The world can suck badly sometimes, especially when you’re a kid. Just ask Jonah Mowry, a 14 year-old student whose video has been making the rounds on Facebook:
All accounts say that Jonah is doing fine and the outpouring of attention he received from the video has helped him to put things in perspective. Though I do believe him that he never intended to hurt himself, the video marks a very real and continuing problem in America – intolerance at the very grassroots of our culture.
I hate being the kind of guy that passes on viral videos like this but for several reasons this one made me want to say something. The first and primary reason is that I was bullied as a kid, badly. Even when I switched to a well-known Atlanta private school, the bullying continued. It hurts psychologically and it hurts emotionally. You are robbed of the most basic human trait of a feeling of self-worth. What’s worse is that you blame yourself for being different.
The second reason I wanted to say something is that bullying is often chalked up to just another part of growing up. That way of thinking is unfortunate, unwarranted and needs to change. Yes, kids will be kids but we need to stand up and challenge ourselves to defend kids like Jonah like we do the right for kids to play football or baseball.
It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s campaigns like It Gets Better that helps put things in perspective for thousands of kids who would otherwise believe there is no other way out. It’s also by doing things like speaking up about your own experiences. Little things like making your own words a line in the sand that say bullying is not OK and then reinforcing them with your actions and your support.
Some might call Jonah’s video a cry for attention or taking advantage of a climate of such sensitivity. I don’t care either way. His words tell a story and for that, it’s important that it’s heard.