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?
- News Bloggers
Josh Drespling: Sick and tired of being sick and tired
I'm sick of being sick! It has been over a week now fighting this ungodly pestilence that has settled in my body. Despite my best efforts, this plague has taken a firm hold of every avenue of my being. It has become the most constant and present force in my life.
Gary Church: A REAL buffet for Father’s Day? Now that’s saying a mouthful!
My favorite thing about Mother’s Day is the buffet. I can do some real damage with a nice spread of food laid out before me. A good, homemade buffet can't be beat.
Tim Kolodziej: Want true gratification? Then delay it
Whether you are an athlete, an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom, you will be faced with dozens of temptations today. For better or for worse, your life depends on your choices.
Gary Church: A little trimmer is just the right fit for someone my age
There are definite signs in my life that show I'm really starting to age. I can't believe that I just bought a battery powered trimmer/edger. The gas trimmer I have now is 25 years old and very powerful.
Lisa Madras: I’ve still got plenty of questions, but now I have family to help answer them
What’s something new you’ve recently learned about yourself? Oh, happy day. I've been waiting my whole life to have a great answer to this question, and now that I finally do. I can hardly believe it myself.
Josh Drespling: Thank you, Mom. I’ve never said this before but ...
I'm a terrible son. I’ll can freely admit my shortcomings. Well, maybe not as awful as some. I've never been in prison or killed anyone (though I may have thought about it). I’ve never been a drug addict or a drunk. I remember most of the holidays, birthdays and celebrations and I'm capable of supporting myself and my family.
Gary Church: Gary the Governor? It’s starting to grow on me
Every day, while walking home from West Side School, I would pass the fire station on Smithfield Street. Twice a year, the fire station turned into the election place, where my parents voted.
Tim Kolodziej: You know, this isn't my day — and it's not yours either
“This isn’t my day.” I’m going to step out on a limb and guess you’ve heard that statement before. You may have even uttered it a time or two yourself. Maybe just this morning.
Gary Church: A Facebook friend request and the new ‘normal’
I recently received a friend request on Facebook from a woman named Robin. I wasn’t familiar with this person. Being a little skeptical, I wrote back and wanted to know why she picked me, when she didn't know me.
Lisa Madras: I’m kickin’ it old school — and trying to get a leg up
What lessons did you NOT learn in the classroom? Several weeks ago, I found myself stumbling around outside of my comfort zone. I'd gone to a college campus to begin working on a new degree and new direction for my life. And boy did I feel like a square peg.
- More News Bloggers Headlines
- Josh Drespling: Sick and tired of being sick and tired