrawn, has a negative attitude or is just not someone you are initially drawn to... maybe there is a reason. Maybe they have a terrible home life, have no one to love them, have been abused, lost someone they loved or maybe, they are bullied and have to have some sort of defense mechanism to cope. Maybe showing up that day, being where you saw them, took a lot more effort than you ever thought. Maybe, that day, they decided they would give being alive yet another chance and not choose today to kill themselves. Maybe, being kinder, seeing past their isolation and including them - maybe that is all they need to allow themselves to live another day.

I don't want to lecture, I feel like I am... I am just so passionate about this and don't want any child to feel alone and lost and hurt and sad... I am going to leave you with a video that I watched last night. If you can take another 7.5 minutes to watch this, I am sure you will be moved. There are many links in my posting today, there is just too much to say on this topic. If nothing else, today, I hope everyone took a minute to think about their actions in their lives and the impact it has on others.

Please, make every day Pink Shirt Day and don't bully others!

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