I have read so many posts following the hateful incidents of cyber bullying and tragic deaths that followed. I was moved by Vicky’s letter to her college daughter and wanted to write a letter to my much younger children. My thoughts are similar but my words are for these little ones just learning life’s lessons. They need to know how I feel, in the simplest way possible. We talk about how to be a good friend and how important it is to be kind, but we are now talking about what happens when someone is mean. It helped me to write this before I spoke to them and I wanted to post it so that we all realize children are never too young to learn the value of a gentle heart and the tools to deal with sadness. My mom taught me well and I only hope to pass the same generous spirit down to my own 3 children. Sophia is 4 and Miles is 2. We are starting to have these important conversations. These talks about love and hate and yes…bullies.
I hope we are all talking to our kids about how to be a good person, a good friend and how to handle the tough days life sometimes throws at us. No one should have to say goodbye to their child and no child should ever feel that their life is not worth living.
Dear Sophia and Miles,
Mommy has been a little distracted the past few weeks. I know you don’t understand this now, but a young man named Tyler, who loved music just like you do, was bullied by some kids at his school and his feelings were so hurt that he did not want to be alive anymore. I look at you every day and my heart breaks when I think of his mommy and daddy and his friends, who love him so much and can’t see him anymore. I think of you and hope you know how much I love you, how important love is, and how much bigger all this love is than the little bit of hate that swirls around this world.
I Love You. Your Daddy Loves You. Your Siblings and Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and Neighbors and Friends and Teachers all love you. You are blessed. Don’t ever forget how many people love you…even when you feel sad.
Not everyone is nice all the time. Sometimes people are bullies. A bully is someone who is mean a lot. A bully says things that hurt people’s feelings. Sometimes they say it to a person and sometimes they talk about a person behind their back. Sometimes a bully even hits or pushes to make someone else feel bad. Sometimes a bully will tell you what to do. Sometimes a bully can be so mean that your feelings get so hurt you cry. A bully can be so mean to you that you wonder if anyone likes you. A bully can be so mean that you don’t want to go back to school or talk to your friends. A bully might even make you think you are not loved.
Remember: I Love You. Your Daddy Loves You. Your Siblings and Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and Neighbors and Friends and Teachers all love you. You are loved.
Remember: You are wonderful just the way you are. You don’t ever need to change to be what someone else says. We are all different. We are all special. That is what makes the world so interesting. It doesn’t matter if you are great at sports or dancing or gymnastics or writing or math or science. You will find something you love and you should let your loves provide you with strength and joy. Some people might try to make you feel bad but try not to let them. Try to remember that to be unique is awesome and you don’t ever need to be just like everyone else.
I want to tell you how important love is in our world, and how much I want you to give love and kindness whenever and wherever you can. When you are mean and make someone else feel bad, you will feel sad too. It is never funny to make fun of someone else or to push them around. You would not want someone to do that to you! If you treat other people the way you want to be treated you will have lots of friends and you will go to sleep at night proud of yourself. I will be proud of you too.
I can’t promise that no one will ever be mean to you. I can’t promise that no one will ever make you feel really sad. Like I said, some people don’t know ho to be nice. Some people are sad on the inside and they want to make other people sad. Some people want to make friends by making fun of people. Some people might hit or push you. I want you to know it is okay to feel sad. Everybody does. Mommy still gets her feelings hurt sometimes and I am sad. When I get sad I try to remember all of the good things and all of the love that we have. Same for you.
Remember: I Love You. Your Daddy Loves You. Your Grandma’s and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and Neighbors and Friends and Teachers all love you. You are loved.
If you are sad because someone else hurts your feelings or pushes you, please find a grown-up to talk to. This is not tattle taleing. Grown-ups can help you feel better and show you how much love there is. Grown-ups can also talk to the bully and try to stop him or her from being mean. As you get older you may also have good friends you can talk to. Please just don’t keep sadness inside. It grows there and gets bigger. If you let the sadness out you will have more room for smiles and happiness. And less room for bullies to hurt you.
If you see someone else who is sad, be their friend. Even if you don’t know them very well, be nice to them and show them that they are loved too. Tell them how great they are. You will never regret being kind. And then you will never have to be the one who hurt someone else. That would be so sad, don’t you think?
I am always here for you if you need to talk. So is your dad and any other grown-up who loves you. It’s not always easy being a kid, but we were all little once and I can tell you – lots of these little things that hurt you now you won’t even remember. We can help you if you need it. Please talk to us. We love you no matter what. There is nothing that could change that. Ever. For your whole life and our whole life we will love you guys with every bit of our hearts. Every night we say Best Friends Forever. I mean it. I’m not going anywhere.
I can’t protect you from everything but I can be here to wipe away your tears and help you see the sunshine through the clouds. Because there is always sunshine coming…even after the worst storms. And it is worth waiting for.
p.s. Don’t ever forget. I Love You. Your Daddy Loves You. Your Siblings and Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and Neighbors and Friends and Teachers all love you. You are loved.