NEW CASTLE —
What (or whom) are you willing to stand up for?
If you haven't asked yourself this question at some point in your life, now would be a good time.
I think we all have vague notions of what issues or causes put us into "fight mode" just from our reaction to hearing about them. When emotions respond strongly to something, it's pretty safe to assume that we'd also be willing to stand up for that cause.
But how often in your life have you ever been put in the situation where you had to, or more aptly, were able to? For many of us, those instances are rare.
My friend Henry and I were chatting about our kids yesterday and he told a story about his eighth-grader, Jennifer, that I had to share with you.
Henry had received a Facebook message from the mother of one of Jennifer's classmates, who wanted to say thank you and tell them what a difference Jennifer had made in her son's life. Ethan had just moved into the school district a few years ago, and was having a hard time adjusting. After two years of trying to fit in, he was still being bullied and shunned by most of the other boys.
Jennifer, who has a large group of friends, took Ethan under her wing and into her social circle. They sit together at lunch every day, and Jennifer brought presents to school for his birthday.
He had hated going to school, his mom said, and now he looks forward to it every day.
What a crazy, inspiring, awesome difference you can make in someone's life just by standing up for them! I teach my own children all the time to be on the lookout for classmates who are having a hard time, and to try to make a difference for them. My own son (who was bullied himself for several years) has already cut off several attacks by bullies on some of his classmates. It makes me happier than anything else he does, and I'm proud he shares the same character as the beautiful and charismatic Jennifer and others like her.
There are days that my heart breaks that I've brought my children into a world where the odds seem so stacked against them, and where bullying, intolerance, and lack of character seem the norm.
And then there are days when I hear about the Jennifers of the world.
In September of 2007, two boys inspired hundreds of students at a Nova Scotia school to dress in pink from head to toe the day after a male student was bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt to school. In 2012, a girl in Utah had a Post-it note placed on her back reading, "Caution: Wide Load."
Acting on a mass text message, more than a thousand students covered themselves and the school in Post-its that read "Not in our school," "Stop the hate," and "Time to change."
If you've ever wondered just what exactly you would stand up for in this world, it wouldn't be a bad idea to learn a thing or two from these kids. It seems they've already given it some thought.
What's more, they've figured out that when you show compassion, it starts a chain reaction.
"Goodness is the only investment that never fails." — Henry David Thoreau
NEW CASTLE —
What (or whom) are you willing to stand up for?
- Lisa Madras
Lisa Madras: Feeling stuck? It’s time to figure out why
Why are you where you are? Geez, if this isn't a loaded question, I don't know what is. This one is going to make up dig deep. Real deep. And before the digging even starts, we have to define what we mean by "where you are."
Lisa Madras: We’re living, breathing question marks searching for answers
Why are we still asking ourselves questions?It's been a long time now that I've been writing this blog.There are times when I wonder when it will run its course — when my readers will lose interest in questions, when I will simply run out of questions to ask.
Lisa Madras: No, I didn’t die and, yes, I still have no life
Hello? Is there anybody out there? (Has my life really become just one preposition off a Pink Floyd song?)
Lisa Madras: Yep, this is SUPPOSED to be my blog
Lisa Madras is the advertising dispatch and web personality at The News. Her blog appears each Monday on www.ncnewsonline.com.
Lisa Madras: We build prisons in our fear...but we can survive and grow stronger
What personal prisons have you built out of fears? I've been in many prisons of my own making during my lifetime. I didn't really have a whole lot of self-esteem for most of my life, and that meant that I was scared of pretty much everything-- of being unloved, of not being good enough, of not saying or doing the right things.
Lisa Madras: Taking time to reflect on a year of growth
Another year is coming to a close, and those of you who know me know that I can't resist a good year-end wrap-up, as trite as it may seem. I'm a huge fan of retrospection, and as long as you don't cross the line into wallowing in the past, it can be a significant learning tool for moving forward.
Lisa Madras: Don’t let hostility hide the magic of Christmas
What type of person angers you the most? It's almost Christmas — the day before Christmas Eve, in fact — and I suppose I should be thinking about gingerbread men and ribbons and peace on Earth.
Lisa Madras: Somehow, some way, some day — Santa WILL pony up!
What is something you have always wanted since you were a kid?I was searching though my list of questions, and thought this one was really apropos, since it's only a week until Christmas.
Lisa Madras: Anxious over another birthday? Nah, I’m still soaring on my solo flight
How short would your life have to be before you would start living differently today? So as you're reading this, it's the day after my birthday, and I've just crossed over that year I was dreading so much — the big 4-0.
Lisa Madras: You really posted that ‘duck-face’ shot? OK, suit your selfie
What makes a person beautiful? I look forward to the annual release of the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year with far more voracity than even a nerd like me should really be willing to admit publicly.
- More Lisa Madras Headlines
- Lisa Madras: Feeling stuck? It’s time to figure out why