I don’t have fond memories of my school years. I was picked on from about second grade through eleventh grade. I never knew what would bring the teasing on–perhaps being the only person in second grade to have to wear glasses? (This was long before contact lenses.) Or maybe it was my shyness–often I couldn’t think of anything to say in peer-to-peer conversation, so I was quiet. (When you are in school, any little difference from what is considered “normal” makes a person ripe for picking on.) Maybe the teasing of the moment revolved around my non-existent athletic ability (if a team had to pick me, the kids groaned and I wished for the ground to swallow me).
For today’s kids, cyber-bullying is an ever-present possibility. At least when I went to school BBC (Back Before Computers), I had a break after school hours, weekends, and summertime. No smartphones, no texting, no tablets, no internet, no cyber-bullying.
When I was sixteen or seventeen my dad told me, “This is the best time of your life!” I was horrified. I remember thinking, If this is the best time of my life, you mean the rest of my life will be worse than this?
Many years later, my answer to my question is NO, my life now is better.
My life taught me this: after you graduate, you realize your world is so much bigger than what some kids put on Facebook or any of the other social media out there. The world celebrates youthfulness, but getting older allows you to realize the things people say about you don’t have to cut to the quick anymore. You put boundaries in place, shrug it off, and live your life. You gain maturity and a saving grace–perspective. You can gain faith in the God Who loves you deeply and want to give you new opportunities and confidence.
To any young person reading this who lives in dread of bullying and wonders if things will ever get better, my answer is YES, things will get better. Hold on, don’t give up. When I was sixteen or seventeen life didn’t look good, and I went through some dark periods, but I can tell you: There is life after high school.
Author’s Note: To anyone reading this who thinks, I want to check out of this life; it’s not worth it., please talk to a friend, a pastor, someone you trust, or a counselor. Call a suicide-prevention hotline. Your life matters.
In the USA, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting Talk 741741. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website is: www.afsp.org. It has many resources available, for those considering suicide, for family and friends who want to help someone, or for people who want to get involved with suicide prevention. The AFSP has local chapters, and sponsors the Out of the Darkness Walk. Due to COVID-19, some walks have been canceled, but some local walks in memory of loved ones are held.
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