As a Middle School student, I was pretty tough! Older students tried to bully me but quickly figured out it was too much trouble to go there. I was always ready for a confrontation. I had a lot of personal stuff happening at home that I kept a secret, yet in some ways it strengthened me to handle adversity at school. Note: I did not always handle it in an appropriate or peaceful manner.
No one asked me how I was doing; because they had their own issues to face. I bet they also thought I was fine, because I hid so much. I was vocal and strong excelling academically, but all the while wearing a mask.
Yesterday, 30 students, 5 chaperones, and I attended the 2019 Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life youth rally at Grand Canyon University. Schools attended from all over the state. It was wonderful to see so many adolescents pledging to #CareEnough for their classmates to have their backs and not bully, or ignore them.
This was our 2nd year attending. Last year this event inspired our students to perform their first anti-bullying & suicide prevention stage play. It’s also why I started the Theater Club at my school. The goal is to give students a platform to use their authentic voices.
The keynote speaker for the 2nd year in a row was Jeremy Anderson (couldn’t get a good picture). Check out the link to his website. He really delivers for youth worldwide! The students love his “realness” and energy!
A true friend will stand up and say something if they suspect you are in trouble – even if it jeopardizes the friendship. Often our closest friends say things that seem hurtful in a quest to jolt us into their reality, but if the motive is from a kind and caring place, we need to understand it and not take offense. Maybe they are attempting to prioritize you over the friendship. If the friendship is genuine – it will survive the fallout.
That was my biggest personal takeaway from the rally.
Peace and blessings!