“They bullied my friend and now she is dead!”
A high school girl made this comment to me last week in Texas. She told me that she was a close friend to a girl who ended her life just two months into her junior year of school.
I don’t know whether or not her friend was actually bullied before ending her life. I don’t need to know exactly what happened. What is important is what happens moving forward. I want to document for you what I told the entire student body of her school the following day. You may feel like this post isn’t important, because you can’t possibly imagine your student choosing to end it all. Most parents feel the same. I can’t imagine my two daughters killing themselves either.
As parents, regardless of what we can or cannot imagine, we must be educating ourselves and our kids about bullying, self-esteem, suicide and more. Your child may not feel as though suicide is an option today. However, such a viewpoint can change on a dime and often can hinge on a comment, a look, a bad day, or simply a social media post from a friend or enemy.
Here is some of what I told the student body in Texas. Read all of it and share it with your child!
1. You are here because God wants you here.
No one is a mistake. No matter what your parents did or did not plan, God’s plan is always right. He created you exactly when and exactly how He desired. The Psalmist had this to say about you in Psalm 139:
“For You made the parts inside me. You put me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to You, for the greatness of the way I was made brings fear. Your works are great and my soul knows it very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret and put together with care in the deep part of the earth. Your eyes saw me before I was put together. And all the days of my life were written in Your book before any of them came to be.”
Because God created you, only He has the right to end your life. Your life isn’t yours to take, because only He gets to decide when it’s time for your life to end.
2. No personal tragedy justifies taking your own life.
No matter how difficult today is, no matter how insignificant you feel, no matter how overwhelming your pain, and no matter how impossible it seems to find hope, no personal tragedy you face today or any day justifies taking your own life. It may seem almost impossible to beleive things will get better. But, ending your life means that the tragedy wins. Don’t let the hurt get the best of you. Believe that your best days are ahead.
Philippians 1:6 says, “I am sure that God Who began the good work in you will keep on working in you until the day Jesus Christ comes again.” God isn’t finished with you yet. He wants to prove to you that He has your best interest at heart. Trust in Him, not in the hurt.
The first step to hope and healing is admitting that you need it. Find a friend, parent, pastor, teacher, counselor, doctor, or coach and talk! At some point in life, everyone needs to express themself to someone. We all need one another. If you are hurting, find another person who can help you get to the end of your pain.
If you approach someone and that person doesn’t listen or seems uninterested, find someone who will listen and help you. Everyone should make this promise to somone: “When I’m hurting, I’ll let you know!”
4. Everyone deserves a “hello.”
There very well may be someone in your school, neighborhood, on your team, in the workplace, or possibly even in your home who needs a “hello.” You be the one who looks for those in need. It is amazing how simply saying “hello” can often change someones day. Imagine if every one in America made it their personal goal everyday to make another persons day better. Such a simple gesture very well could change culture one “hello” at a time.
5. It’s never too late to be great.
No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, everyday is a new day to make it better than the previous. Your past (or present) regrets, struggles, or mistakes do not have to define your future. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we tell Him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin.”
Parent – don’t assume that your child will never attempt to end h/her life. It is your responsibility to consistently convey to h/her these truths. Work to maintain healthy communciation with your child. H/she needs to hear from you everyday “I love you!”