Don’t Stop Believing

Post by Susan Schirl Smith for the Love for Love series.


print by sandraarduiniphoto on etsy

Don’t Stop Believing

The line out the doorway of the funeral home stretched to the street that cold December night. So many children and teenagers waiting in line to say good-bye. As we entered, the photo on the board of the little blond girl and the sweet curly haired boy, holding their Lego creations almost dropped me to my knees. The sounds of hearts breaking all around me filled mine, as I held the hand of my daughter, that blond girl now a teenager, who came to say goodbye to her friend.

The whispers in the crowd, of how this was a result of bullying. The administrator from his school was speaking in hushed tones, denying that anything took place, because no reports had been made. The young ones in the crowd, and the teachers… had they known? Had they tried to stop it? Why did our boy feel like taking his own life was his only way out?

Many years ago, I was the one being bullied. Being a smart, chubby girl didn’t win you popularity contests in middle school. Bullied to the point that I walked out of school and went home and told my parents. My parents called the school, and after a meeting with both sets of parents and the principal, the boy never bullied me again. I felt the hopelessness, helplessness and despair of being different. But I had those people in my life that stood by me, and stood behind me, and helped me to discover the beautiful potential of who I was and who I could be.

It isn’t just the children. Look at how our society has created an atmosphere of simple bad behavior for every age group. There are no consequences to actions. Our entertainment consists of reality shows where the behavior is horrible and crude and cruel. Our youth sports coaches are so focused on the win, that they forget that the real lessons that we need to teach are not of the sport, but of how to be a compassionate, ethical human being. We forget simple courtesies like please and thank you, and the idea that “if you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all”.

If you have self-respect, and self-worth, there is no bullying. The focus is not on making someone else feel worthless to make yourself feel worthy. This is our job as adults, as coaches, as humans. We need to model the behavior we wish to see in our children. Believe in them, love them no matter what, but help them to realize that there are consequences to every behavior, good or bad. Teach them to take responsibility for their actions. Take responsibility for our own actions, and stop blaming everyone else.

The last time I saw our young friend, he and my daughter were spontaneously singing the Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believing”. I remember thinking how wonderfully talented the two of them were, excited about the potential of who they could become. The song now has become a mantra for both my daughter and I. The memory is a reminder that we always have the opportunity to reach out to someone else, and do the right thing. We have the responsibility to model kindness, and compassion and love. We have the opportunity to teach our children well. It is a reminder to share, that no matter how dark the night seems, the stars will shine, and the world looks better in the dawn. A reminder that each of us is beautiful and perfect in our imperfections, and the only way to get through all of this is together.

Susan Schirl Smith, MSN is a creative dreamer, holistic energy practitioner and owner of Avalon Healing Arts. Her soul’s purpose is to help others on their journey to wellness of mind, body and spirit through creative expression, laughter, and love.

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