Teach Our Children Understanding

It seems like almost daily we hear of a young person somewhere in North America making the heart wrenching choice to take their own life as a result of the pain they endure daily from bullying.  These young people are often the most outgoing, smart, energetic of people who are forced to deal with the psychological and physical abuse from others.  These kids are so hurt by the words and actions of others that they choose death over having to live one more day with that pain.  The root of bullying in most cases stems from ignorance.  Some people just don’t understand and cannot accept those who are a little bit different than themselves.  School administrators and teachers try to help by intervening but they are severely outnumbered in the classroom and cannot be everywhere at once.  The real solution to this epidemic is education.  We need to teach our young people about those who are maybe a little bit different than themselves.  We need to be living examples to our young people in our daily actions.  Show them how to look beyond physical abilities, race or sexual orientation to the person inside; highlighting how very similar we all are and that any differences are not meant to be overcome but embraced.  A step in the right direction would be to expose young people to a group of people who truly exhibit the positive attributes we need to see in the next generation.  On December 1, The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Man in Motion tour is coming through Cambridge (check out www.rickhansenrelay.com for dates when Rick will be in your city).  Rick and his foundation have chosen 7000 difference makers from across this great Country to help “run” the relay. Each of them has helped to make positive changes in their own communities.  I encourage you to come out with your families or classes and see a man who has spent his life trying to break down the walls of inequality and raise awareness about the power of people; regardless of their differences.  This is just one step you can make towards spreading the message of understanding.  Spend some time with your kids and their friends explaining that everyone is worthy of love.  Everyone is worthy of happiness and friends.  Everyone is worthy of a life spent without the fear of hatred.  Teach them that it isn’t big to make others feel small.

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