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Lily Eskelsen's picture

Children are dying. A bully is making their lives miserable. A bully is threatening them. Humiliating them. Being mean.

There’s research on the bullies. (No, they are not all troubled children who don’t know how to love. Some of them are just mean. Some of them just like to have power over someone weaker. They enjoy crushing souls.)

There’s research on the silent bystanders. (Yes, they have a share of blame. Their silence gives power to the bully. Some of them are cowards. Some of them, like the bully, believe the child being bullied deserves it because they are different.

Their watching gives approval and encouragement.)

There’s research on why a child being bullied gives up and decides to die.

There’s research on why another bullied child decides to live.

The research says it is all about the number One.

Children who decided to live had at least One caring adult to talk to. They had at least One adult who didn’t tell them they were imagining things. There was One adult who didn’t tell them to ignore it and it would go away (it doesn’t).

They had One adult who said, “I believe you. You don’t deserve this. I’m going to try and stop this.”

There are adults who were successful in getting the bullying to stop and others who were not. Research says that what made the difference is that One adult at least tried.

One adult gave the bullied child a shoulder to cry on and said, “It’s bad, I know. But don’t give up. It gets better.”

The children killing themselves needed One adult to say, “It’s ok to be gay. Don’t give up. It gets better.”

Children who feel like outsiders need One adult who says, “Be proud of who you are. You’re beautiful. Don’t give up. It gets better.”

Children who are not beautiful or stylish or popular need One adult who says, “I love you. I’ll help you. Don’t give up. It gets better.”

Children are dying for One adult to hear them and for One adult to believe them and for One adult to hang in there with them until it gets better.

If you are the teacher, the custodian, the aunt, the minister, the neighbor, the crossing guard, the coach, the cousin, you can be The One.

The question is, of course, will you be The One?

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