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“My Name Is Amanda Todd”

Her name was Amanda Todd and she was 15 years old.

There was a time when she was a pretty, happy little girl with her life stretched out in front of her. Now she is dead, one more child who took her own life because she could no longer endure the loneliness, the isolation and the fear of being bullied and harassed online and in her daily life.

Five weeks before she died, she produced this video in an attempt to reach out for help. Nobody was listening.

Amid all the noise, all the arguing, politicking, campaigning and trivia on social media, there are silent screams that nobody hears. Very few heard Amanda Todd when she screamed silently and many of those who did bullied and harassed her even more.

We have lost something.

We have lost our ability to care until it is too late. We form committees and groups to study bullying and soon that will become just one more industry filled with consultants, grief counselors and self-professed experts who will wring their hands and advise.

Politicians will speak out briefly and then move on to the next fund raiser or interview.

We will talk. We will lobby and we will express our sadness. Many will ask, “What are we teaching our children,” and it is a good question but an even better question is, “What are we not teaching them?”

We talk about wanting to leave a better world for our children even as we continue to demand more entitlements for ourselves paid for with borrowed money that is both irresponsible and hypocritical.

We teach our children to demand and expect more from others.

We protest against regulation on the Internet where bullies and pedophiles and the truly sick prowl and then allow our children to wander through that wasteland unprotected. We let them believe that they are mature enough to deal with adult concepts, many of which they have never encountered before and almost all for which they are unprepared.

We’ll blame social media without giving a second thought to our own behaviour online and how our children learn their bullying and belligerence from us as we judge and criticize, accuse and harass those with whom we disagree.

We do not teach our children manners or respect for others and we elect governments that fire teachers for issuing a zero when a student refuses to hand in an assignment.

We fret that keeping score at childrens’ soccer games will make them too competitive and place too much pressure on them without any regard for the fact that we have an absolute duty to prepare our children for the realities of the world and how to learn from failure.

We teach them to strive for mediocrity and then to blame others when it is achieved.

We teach them that nothing is their fault and that they have little to no responsibility for their actions or for their lives.

We give our children things to replace the time we should be with them, teaching them, guiding them and making them feel safe and secure.

And we don’t give it a second thought until someone like Amanda Todd dies and then it is too late.

The death of Amanda Todd is a tragedy made all the worse by the loneliness and isolation she felt in a world filled with people. Almost nobody spoke up for Amanda Todd while she lived but many, including many of those who bullied her, rush to speak up for her now. It is too late just as it is too late for the countless other children who have taken their own lives for the same reason.

We teach as much by example as we do by word. The example we set for our children both in the real world and on social media is teaching them that it is acceptable to bully those you don’t like or with whom you disagree. We are teaching them that respect for others is unnecessary.and in so doing condemning them to a world that will not respect them.

We are failing our children and in failing them, we are failing ourselves.

A little girl died for no good reason. A little girl died because almost nobody spoke for her or cared. A little girl died because she was lured into making a mistake while she was still in elementary school and too many felt they had the right to judge her and criticize her unmercifully. A little girl died because she felt lost and alone in a world of anger and self-indulgent sanctimony by a self-indulgent lynch mob. Many of them did it for their own sick pleasure and even more because they wanted to belong to the crowd. The consequences of their actions were irrelevant and unimportant to them but she was more than just another victim of what we have allowed our society to become.

Her name was Amanda Todd and at the end of her video, Amanda wrote, “I have nobody. I need someone.” 

She was more than just another tragic news story, she was a young girl with a life yet to be lived.

Her name was Amanda Todd and she should never have had to die just to have someone hear the silence of her scream.

RELATED POSTS:

Teaching Children To Achieve Mediocrity

http://abearsrant.com/2012/05/teaching-children-to-achieve-mediocrity.html?preview=true&preview_id=102&preview_nonce=a63089bc96

Who Speaks For These Children?

http://abearsrant.com/2012/02/who-speaks-for-these-children.html?preview=true&preview_id=169&preview_nonce=a2aebfde45

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