Can you imagine – God says to you, ‘I’m not happy with how things are going in the world. People are mean. No one’s listening to each other. And no one has respect for one another. Listen Noah, you seem to have it together. You’re not getting caught in the middle of all the bickering. I’m going to destroy the world and you and your family get to start all over again. Oh, and by the way, make sure to take two of each animal so they can start over too.’
Why did it get so bad? Why did the people not take care of one another? Why didn’t anyone say anything? Why were they so quiet? Why didn’t Noah speak up?
Over the past three weeks, five teens have taken their lives after bullying and public disclosure regarding their sexual identity. There is an epidemic in our nation and we have to listen. Seth Walsh (13), Asher Brown (13), Tyler Clementi (17), Billy Lucas (15), Raymond Chase (19), all took their own lives because of bullying. Today, 1 in 3 gay teens attempt suicide. Teens are harassed for being gay or lesbian or even perceived as being such. Our teens are facing more criticism today than ever before and we must act now if we want to see this end.
Facebook, email, instant messaging are all convenient ways we stay in touch with one another, but they are also tools for bullying and harassment. It’s easy to go on line, make snide comments about others while remaining distant and even nameless. It’s convenient to criticize and tease someone when you can remain faceless and not directly confront another. It seems harmless to joke about someone’s appearance, behavior or even post pictures on a public sites like Facebook or MySpace. We can easily justify it because someone is “asking for it” when they make themselves vulnerable by even allowing themselves to be on these public social media sites. But there is no excuse for what is going on in the lives of our youth.
We must do something. We must speak to our children, no matter their age, about the destruction bullying and teasing can cause. Encourage our children to speak out when they see someone is being targeted by others at school or on the internet. Remind them that they should talk to a teacher, counselor, or best of all, their parents rather than remain silent and hope that it all blows over. This isn’t easy, especially when our children do not want to be perceived as do-gooders or teacher’s pets.
And when we as adults see or hear children or anyone being teased or bullied, we must speak up! No one deserves so much pain that the only outlet to be found is to end their life. Life is too precious to be cut short because of bullying and hate.
There is an epidemic in our world and we need to act now to save the lives of our teens. Our world is not perfect and after Noah and the flood, God promised never to destroy the world again. Yet, if we remain silent while our young people are in pain, we flood our own world in hurt and destruction of the human spirit.