Today students are walking out of their class rooms in protest of gun violence and in solidarity with those lives lost senselessly and all to often by gun in America. They walked out in hopes of a change- in policy, in politics, in people. They walked out with hope that finally, after all these years of being told by parents, teachers and mentors that they had a voice today would be the day their voice was finally heard. They read about Martin Luther King and Sojourner Truth in their textbooks and they felt the power of those people and the millions of others who joined with them in movements across this nation armed with nothing but their voice course through their veins as they too felt their own voice being called to a current movement. They wept with this nation as their friends, and kids their own age across the country were carried out in body bags. They walked out for those kids, they walked out for their friends, they walked out for their lives.
They walked out as leaders, as activists, as people who hurt for other people, as children with empathy and good hearts. They walked out with the world at their fingertips and the betterment of humanity in their souls, they walked out, and they were bullied. These kids were bullied and not by a troubled kid lurking in the hallway, not by each other… by countless adults of older generations.
I have seen many posts since the Parkland tragedy and leading up to this student walk out about bullying, about walking up to others and being kind instead of walking out. While we should encourage our kids to walk up and be kind everyday how do we expect them to exemplify kindness, compassion and empathy when they are bullied by generations older for making their own attempt at standing up for others based in those very values?
How can older generations tell these kids repeatedly that the only way to stop this violence they are so afraid of is to stop bullying and be kind while simultaneously bullying them for doing what they think is right, logging onto social media and spewing hate about it and then still expect things to change?
Maybe constantly calling younger generations lazy, entitled, stupid, or over dramatic isn’t the best way to guide our youth into being hardworking, independent, caring individuals?
Maybe lumping all the future of America in with a few hundred idiots who ate Tide Pods and saying none of that generation deserve a voice because of it isn’t the best way to empower free thinking and standing up for what you believe in?
Maybe writing on social media about how ending bullying is the end all to gun violence while calling people names and wishing ill on them for having different beliefs than you isn’t the best example for our youth?
Maybe calling young, passionate, inspired leaders names and telling them that their voice does not matter does not create the adults of tomorrow we so desperately need?
Maybe bullying our kids for doing the only thing they know how, the very thing they have been taught to do and for doing it from the raw place of pain and empathy isn't the solution to a better tomorrow?
Maybe the bullying that you are afraid is rotting our youth from the inside out is actually rotting our youth from the top- down?