Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My son Sterling is currently performing in a production called MEAN, which "serves as a powerful tool to raise awareness on the issue of bullying and highlight the harm that it can cause."
Sterling plays a bully, which is ironic because for many years he has been the one being bullied. He changed schools as a result of the constant harassment he endured. His self esteem was greatly diminished from years of being told he was bad, unlovable, not accepted, fat, different and not an athlete. In our local school district in one school year there were 8 suicides linked to having been bullied. This is a serious problem!
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Through my son, I have gotten to know several of the actors in the play. For some of them their actual experience of being bullied is being told in the play. The stories are heartbreaking. In each performance the actors must relive painful moments in their lives. They are doing this to make an impact on others about the severe ramifications bullying can have on a person's self esteem and life(or death).
Sterling finds it hard to be playing a bully, especially when he can see the type of individual he is bullying sitting in the audience and reacting tearfully to what I think is a shocking portrayal of a bully(in one scene he bullies a Muslim girl by taking off her hijab, which is the head covering worn by Muslim women).
As a parent, when my children are being hurt by others, the mama bear in me wants to come out and protect my cubs. Sadly, we cannot always protect them. As a Christian, I want to figure out why people feel the need to hurt others by their words or deeds. I want to know how to respond appropriately.
Matthew 5:44 says:
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. I read this verse over and over again. It is what is asked of us but that certainly doesn't make it easy. I am feeling committed to pray for those who persecute my children and the children in my community, it may not feel like much but I believe prayer is our best weapon against evil.
I'm proud of my son for using his past hurtful experiences to help make a difference in the lives of other students, teachers and adults. God has given Sterling some really neat friendships with other actors from the play. I try to teach my kids what it says in 2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.